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Environmental Engineering program receives accreditation

August 30, 2013

Saint Francis University’s bachelor’s degree program in environmental engineering has been accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. ABET accreditation demonstrates a program’s commitment to providing its students with a quality education.

In 2012, the program graduated its first class and became eligible for ABET accreditation review. “Gaining ABET-accreditation of our program at this early stage is a testament to the hard work of our academic team as well as the first students to progress through this new program,” said Dr. Charles MacVean, Dean of the School of Sciences.

Developing a program that lives and breathes real-world experiences has been a top priority for department chair Dr. John Harris and faculty members Dr. Joel Bandstra, Dr. William Strosnider, and Dr. Rachel Wagner. “Our students put their education into action by doing design projects for class, paid internships, summer research and engineering service projects both here in Pennsylvania and abroad,” said Dr. Harris.

Benefiting from a teaching philosophy of a “classroom without walls,” Saint Francis students find themselves conducting fieldwork near campus or traveling around the globe as part of service-learning trips, such as the ongoing water remediation project in Bolivia.

Fieldwork and other outside research projects are a hallmark of the program, the university has made a substantial investment in state-of-the art classroom and engineering labs. Beginning this fall semester, the program will be moving into the University’s new Science Center featuring dedicated engineering lab, a field staging area, and a soil strata display space.

For more information on the Environmental Engineering program at Saint Francis, visit francis.edu/environmental-engineering.

The University also offers a 3+2 engineering program which was not part of this accreditation process, and will be launching a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering in the fall of 2014.

Founded in 1847, Saint Francis University is private, Catholic, coeducational liberal arts and sciences institution. It is the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the country, and one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the nation.

About ABET Accreditation:
Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. 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.

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.

In addition to providing colleges and universities a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and improve their programs, accreditation also helps students and their parents choose quality college programs, enables employers and graduate schools to recruit graduates they know are well-prepared, and assists registration, licensure, and certification boards in screening applicants.

ABET is a not-for-profit organization, owned and operated by its more than 30 professional and technical member societies. An internationally respected organization with some 2,000 volunteers, ABET has set the higher-educational standards in its fields for nearly 80 years. More information about ABET, its member societies, and the evaluation criteria used to accredit programs can be found at www.abet.org.