The SUNY New Paltz Engineering department was delighted to announce its offical accredation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
As of last year, all three of the colleges engineering programs are now ABET accredited. The change has been in effect since Fall of 2017, when the board members visited the school for review. ABET is an organization which accredits colleges in engineering and respective science fields who meet a list of requirements set by the organization.
Attending an accredited institution provides a huge benefit for students, as it will grant them many more opportunities upon graduation compared to students who graduate from an institution without it.
Associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Dr. Baback Izadi further discussed the importance of accredited programs.
“Engineering programs need to have ABET accreditation,” Izadi said. “It’s not an option, because if they don’t, then students can’t get hired by technology companies and the industry. Most of them cannot go to graduate school. It is absolutely vital.”
Both the computer and electrical engineering programs have already been accredited and underwent renewal. However, in addition, the rapidly growing Mechanical Engineering program has been accredited for the first time.
Dr. Izadi touched on the large influx of engineering students New Paltz has received over the years stating:
“There has been rapid growth in the Mechanical engineering department,” Dr. Izadi said. “We have gone from 0 to 200 students in four years. mechanical engineering makes up over 50 percent of our engineering department, and that is only one out of our three programs. It continues to grow at a fast pace”
It would prove to be important that swift action was needed to accommodate the needs of the program. Dr. Julio Gonzalez, chair of the Engineering Program at SUNY New Paltz gave insight into why mechanical engineering achieved accreditation much later than other programs.
“All programs go for accreditation. As a matter of fact, Mechanical Engineering didn’t have it yet because it was a new program. It started only four years ago. Since then we’ve seen a rapid rise in students.”
He continued, discussing the challenges and length involved with the accreditation process.
“For all these years I’ve had parents calling to ask, ‘are we accredited yet?’ and I’d say ‘no, we are in good shape, but aren’t officially there yet’,” Gonzalez said. “They want to know if their kids are graduating from an accredited program. It is very important. Because it’s official now, we can post it on the website and parents aren’t worried anymore.”
Receiving accreditation is not an easy process, it requires a lot of time and work from both the board and the college. Dr. Gonzalez also touched on the actual accreditation process.
“It’s a big thing, they [ABET board] meet in their headquarters, they vote, the discuss all the pros and cons of the program and if you don’t do very well they don’t give you the full time of six years,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “So, the fact that we have the full time means that we did extremely well.”
Receiving accreditation for mechanical engineering, as well as successfully renewing the electrical and computer engineering programs, has been a huge success.
“From now on, all existing mechanical engineering students from freshman to senior year, will be accredited” Dr. Idazi said. “Students who’ve graduated within the last two years will have the accreditation as well.”