The department has started a systematic process for quality assurance applied to its programs and also moved through the required stages that lead to accreditation for its programs, according to the standards of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Accreditation is a process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations, and assures that the graduates are well-prepared and ready for advanced study and real-world employment.
A starting point towards the achievement of accreditation was in 2006, when the ECE program was granted the “Substantially Equivalency” accreditation by ABET followed by the full accreditation in 2008 of the Mechatronics Engineering (MCE) program, which is a joint program between MIE and ECE departments. Then, in 2014, both ECE and Mechatronics programs (along with other SQU engineering programs) were accredited by ABET. , EAC At the department level, accreditation is a form of endorsement that the department uses to let potential students know that their programs offer a valid education that is officially recognized internationally. The hard work of our faculty members and collaborations with our constituencies were the key drivers to this achievement.
The ECE Department has firmly stamped the quality and authentication of its program by successfully securing the ABET accreditation during the second cycle. The thorough vetting of programs’ curriculum, its delivery, outcome and achievement of program educational objectives (PEOs) by ABET team during the second cycle is usually much tougher than first cycle and has proven the quality of our program. Our goal will be to maintain an internationally acceptable standard, which will allow our graduates to compete at international levels in terms of job requirements, research challenges, and developing innovative solutions. Over the years, the ECE program has gained maturity and achieved excellence, which became obvious when it received full accreditation from ABET, EAC.
PEOs direct the program to the skills and abilities of our graduates within a few years of graduation. The PEOs are established in consultation with key program constituencies. The department has developed a process that is systematically utilized to ensure that the program’s educational objectives remain consistent with the institutional mission and the program constituents’ needs. The program seeks input from the Industrial Advisory Board members in the review process of the PEOs. The opinions of faculty members regarding the improvement of PEOs could be given at any time. Formal and informal input from students is taken into account. The input from the employers and alumni is sought through surveys. In addition, the PEOs may be improved whenever there is a new development in the profession, changes in the institutional mission and/or national policy.
The accreditation process we went through requires the ECE program to continually review and update its curriculum following a well-designed quality assurance process. It requires that the program curriculum be current and have high standards, includes all of the essential elements, and maintains a competitive edge, so that graduates find employment compatible with their abilities and the demands of the associated industry. Accredited programs attract high caliber faculty members to the higher education institutions. The level and quality of teaching and learning in the program will also be raised considerably. In addition, accreditation can serve as a tool to justify and obtain greater program support from the university administration and government. Among other important benefits, accreditation guarantees the acceptability of the student's undergraduate education as a basis for advanced study such as in post-graduate studies abroad. In addition to allowing the department to develop and maintain a good relationship with industry, accreditation is very valuable in the area of recruiting students into industry after graduation.
The responsibility for the department’s quality assurance framework rests with the Head of the Department (HoD) and the Department Accreditation Committee in concert with the Department Curriculum Review and Program Development, and also focus groups, faculty members, and the Departmental Board.