Grand Canyon University’s engineering professors speak about dynamic systems in the classroom. But GCU’s Engineering Department itself is a dynamic system, constantly moving its programs forward.
The latest programs to do so: the College of Science, Engineering and Technology’s Mechanical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology bachelor’s degree programs, which recently received accreditation from the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.
The stamp of approval from ABET — it originally stood for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, though that name has since been dropped — is considered the accreditation gold standard in those fields. Earning it was the culmination of a challenging 18-month, peer-review process that focused on what students experience and learn. Peer reviewers looked at program curricula, faculty, facilities and institutional support, with the process culminating in a site visit.
It is the latest coup for the college, which in 2020 earned its first ABET accreditations for its bachelor’s degree tracks in Biomedical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, as well as for its bachelor’s degree program in Computer Science. The College of Science, Engineering and Technology followed that up a year later when its bachelor’s in Engineering also received the ABET designation.
“The ABET accreditation of these two programs (Mechanical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology) was hard work and a great team effort,” said Assistant Dean of Engineering Dr. Richard Mulski. “The Engineering faculty, staff, students and other constituents performed very well, and this is another awesome example of how we all work together at GCU to accomplish our goals.”
Mulski said the ABET team found no concerns in either of these programs, which “speaks to the quality of our Engineering programs at GCU.”
CSET added the Mechanical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology bachelor’s degree tracks to the curriculum in 2016, just a year after launching its first engineering programs in 2015.
What differentiates engineering technology from traditional engineering is that the focus is on application and implementation — so a greater emphasis on hands-on lab skills — whereas engineering tracks concentrate more on theory and design and include higher-level math and theoretical science in the curricula.
The engineering technology programs fit perfectly into GCU’s vision of becoming a significant player in science, technology, engineering and math education, fields that are expected to see faster-than-average growth.
And they fit into CSET’s teaching style, which focuses on application rather than theory. Classes are formatted mainly as lab classes interspersed with lecture.
Receiving an ABET accreditation means that a program meets a certain standard of quality assurance and that students graduating from those programs are prepared for industry.
That bodes well for GCU’s students, since some employers will only hire from ABET-accredited programs.
“This is excellent for our students who graduated with these degrees previously, since they now can proudly discuss ABET with a potential employer,” Mulski said.
The Mechanical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology bachelor’s programs are ABET accredited through Sept. 30, 2028, the maximum time before the next reaccreditation evaluation visit.
ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology, accredits 4,361 programs at 850 colleges and universities in 41 countries.
GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.
ABET-ACCREDITED ENGINEERING PROGRAMS
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering with an Emphasis in Robotics
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with an Emphasis in Aerospace
- Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
ABET-ACCREDITED COMPUTING PROGRAMS
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Big Data Analytics
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Business Entrepreneurship
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Game and Simulation Development
ABET-ACCREDITED ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology with an Emphasis in Mechatronics