GVSU engineering programs earn reaccreditation: The Accreditation Board for Engineers and Technology Inc. has granted reaccreditation to all engineering majors within the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University. Being accredited especially benefits graduates, said Chris Plouff, engineering professor and coordinator of the reaccreditation process. “Employers most
commonly seek engineers who earned their degree from an accredited school,” he said. “Also, if a graduate wants to become a licensed professional engineer, they must come from an accredited institution.” The accreditation is based on an assessment of each program’s objectives and outcomes and how they are met. The review process takes nearly a year, ending with a visit from ABET representatives to the university to tour facilities and meet with faculty, students and community members. The first engineering program at Grand Valley became accredited in 1999; each cycle lasts six years. Plouff said becoming reaccredited validates the curriculum and programs the school employs. “Being accredited is a signal to our students, community and employers that our graduates come from programs that meet the same standards of the best programs in the country,” he said. Accreditation, courses, laboratories and professional relationships with area employers directly contribute to the nearly 100 percent job placement rate of Grand Valley’s engineering graduates. “We hire Grand Valley graduates with confidence,” said Nicholas Hayhoe, Grand Valley alumnus and engineer at Disher & Development in Zeeland. “As an alumnus, I know that they will have not only have theoretical education, but also great hands-on experience.” Since admitting the first 20 students in 1988, enrollment in the engineering school has grown to nearly 750. The number of cooperative education work experiences for engineering students increased by 42 percent in 2010, compared
to 2009. Continued growth is predicted with the designation of separate engineering majors, increased community partnerships and the latest introduction of a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, the only such program in West Michigan. Rapistan founder James Sebastian is credited with originally pushing for an engineering program at Grand Valley because of his beliefs in skills training and internships. Today, Grand Valley’s Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, which includes the School of Engineering, is named for Seymour and Esther Padnos, of Holland, in recognition of their support and their focus on engineering design for environmental responsibility, a hallmark of the school.