Florida A&M University can bask in the glory of its achievements as its programs continue to gain notoriety. This month three of the University’s programs were granted accreditation.
An Office of Public Affairs press release dated Sept. 1 said the Biological and Agricultural Systems Engineering and the FAMU-FSU Engineering and Computer Information Sciences programs received accreditation from their governing bodies.
BASE is a division of the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture, which was founded in 1897. The BASE Program has been in existence for nine years and is strictly designed for FAMU. This is the first time the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture has applied for accreditation of the BASE Program.
“There were certain requirements we had to meet and we fulfilled them,” said Charles Magee, interim dean of CESTA. “It just shows the quality of our academic program.”
CESTA also received accreditation for its civil, construction and electronic engineering programs.
The Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology also granted accreditation to the engineering program, which is operated through cooperation with Florida State University.
The FAMU-FSU School of Engineering received its accreditation through a new process called Engineering Criteria 2000. This process required officials to prove that they had continuous improvement in each program.
“We put a lot of work into obtaining accreditation,” said Reginald Perry, associate dean of student affairs and curriculum. “We had to set up objectives for graduates to obtain through each of our programs.”
Students are required to fulfill objectives such as participating in processes that apply engineering solutions to society and contributing to a diverse workforce.
The Computer Information Sciences program was established in September 1967 as a division of the College of Arts and Sciences. The program received its accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Chairman of the CIS program, Edward Jones, said he was appreciative of the efforts made by staff members in obtaining accreditation.
“It took a lot of hard work. I would like to recognize Thorna Humphries and Usha Chandra, who led the self-study and performance activities that helped guarantee our accreditation,” Jones said. “It really was a team effort.”
The activities included collecting exhibits for each course, mapping program objectives and evaluating the extent to which program objectives were met. Several other schools and colleges throughout the University have accredited programs. These include the School of Allied Health Sciences, Architecture, Journalism and Graphic Communication, Nursing and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The School of Allied Health Sciences, which was established in 1982, had to submit a self-study and was subjected to a series of on-campus visits before becoming accredited.
Associate Dean Barbara Mosley said she finds accreditation beneficial despite the hard work.
” I think it’s great because it ensures students that they are entering a program that has met the professional standards of the industry,” Mosley said.
The school offers two programs – a four-year pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a five-year accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree.
The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, which was founded more than twenty years ago, was originally accredited in 1982. It was re-accredited in 1988, 1994 and 2000. The school is up for re-accreditation for the 2005-2006 school year. In order to obtain accreditation, the school had to meet certain budget, curriculum, faculty and student record criteria. With the current bid for re-accreditation, the school has had to re-evaluate its goals.
“This means that we have identified what our objectives are and we have taken steps to measure how effective we are in meeting those objectives,” said James Hawkins, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
Some of these objectives include producing more effective writers and getting students to familiarize themselves with the ethical issues that journalists often face. These issues include plagiarism and conflicts of interest.
The schools and colleges that have not been accredited are the School of Business and Industry, the College of Education and the College of Law.
SBI, which was founded in 1974, is currently seeking accreditation.
“We have successfully completed the eligibility application for our accreditation. It has been received and we will hear from our accrediting body in about a month regarding next steps,” said Amos Bradford, interim dean of SBI.
Bradford said that new standards adopted last year are responsible for the recent delay in accreditation.
“We have to go through a series of new processes that take up to seven years but we are hoping that we can finish sooner than that,” Bradford said.
The College of Education, again, is also not accredited.
“We have gone through the review process, but we have not received the final results,” said Robert Lemons, dean of the College of Education.
The School of General Studies and the School of Graduate Studies are not accredited separately because they do not offer degrees. Degrees are offered through the various schools and colleges.
Although the College of Law offers law programs ranging from administrative law to sports law, it has been provisionally accredited, not fully accredited by the American Bar Association. According to the University’s web page for the college, the College of Law “will take all steps necessary to pursue full ABA accreditation.”
Officials at the College of Law could not be reached for comment.
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