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Accreditation and Assessment
The College at Brockport, State University of New York is accredited by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, Room 110 EB, Albany, NY 12234; (518) 474-5889 and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education , 3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680; (215) 662-5606. In addition, several undergraduate and/or graduate programs are accredited by other agencies. In particular, the Advanced Computing (AC) Track of the Computer Science major and the Computer Information Systems major are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org; 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201; (410) 347-7700.
ABET is a recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. ABET is a not-for-profit organization, owned and operated by its more than 25 professional and technical member societies. An internationally respected organization with some 1,500 volunteers, ABET has set the higher-educational standards in its fields for nearly 75 years. ABET has been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) since 1997.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited computer science program must meet the quality standards set by the computing profession. The quality standards accreditation requires are set by the ABET professions themselves. This is made possible by the collaborative efforts of many different professional and technical societies. These societies and their members work together through ABET to develop the standards, and they provide the professionals who evaluate the programs to make sure they meet those standards. The evaluations, conducted by teams of volunteer professionals working in industry, government, academe, and private practice within the ABET disciplines, focus on program curricula, faculty, facilities, institutional support, and other important areas.
Why is accreditation important?
Our accreditation is important to all constituents (stakeholders) for the following reasons:
- Students and Parents: Accreditation helps students and their parents choose quality college programs. Students and parents can be proud of the education and feel confident that their time and money are well spent.
- Employers: Accreditation assures that the graduates are well-prepared and that employers can count on the graduates to meet their needs.
- Graduate Schools: Accreditation assures that the graduates are well-prepared and are ready for advanced study and independent research.
- Licensure and Certification Boards: Accreditation is used by registration, licensure, and certification boards to screen applicants.
- Faculty of the Department of Computer Science: Accreditation provides the department a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and improve the programs.
- College Administration and the Taxpayers of the State: Accreditation helps the college administration recognize the strengths and weaknesses of various academic programs, and channel resources accordingly. Accreditation serves the critical function of accountability for the funds provided by the taxpayers of the State of New York.
- Funding Agencies and Donors: Accreditation helps funding agencies and donors recognize quality college programs. Some agencies earmark scholarships for students in ABET-accredited programs.
One of the key elements of ABET accreditation is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education provided. As part of this continuous improvement requirement, programs set specific, measurable goals for their students and graduates, assess their success at reaching those goals, and improve their programs based on the results of their assessment.
ABET uses the following basic definitions:
- Program Educational Objectives: Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years of graduation. Program educational objectives are based on the needs of the program's constituencies.
- Student Outcomes: Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program.
- Assessment: Assessment is one or more processes that identify, collect, and prepare data to evaluate the attainment of student outcomes and program educational objectives. Effective assessment uses relevant direct, indirect, quantitative and qualitative measures as appropriate to the outcome or objective being measured. Appropriate sampling methods may be used as part of an assessment process.
- Evaluation: Evaluation is one or more processes for interpreting the data and evidence accumulated through assessment processes. Evaluation determines the extent to which student outcomes and program educational objectives are being attained. Evaluation results in decisions and actions regarding program improvement.
The Department of Computer Science at The College at Brockport is committed to continuous program improvement. The department has well-documented program educational objectives that are regularly reviewed and modified if found necessary. The department has clearly-stated student outcomes that are consistent with the objectives. The outcomes are regularly assessed and evaluated to provide appropriate feedback for curriculum revision.
How can students, alumni, employers, and others help?
ABET accreditation is a significant achievement. We have worked hard to ensure that our program meets the quality standards set by the profession. And, because it requires comprehensive, periodic evaluations, ABET accreditation demonstrates our continuing commitment to the quality of our program - both now and in the future. We are proud of the ABET accreditation and so should you be! There are a number of ways in which students and alumni can be of help.
- All students: In almost all classes taught by the department, student reactions to instruction data are collected every semester, using the instructional assessment system (IAS) instrument, in the last three weeks of classes. Students not only provide answers to a standard questionnaire, but also provide written narrative feedback. This feedback provided by students is invaluable to the department.
- Graduating Seniors: All graduating seniors are requested to contact the Department Chair or the Advisement Coordinator and let them know of their plans for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which they plan to graduate. Graduating seniors are requested to complete an Exit Survey and participate in an Exit Interview conducted in the second half of the semester. The exit survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. The exit interview should take about 30 minutes. By providing balanced, fair, and frank feedback, students can help the department identify strengths and weaknesses in instruction, advisement, scheduling, etc. Graduating seniors are also expected to provide the department a non-Brockport email address that they plan to use once out of school. We are not interested in email addresses with employers or local Internet Service Providers as they may not be valid after switching jobs or leaving town. We prefer Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL email addresses. The department uses these email addresses to contact the alumni for a variety of reasons.
- Alumni: Around December of every year, the Office of Career Services gathers placement information from graduates of the previous December or May. The department also periodically contacts alumni to gather information about their career growth. Alumni can help the department greatly by responding promptly to our requests for information. There is nothing more gratifying to the department than to hear from alumni about their accomplishments!
- Employers and Educators: The department has an External Advisory Board, comprised of prominent and experienced computing professionals in the Rochester, NY area that normally meets once a year face-to-face. The board advises the department on matters of program educational objectives, student outcomes, curriculum, course offerings and other initiatives. Those interested in contributing in this capacity to our programs may contact Dr. Sandeep Mitra, Department Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All Others: Feedback from all stakeholders is always welcome on any aspect of our program. Contact Dr. Sandeep Mitra, Department Chair, at email@example.com.