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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Feb. 4, 2009) – UCM has become the first institution in the United States to gain accreditation of master’s degree programs by the National Association of Industrial Technology. Master of Science degrees in Technology and Industrial Management received initial accreditation by NAIT as the result of an extensive program review and a site visit to campus which occurred late in the spring 2008 semester.
According to John Sutton, chair of UCM’s School of Technology, accreditation of these graduate programs came at the same time NAIT announced the reaccreditation of Bachelor of Science degree programs in Automotive Technology Management, Construction Management, and Electronics Technology. Initial accreditation of the BS degrees in Graphic Arts Technology Management and Computer Aided Design Technology programs also was approved. All of these programs are accredited through Nov. 1, 2014.
Sutton said he and his faculty are pleased that the School of Technology has gained NAIT’s stamp of approval, noting that the university has a long history of NAIT-accredited undergraduate technology programs, a tradition that began in 1990 with one program. He believes the institution will become a benchmark for other colleges and universities that are seeking accreditation of their master’s degree-level programs in technology-related fields.
“This is a landmark achievement, and I really credit all of the hard work of the faculty and staff in preparing our self study to get ready for accreditation,” Sutton said.
The self study outlines actions the school has taken to meet more than 60 different NAIT standards, ranging from faculty qualifications and laboratory equipment to funding for support personnel, industry involvement in programs, and success of graduates. Sutton believes strong ties with business and industry have contributed to continued accreditation of baccalaureate programs over the years.
“The thing that is most important in the technology field is the linkage with business/industry and success of our graduates,” he said, noting that many of those who have earned UCM degrees stay involved with the school.
Approximately 100 representatives of business and industry serve on the School of Technology’s advisory boards. They contribute to a continuous process improvement system which helps faculty determine which types of curriculum changes or equipment upgrades are needed to meet employers’ current and future needs. The school’s focus in on the preparation of technical management and supervisory personnel who can serve as the interface between the design and production sides of an industry.
“Companies want people who understand both theory and practice. Our students understand engineering, design and production and they can communicate how to make things happen in a business or industrial environment,” Sutton said.
He added that NAIT looks favorably at what the school is doing to ensure its faculty members are staying current with changes in the workplace through real-life experiences.
“We work hard to get our faculty out into business and industry on a regular basis,” Sutton said.
Faculty members are encouraged to spend at least one semester every five years – often during the summer – working with the companies that hire UCM graduates.
“This gives them an opportunity to get up to speed with the latest practices that these companies are employing. And, when they come back to campus in the fall, they are usually re-energized in their teaching,” Sutton said. “This helps us figure out where we need to make shifts in our curriculum.”
He pointed out that more and more businesses and industries are seeking only industrial technology graduates from NAIT-accredited schools because they know these institutions have met certain professional goals and standards. UCM joins 84 institutions nationwide offering programs that meet these standards.