In the United States, accreditation is a non-governmental, peer reviewed process that ensures educational quality. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to periodically undergo this review to determine if minimum criteria are being met. Accreditation verifies that an institution or program meets the criteria, ensuring a quality educational experience.
There are two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation evaluates overall institutional quality. Regional accreditation of institutions is one form of this. Specialized accreditation, however, examines specific programs of study to determine if graduates are prepared to enter the profession. This type of accreditation is granted to specific programs at specific levels. Programs of architecture, nursing, law, medicine and engineering are often evaluated through this type of accreditation.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides institutional accreditation for Oregon State University.
Accreditation for Civil Engineering
The Bachelor of Science (BS) and Honors Bachelor of Science (HBS) degrees in the civil engineering program are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The ABET-accredited civil engineering curriculum is designed to prepare students for professional engineering registration and for responsible engineering positions with business, industry, consulting firms, the military, utilities, or public agencies.
Our CE program mission, program educational objectives, and student outcomes are available on the civil engineering accreditation page.
A student may also earn a concurrent non-accredited Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) degree by completing 32 additional credit hours in residence, including proficiency equivalent to that attained at the end of the second year of a foreign language as certified by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.
Accreditation for Construction Engineering Management
The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) provides specialized accreditation for construction management programs. The CEM program was first accredited by ACCE in 1980 and was re-accredited in 1990, 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014. In 2014 the CEM program accreditation was extended for the maximum six years allowed by ACCE.
The program mission and objectives are available on the CEM accreditation page.
Outcomes Assessment of Graduate Programs
In addition to these detailed external reviews, each graduate program assesses its students' progress and gathers additional information that allows it to improve its policies and procedures. These assessments are designed to determine whether students are achieving graduate program learning objectives and whether strategies used to assist students in reaching their learning outcomes should be modified.
Overarching Graduate Learning Outcomes for doctoral and masters programs were proposed by the Graduate Council and approved by the Faculty Senate on Jan 13, 2011 (doctoral) and April 14, 2011 (masters). The graduate outcomes, as approved by Faculty Senate, are:
Learning outcomes for PhD Degree programs state that the student shall:
- produce and defend an original significant contribution to knowledge;
- demonstrate mastery of subject material; and
- be able to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner.
These outcomes are to be assessed at the program level. Outcome (a) is already part of the assessment performed at the final oral exam and the GCR is specifically required to raise this metric. Outcome (b) is part of every unit's requirements for students and is assessed by course work grades and preliminary examinations. Outcome (c) is new and will require the units to be sure the students are informed/trained as to what is required to conduct scholarly activities in an ethical manner. There is an array of methods the units could choose to use, such as the Graduate School course on Responsible Conduct of Research, along with other courses, instruction in research groups, etc.
Additional outcomes, the assessment of all outcomes and the specification of learning objectives related to these outcomes are to be carried out at the program level and reviewed periodically.
Learning outcomes for Master's Degree programs state that the student shall:
- Conduct research or produce some other form of creative work, and
- Demonstrate mastery of subject material, and
- Be able to conduct scholarly or professional activities in an ethical manner.
The assessment of these outcomes and the specification of learning objectives related to these outcomes are to be carried out at the program level.
The assessment of program-level learning outcomes is to be formative, providing guidance for students as they work toward achieving required outcomes, and summative, determining satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Students are to be informed of the additional outcomes and the strategies used to assess progress toward achieving the outcomes. The current Graduate assessment plans, submitted to the Director of Assessment, were implemented beginning in January 2012.