All information was gathered from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, (ABET), the organization that accredited the Computer Science Department at Utah State University. In the United States, accreditation is used to assure quality in educational institutions and programs. Accreditation is a voluntary, nongovernmental process of peer review. It requires an educational institution or program to meet certain, defined standards or criteria. Accreditation is sometimes confused with certification. In general, institutions and programs are accredited, and individuals are certified.
There are two types of accreditation, institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditors examine the college or university as a whole educational institution, such as regional accreditors. Specialized accreditors evaluate specific educational programs. Professional accreditors, such as those for medicine, law, architecture and engineering, fall into this category. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is a professional accrediting organization that accredits programs, not institutions. More information on ABET and accreditation can be found on the ABET website at www.abet.org. Accreditation serves to notify:
- Parents and prospective students that a program has met minimum standards;
- Faculty, deans and administrators of a program’s strengths and weaknesses and of ways to improve the program;
- Employers that graduates are prepared to begin professional practice;
- Taxpayers that their funds are spent well; and
- The public that graduates are aware of public health and safety considerations.
State licensing boards and certification programs may require graduation from an ABET-accredited program as the first step in the registration or certification process for professional practice. In some instances, ABET accreditation may permit students to receive federal funds in the form of scholarships, loans and grants.