The University of North Georgia’s (UNG) computer science bachelor’s degree program has earned ABET accreditation.
ABET is a nonprofit, nongovernmental agency that accredits programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. About 4,144 programs at 812 colleges and universities in 32 countries have received ABET accreditation.
“Achieving ABET accreditation for our computer science program at UNG is an important milestone,” said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of UNG’s Mike Cottrell College of Business. “This accreditation demonstrates to external stakeholders that our computer science program in the Mike Cottrell College of Business meets the highest standards for the discipline and is among the best programs in the world.”
Dr. Ash Mady, head of UNG’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, said it took two years to prepare for the accreditation. All faculty members played an important role in the collaboration.
“This is a statement for our process, the quality we have and the program we’ve built. It’s wonderful to show the community we are offering what we promise,” Mady said. “This is a clear public indication of who we are. We are able to supply our region’s businesses with future leaders who are equipped and prepared.”
Dr. Yong Wei, professor of computer science, said the ABET committee’s in-person evaluation of the computer science program affirmed the quality UNG is providing.
“They were very impressed by the preparation and standards of our computer science program,” said Wei, who chaired UNG’s ABET accreditation committee.
He and Mady noted the accreditation is not a one-time accomplishment. In addition to renewal every five years, the recognition requires a continuous improvement plan, which features three elements:
- Course evaluations by students.
- A comprehensive field test as a measurement to gauge the education quality the program gives students.
- Formation of an industry board of employers and potential employers of students to provide feedback on the program’s educational offerings.
Wei is excited about the industry board and the way it can evaluate how UNG prepares students for the best jobs in the field.
“We’re going to use that feedback to improve our courses,” Wei said.
UNG’s computer science program prepares graduates for innovative careers in software engineering, system administration, management, programming, and research. Students learn the skills to program in multiple languages, develop databases and infrastructure, and think critically.
Wei said the connection with ABET will ensure UNG stays on the cutting edge with its elective offerings.
Wei said the accreditation is also another motivator for UNG’s faculty to continue their innovative research and include undergraduate students in those efforts.
“That’s extremely important,” Wei said. “Hands-on research is the best way to solidify students’ learning.”
Mady takes pride in having a program that already has great community support, the trust of business partners and visibility.
“We still felt compelled to show our commitment in every way possible,” Mady said. “It wasn’t required, but as a UNG faculty professional who also graduated from UNG, we will expend every effort to reflect the best way possible the quality of our programs and our university.”