SPIE has begun its first accreditation cycle as a member of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), enabling the organisation to establish criteria for college and university degree-granting programmes in optics and photonics.
ABET, a federation of 30 professional and technical societies, acts as the recognised accreditor for college and university programmes in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology in the US.
Following ratification as a member society earlier this year, SPIE was designated the lead society for optics and photonics criteria related to curriculum and faculty for the ABET Applied Science Accreditation Commission, and will be co-lead with IEEE for similar programs in the Engineering and Technology accreditation commissions.
Nominations of Barry Shoop (US Military Academy) to fill the SPIE seat on the ABET Board of Directors and of Wei Chen (University of Central Oklahoma) as alternate were approved by the SPIE Board of Directors at its meeting in San Diego last month.
Six programme evaluators selected by SPIE attended training in Louisville, Kentucky, this summer, and two of the evaluators were assigned to perform accreditation reviews and site visits this fall.
Next, SPIE will work with deans and department heads of leading optics and photonics programmes to develop criteria and faculty descriptions appropriate to the discipline. Once written, these will go to the commission and ABET's board for approval. When approved they will be posted one year for public comment and subsequently become the accepted criteria for optics and photonics programs accredited by ABET.