Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

IS 2010 and ABET Accreditation: An Analysis of ABET-Accredited Information Systems Programs

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

IS 2010 and ABET Accreditation: An Analysis of ABET-Accredited Information Systems Programs

Article excerpt

1. CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS (IS)

Curriculum development efforts for baccalaureate degree programs in Information Systems have been ongoing for close to four decades. Driven by the recognition that the educational needs of those entering the business environment are significantly different than from those entering the field of computer science and/or computer engineering, the first "Curriculum Recommendations for Undergraduate Programs in Information Systems" (Cougar, 1973) was sponsored by the Associate for Computing Machinery (ACM) and prepared by the ACM Curriculum Committee on Computing Education for Management (C3EM). The report emphasized that although historically entry into information systems did not necessarily require a college degree, and in fact many information systems professionals at that time entered the field laterally from other disciplines such as accounting, the requirement for a college level degree was an implicit if not explicit requirement for information systems positions in medium to large size companies using third generation computing equipment.

During the mid- to late-1970s the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA) and the Association for Systems Management (ASM) were the two leading professional organizations for business computing professionals. Although the ACM curriculum recommendations were highly respected in academic circles, the recommendations were not widely distributed to nor did they receive much support from those in the business computer industry. Relying heavily on advisory councils composed of business computing professionals, most of the newly evolving undergraduate programs in Information Systems did not migrate to the ACM model.

In February 1979 the Information Systems department of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly) hosted the first national conference/workshop on Computer Information Systems Education. The conference brought together representatives from industry and education to discuss and make recommendations for improving business computing education at the undergraduate level. This conference put forward the following positions: (1) there are significant differences among educational programs in information systems, computer science, and computer engineering; (2) programs in computer information systems have the distinct primary goal of preparing entry-level applications programmer/analysts for commercial environments; and (3) it is desirable that a nationally recognized model curriculum offering guidelines in the development of educational programs in computer information systems be established. The conference concluded with the establishment of a task group to develop specific plans for establishing this model curriculum.

The success of the first conference attracted the attention of DPMA, who expressed interest in co-hosting with Cal Poly a second national conference to continue the curriculum development effort. The second national conference was held in January of 1980 and was attended by computing educators and industry representatives from around the nation. Discussion centered on a preliminary version of a model curriculum which developed as an outgrowth of the first conference. Evolving from the discussion was a set of core courses that all agreed should form the basis for all undergraduate programs in Computer Information Systems. As a result of the work from this second conference the DPMA Education Foundation agreed to sponsor the curriculum development project and to support its recommendation as viable standards for baccalaureate Computer Information Systems Education. A target date of June 1981 was tentatively set for project completion. In May of 1981 a draft of the report was presented at the First National Conference on Information Systems Education, and the final report (DPMA, 1981) was published later that year. The report was widely supported by industry and widely adopted by undergraduate programs throughout the country. …

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