Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

An Analysis of IS Programs Accredited by ABET

Academic journal article Communications of the IIMA

An Analysis of IS Programs Accredited by ABET

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

As of April 2008 there were 30 Information Systems (IS) programs at 23 universities accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This paper compares these ABET accredited IS programs to a sample of 20 IS programs randomly chosen from 251 IS programs in the United States listed by ISWorld. The data was collected by visiting the web pages of the selected IS programs. This paper includes a study of the required IS courses, elective IS courses, required programming courses, required business courses, the title of the IS program (IS/MIS/CIS), the department and college where the IS program was located and the year of ABET accreditation. It is interesting to notice that only two of the ABET accredited IS degrees are BBA degrees. This study points out several significant differences between the ABET accredited IS programs and the typical BBA IS programs at the sample universities.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past few years there have been several interesting articles written about the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation of IS programs in IACIS (Kohum & Wood, 2004; Jones, 2004; MacKinnon & Butler, 2005), ISECON (Hilton & Stone, 2003; Hilton, Johnson, & Kasper, 2004) and JISE (Kohum & Wood., 2003; Challa, Kasper, &Redmond, 2005). The Jones' (2004) article gives a good analysis of the IS curriculum at the seven accredited programs up to year 2004 and Hilton and his associates presents an interesting analysis of both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation and ABET accreditation (Hilton & Stone, 2003; Hilton, et al., 2004; Hilton, et al., 2007). Gorgone has been involved with IS accreditation as long ago as 1987 and he has had a significant input into the ABET IS accreditation criteria (Gorgone, 2003; Gorgone, 2004). Since the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET approved formal criteria for accrediting IS programs in 2001, there have been 30 IS programs at 23 universities accredited by ABET. In Hilton's study (2007) of IS programs, it is interesting to note that 92% of the IS programs surveyed had their business school or college accredited by AACSB and less than 1% of these IS programs were accredited by ABET (Hilton & Lo, 2007).

This paper investigates characteristics of the ABET accredited IS programs and compares them to a sample of 20 other typical IS programs that were randomly chosen to see similarities but more importantly, any significant differences between the ABET accredited IS programs and other IS programs.

METHODOLOGY AND DATA ANALYSIS

As of February 2005 there were 251 universities with IS programs that were listed on the U.S. IS departments web page of ISWorld (IS Departments, 2005). A sample of 20 of these universities, by selecting every twelfth university listed by ISWorld, were selected to compare with the 23 ABET accredited IS programs.

The analysis of comparing the IS programs in two categories was done by examining their web pages. There is often a lag between the time when the changes are made in an IS curriculum and when these changes are listed on the department web page, so the current IS curriculum requirements by the program may not be exactly in agreement with the department web page. In comparing business requirements, there are wide variations on each university counts its business courses. At some universities Economics is counted as a business course and at other universities it is counted as an arts course. At some universities programming is taught by the IS department and is counted as a required IS course while at other universities programming is taught by the Computer Science (CS) department and is counted as a required course but not counted as a required IS course. For this paper, the number of credits for IS, business and programming courses are counted as the way each university counts those courses. …

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