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Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 15 Jun 2001 13:30:21 -0400
text/plain (92 lines)
Hi all,
>
> Nicely said!
>
> Is the CSAB curriculum completely separate from the IEEE/ACM Computing Curricula 2001 (http://computer.org/education/cc2001/ironman/cc2001/index.html)?  Do these organizations at least talk to each other?
>
> Glenn Booker
>
(another full and lengthy answer...)

Yes, they talk to each other - CSAB is sponsored by ACM and IEEE.
But their purposes and approaches are different.

The ACM/IEEE curriculum task forces (this is at least the 3rd over the
years) produce recommended curriculum content in great detail, which
usually has a certain influence in faculty circles, book publishers, etc.
These are merely recommendations; they have no "legal" standing for
accreditation, certification, or whatever. Also, they are purely
_curricular_ recommendations; they do not speak to other issues like
faculty qualifications, etc.

CSAB, on the other hand, is the designated agency that _accredits_
undergraduate CS programs. It is certified by the US Department of
Education as an accrediting agency. This is similar to what AMA does
in medicine, ABA in law, ABET in engineering, AIA in architecture, etc.

[aside]

For you non-US readers: in the US, the central government mostly
stays out of education issues. The Feds supply only 7% of education
funding here. For example, our "education ministry" does not accredit
any ordinary education programs at any level; it only accredits the
accreditation agencies!

Higher-education (postsecondary) accreditation is done two ways:

- colleges and universities are accredited by regional associations
  (GW is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges)
  and - in some States, not all - by the State government

- specific programs (typically only the professional ones) are
  accredited by the professional societies in those fields.

[end aside; back to CSAB]

The curriculum is a part of the accreditation process, but there are
_many_ other factors such as stability, administrative commitment,
lab resources, faculty qualifications, etc.

The CSAB curriculum standards are far more general, and any specific
curriculum that meets the general standards is accreditable.

Any reasonable implementation of ACM/IEEE curriculum recommendations
would likely meet the CSAB curriculum standards, if it includes
enough CS credit hours (40 minimum) to qualify.

Accreditation is "pass/fail" - there is no ranking. If you meet the
standards, you pass. If you don't, you fail. In some sense, it puts
a _floor_ under the definition of "respectable CS program."

[GW hype alert]

For the record:

(1) GW's BS program in CS is CSAB-accredited. We require 57 credit
    hours of CS coursework.

(2) We have a 2-year-old _BA_ program that is not accredited
    because CSAB basically does only "heavy" BS-type programs
    and there is no other agency. Our BA, like most liberal-arts
    curricula, has 33 semester hours of CS content. It's designed
    to facilitate dual majors, and we have a bunch of them in
    everything from biology to music to Japanese.

(3) I coordinated our most recent preparation and CSAB site
    visit in 1998. Generally accreditations are for 6 years.

(4) I am also an "accredited accreditor" - I'm certified to go out
    for CSAB on visits to other programs, and have done so several
    times.

(5) Over the years I've recruited perhaps half a dozen of my Ada-
    industry colleagues to become accreditors.

GW's curriculum stuff is linked from

http://cs.seas.gwu.edu

You can select curriculum stuff from the 'popular pages' pulldown.

Mike Feldman

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