SAN ANGELO, Texas — Angelo State University’s Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.) degree program has earned accreditation by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, retroactive to October 2018.

“It’s been exciting to see new students come in and the opportunities they have with the new equipment and facilities,” said Caleb Miller.

When Caleb Miller graduated in the Fall of 2018, he was among the first five students to complete the Angelo State University Civil Engineering degree program. Recently that program received accreditation by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission.

According to the ABET website, “ABET accreditation assures confidence that a collegiate program has met standards essential to prepare graduates to enter critical STEM fields in the global workforce. Graduates from an ABET-accredited program have a solid educational foundation and are capable of leading the way in innovation, emerging technologies, and in anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.”

“From the start, there was never a doubt in my mind that the program would become accredited and we would get everything we need out of it,” added Miller.

“The accreditation or our civil engineering program is the most important milestone in the department to date,” said Dr. Don Topliff, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Without ABET accreditation, our engineering graduates would not be able to achieve the Professional Engineer credentials necessary for employment in an engineering firm. This accreditation, which by the way, came with absolutely no deficiencies, is a testament to the exceptional quality of the faculty and the training they are giving their students. I could not be prouder of the David L. Hirschfield Department of Engineering.”

Additional benefits for students in an ABET-accredited program include:

  • Verification that their educational experience meets the global standard for technical education
  • Enhancement of employment opportunities – ABET accreditation is recognized worldwide.
  • Support for future licensure, registration and certification
  • Establishing eligibility for federal student loans, grants and/or scholarships

“This is an auspicious day for Angelo State University,” said Dr. William Kitch, chair of the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering. “With this announcement, all 34 of our civil engineering alumni back to the ‘Fundamental Five,’ who graduated in December 2018, now hold accredited engineering degrees. This is the culmination of five years of dedicated work by the staff, faculty and students of our department. I could not be prouder to be serving ASU and our students with such a dedicated group of professionals.”

According to ASU President, Ronnie Hawkins, the David L. Hirschfield Department of Engineering has made significant strides over the past few years.

Formation of the B.S.C.E. degree program began in 2014 when ASU received a $2.87 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for initial funding. The first civil engineering students enrolled in the fall of 2015, and the department was named in honor of local businessman David L. Hirschfeld following a $1 million endowed gift in 2016. ASU received a $4.5 million anonymous gift to fund construction of the Hunter Strain Engineering Labs that opened in 2017, and other substantial anonymous gifts were used to purchase lab equipment and fund the program’s first endowed scholarships. There are currently 89 students pursuing their ASU civil engineering degree.

ASU’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) degree program was approved in October 2018 and was initially funded by a $2.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions program. The first mechanical engineering students enrolled in the fall of 2019, and there are currently 111 students in the program.

Hawkins said he is certain the programs will continue to expand.

“The way I hope it grows is that we provide access to people who would not have had this before, they would have had to travel somewhere else. Now they can come here in West Texas, particularly Angelo State, and receive that opportunity in an engineering program. We already know it’s going to grow,” said Hawkins.

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