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Mining technology program gains accreditation

9/11/2008 —
The Mining Technology program at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus has received accreditation from the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET Inc. ABET is the only agency sanctioned by the federal government to accredit higher education programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology.

Mining Technology Program Coordinator and Instructor Nancy Dorset says gaining the accreditation is a significant achievement for the program that began in 2005 and graduated its first students in May 2007. “Penn State Fayette’s mining technology degree program is the only one of its kind in the state and the region. In two years, students can earn an associate degree that fast-tracks them into supervisory positions in the mining industry. Two tracks of career focus are offered: production and maintenance. The accreditation benefits our mining technology students because ABET accreditation indicates a superior, quality education, and employers prefer to hire from ABET-approved programs.”

Jim Bell, chief engineer of technical services for Bucyrus America and chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board for the mining technology program, explains, “Both the University and the coal industry have actively worked over the past four years towards gaining this prestigious accreditation. It clearly demonstrates the importance of industry’s involvement in the development of new educational programs, and the University’s willingness to accept guidance from those most closely affected by the program and its graduates.”

The accreditation of Penn State Fayette’s mining technology program is retroactive and covers all of the program’s students, including those that graduated in 2007 and in spring 2008. Students who choose to continue their education toward a bachelor’s of science degree also benefit from the ease in articulating and transferring credits earned during their first two years.

Dr. Emmanuel I. Osagie, chancellor of Penn State Fayette, says, “The accreditation of the mining technology program illustrates the quality of education that Fayette County residents and others in the area can obtain close to home. Penn State and the Fayette campus are dedicated in our mission to serve the needs of our students and to work to meet the economic development and employment needs of southwestern Pennsylvania. Programs like our mining technology program—which is unique and serves as a model for other mining programs in other parts of the country—illustrates that a small campus with the resources and reputation of Penn State can serve our region in a big way.”

Programs volunteer to be reviewed by ABET for accreditation, a process that takes more than a year to complete. The criteria that each program must meet are defined by each professional society and published by ABET on its Web site at www.abet.org. To maintain accreditation, universities are reviewed at least every six years by a team of professional engineers and professors to determine if the criteria are being met.

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