Sweet Briar’s engineering program receives ABET reaccreditation

Engineering studentsSweet Briar College’s bachelor’s degree program in engineering science has been reaccredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. Sweet Briar is one of just two women’s colleges in the U.S. with an ABET-accredited engineering program.

ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies, as well as anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.

“Achieving reaccreditation through ABET’s rigorous review process by peers and authorities in our field emphasizes the value of Sweet Briar’s engineering program,” says Hank Yochum, who directs the Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program at Sweet Briar. “Since we established the program in 2005, our graduates have gone on to work in a variety of industries. Our small, interactive classes, project-based approach, and the strong support system we provide — as well as the internship requirement we have — prepare our students to jump right into industry when they graduate.”

About 90 percent of Sweet Briar engineering graduates are working in engineering or pursuing graduate degrees. Recent alumnae are employed at BWX Technologies, the Clorox Company, US Navy Air Systems Command, Newport News Shipyard, Deutsche Bank, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and Lockheed Martin.

Often, those first jobs begin as internships. Engineering majors gain valuable experience in industry through local and regional partnerships, and there are always opportunities to make a global impact, too: Recent class projects had students and faculty traveling to Brazil to deliver student-designed assistive devices, including a prosthetic arm for a quad amputee.

Sought worldwide, ABET’s voluntary peer-review process is highly respected because it adds critical value to academic programs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines, where quality, precision and safety are of the utmost importance.

Developed by technical professionals from ABET’s member societies, ABET criteria focus on what students experience and learn. ABET accreditation reviews look at program curricula, faculty, facilities and institutional support and are conducted by teams of highly skilled professionals from industry, academia and government, with expertise in the ABET disciplines.

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It currently accredits 3709 programs at over 750 colleges and universities in 30 countries.

More information about ABET, its member societies and the accreditation criteria used to evaluate programs can be found at www.abet.org.

To learn more about engineering at Sweet Briar, email Yochum at hyochum@sbc.edu or visit sbc.edu/stem/engineering.

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