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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Accreditation is a seal of recognition sought by almost all institutions of higher education. Accreditation is offered at several levels, including university, college, school and program. American academicians are familiar with the Council for Higher Education Association and the "Regional Accreditation'' associations. Faculty in colleges and schools of business worldwide recognize AACSB International and European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), as accrediting bodies for business colleges and schools. Similarly, degree programs, for example, accounting, the engineering fields, and health care professions, have accreditation bodies. One such accreditation body, very familiar to engineers and computer scientists, but new to business' academicians is ABET. ABET, through its Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC), now accredits programs in Information Systems. This paper looks at the philosophy of accrediting programs, specifically information systems programs, overviews the ABET accreditation criteria and process, considers the "costs and benefits'' of accrediting information systems programs, and develops a diagram detailing the internal steps of the ABET accreditation process in a familiar systems analysis and design approach. These steps are then grouped into before, during, and after the accreditation onsite team visit. Potential impediments related to these steps are identified with resolution strategies are presented. The paper concludes by arguing that whether or not a program pursues IS accreditation, much of what is presented here and required of ABET is applicable to any well-run IS program dedicated to continuously delivering a quality curriculum to its students.

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