National board re-accredits OC engineering programs

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Oct. 3, 2003 - Oklahoma Christian University's School of Engineering has received another stamp of approval with re-accreditation of its electrical and mechanical engineering programs by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

The re-accreditation follows a long process of self-study and assessment, along with the documentation that Oklahoma Christian meets or exceeds criteria that touch all areas of the engineering educational programs, such as faculty, facilities, curriculum, support from within the university and interaction with industry.

"This is an extraordinarily good report from a demanding accreditation organization," OC vice president for academic affairs Jeanine Varner said. "I particularly want to acknowledge the work of Dr. Jeff Bigelow and Dr. David Cassel in overseeing the self-study and writing the reports. The results we received are a real tribute to the engineering faculty as a whole."

ABET is a professional accrediting organization that accredits engineering programs. The accreditation process, a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review, is used to assure quality in educational institutions and programs. Accreditation requires an educational institution or program to meet certain defined standards or criteria and serves to alert parents and prospective students that a program has met those standards. It informs university faculty, deans and administrators of a program's strengths and weaknesses and of ways to improve the program. Accreditation also allows potential employers to know the university's graduates are prepared to begin professional practice.

"We're blessed that the quality and reputation of the program has grown to the point that Oklahoma Christian serves as a springboard for its graduates to excel at leading corporations such as Northrop Grumman and Texas Instruments in the private sector, and Tinker Air Force Base in the public sector," said Cassel, the chair of OC's mechanical engineering department. "Our smaller class sizes and emphasis on project-based learning help us prepare our students for industry because students enjoy more access to our state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, as well as more individualized attention from our professors."

Oklahoma Christian is one of just two members of the 107-school Council for Christian Colleges and Universities with accreditation of two of its engineering programs. Oklahoma State University, Oral Roberts University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa are the only colleges in the state of Oklahoma besides Oklahoma Christian with accredited engineering programs.

The re-accreditation coincides with the recent reorganization of the engineering programs into the School of Engineering in OC's College of Professional Studies. Oklahoma Christian graduated its first majors in computer engineering, the newest engineering discipline to be added as a program at Oklahoma Christian, this past April. Their graduation allowed the university to begin the accreditation process for that program this academic year, with a planned visit from another ABET team in the fall of 2004.

"Oklahoma Christian puts particular emphasis on the development of communication skills, ethical decision making and interdisciplinary thinking in all of its engineering programs," said Bigelow, the chair of OC's electrical and computer engineering department. "Our goal is to become the engineering school of choice for prospective students and for prospective employers. This announcement from ABET is an indicator for both groups that OC engineering cannot be ignored in their decisions."

For more information on OC's School of Engineering, go to www.oc.edu/engineering, www.oc.edu/beth and www.oc.edu/baja.

- OC -