Accreditation and What it Means for You, the Student

UPDATE: The EKU Fire protection & Safety Engineering Technology Program Received ABET Accreditation in August 2015. Read more. 

This original article was written by Greg Gorbett in October 2013

Over the past 2 years, the faculty in the fire degree programs at EKU have been working towards accreditation.  To give you some insight into what accreditation is and what it means for you as a student, let me provide you with a quick history of our programs.

What does this mean for the student?

At EKU we pride ourselves in teaching effectiveness and the knowledge of our graduates.  These accreditation processes are in place to ensure that course offerings, institutional support, and qualifications of the faculty are working together in completing the educational mission.  The Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) website states that accreditation “is proof that a collegiate program has met certain standards necessary to produce graduates who are ready to enter their professions” (source: www.abet.org ).  In short, these accrediting bodies and the work of the faculty and staff at EKU to meet accreditation requirements is a method to ensure that the students are obtaining a quality education.  Therefore, regardless of the specific degree program you take at EKU you will know that the class you are taking has met stringent quality requirements that help prepare you for your future career.

History

The Department of Fire Prevention and Control (FPC) at EKU was formed in 1973 following the release of “America Burning” by President Nixon’s National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control.  The Commission studied the fire problem in America and made recommendations to increase life safety and reduce property damages caused by fires. 

In 1984, the department was combined with Security and Loss Prevention and Traffic Safety Studies to form a new department of Loss Prevention and Safety (LPS).  At this time, the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology (FSE) program consisted of an associate degree in fire and safety and one bachelor’s degree in fire and safety engineering technology with a common core and four options. The four options were Fire Administration; Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation; Fire Protection Engineering Technology; and Industrial Safety and Risk Management.  In 2008, the Department of Fire and Safety Engineering Technology, including all four concentrations, was accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).

Due to the growth of the College of Justice and Safety, the Department of Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology was able to separate the single bachelor’s degree into four separate bachelor’s degree programs.  In the fall of 2008, the FSE program officially began enrolling students in the four new bachelor’s degree programs, including the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology Degree.  The new degree programs were developed with accreditation in mind.  The curricula in each new degree program were optimized to enable the programs to maintain or acquire specific external accreditations.  The Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology degree was designed with the requirements of the ABET and the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (with eventual PE licensure) in mind.  All three fire degree programs are also being submitted again to be reaccredited by IFSAC.

Updates

The ABET readiness review for the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology program was sent out prior to November 1, 2013. This voluminous document was reviewed by ABET to determine whether any deficiencies were found with the documentation that EKU will be using for assessing the student learning outcomes.  

December 2014: The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) re-accredited all three bachelor’s degree programs in fire protection offered by Eastern Kentucky University in August 2014 following a regularly scheduled review.

April 2015: We continue to work with ABET, formerly known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, on the initial accreditation process for the Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology Degree. In pursuit of accreditation through the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC), EKU has passed its readiness review and has completed their site visit. The program is currently working through some revisions of the program. We will submit a final report in May 2015 and we expect a decision on accreditation by September 2015.

August 2015: EKU Fire Protection & Safety Engineering Technology Degree Receives ABET Accreditation

Published on October 30, 2013