R.B. Annis School of Engineering receives accreditation, $1.8 million gift

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The R.B. Annis School of Engineering at the University of Indianapolis has received accreditation for the Industrial & Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering programs by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), according to UIndy 360. The accreditation allows UIndy engineering undergraduates to be qualified under an internationally and nationally recognized commission for working in their respective fields upon graduation. 

According to Assistant Professor for the School of Engineering Najmus Saqib, ABET is the premier accreditation body for all engineering programs—not just in the United States, but worldwide. Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering and Software Engineering went up for accreditation and received full certification after the first review, which is considerably rare, according to Saqib.

“A lot of times, new programs don’t get full accreditation; they get provisional accreditation, and then they have a follow-up review in a couple of years,” Saqib said.

First, to be eligible for accreditation, the school has to have students graduate from the program, who then submit a large report which is known as a self-study report, Saqib said. The report includes everything about the program from the university’s history, when the program was founded, how many students were and are enrolled in the program and transcripts of those students and class work. 

“We had to dig up old exams and tests and they looked at what sort of work the students were doing,” Saqib said. “[The board looked at] how [students are] being assessed for different outcomes in different courses and different things that they were producing.” 

The accreditation allows for the school to maintain its status as an accredited institution once initiated and puts the program under review again in six years, essentially duplicating the process for the initial accreditation, according to Assistant Professor for the School of Engineering Megan Hammond. The department is constantly assessing and gathering information to show the program is upholding the standards of the accrediting body, Hammond said.

The School of Engineering also received a gift of $1.8 million from Zane and Frances Todd. Todd is a retired chairman and chief executive officer of Indianapolis Power and Light  Company, where Todd’s wife Frances also worked, according to UIndy 360. Zane Todd served on the UIndy Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1991 and served as the Chair of the Board from 1981 to 1991, according to UIndy 360. The gift will also fund the Zane and Frances Todd Merit and Leadership Scholars Fund endowment, which will support students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields, with a special emphasis on engineering, according to UIndy 360. The gift will also be going towards the Frances and Zane Todd Merit and Leadership Scholars in Health Sciences and Nursing Scholarship funds. The scholarships will have a preference for non-traditional students, in honor of Zane’s own background. The gift will go to students who are working to fund their education, have been honorably discharged from military service, have children for which they have financial responsibility and students who are married, according to UIndy 360.

“Hopefully, [the endowment scholarship will] boost enrollment for non-traditional students,” Associate Dean and Director of Engineering Ken Reid said. “So that’s really what we want, and I think UIndy is really poised for that. We have small classes, the professors teach the classes, they’re hands-on. So it’s a lot of stuff that’s going to help students succeed.”

Photo by Hannah Hadley R.B. Annis Hall, home of the School of Engineering, sits on Shelby Street across from the Greyhound Village apartments. UIndy launched the School of Engineering during 2017.

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