A visiting team has informed the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith that two bachelor’s degree programs will receive initial accreditation and seven other programs in the College of Applied Science and Technology will be reaccredited.

UAFS is the only institution in the state to receive the accreditation, which comes from the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), according to Dr. Georgia Hale of Fort Smith, interim associate provost and CAST dean. Hale said the official accreditation approval will be given at an ATMAE meeting in St. Louis next fall.

The two bachelor’s degree programs are the Bachelor of Science in Animation Technology and the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. The reaccreditation includes the Bachelor of Applied Science, as well as associate degree programs in Administrative and Office Technology, Automotive Technology, Computer Graphic Technology, Electronics Technology, Welding Technology and Workforce Leadership.

"The Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognizes ATMAE as a specialized accreditor for technology and applied engineering programs," said Hale. "ATMAE accreditation ensures that we have met a series of standards to provide industry with highly competent employees and assures the graduates of an ATMAE accredited program that they are receiving a marketable degree through relevant curricula."

Hale said the accreditation process is outcomes driven.

"We had to look at the goal for each program," she said. "The goals articulate what we expect students to learn from our programs to make sure these outcomes would prepare the students for careers in their chosen field of study. We then had to prove that we were meeting these goals."

Dr. Paul B. Beran of Fort Smith, chancellor at UAFS, said the accreditation is part of a systematic process underway at the institution.

"The Five-Year Strategic Plan which I introduced to the campus and community in 2010 lists as one of the initiatives that we are to ‘maintain and expand accountability through accreditation for all applicable programs,’" said Beran.

"This is another example of the reach of UAFS as a regional university," he continued. "The community and the employers in our region can be assured that we are working with them to build an enhanced workforce having the best education possible."

Hale said the visiting team told UAFS officials of the positive accreditation review results and that a written report will be sent to UAFS within a month. The accreditation will extend through fall of 2019.

Hale said ATMAE is "the premiere professional association" responsible for the promotion of technology in business, industry, education and government; the accreditation of technology programs in colleges, universities and technical institutes; and the certification of technologists and the recognition of their continued professional development.

The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes ATMAE as a specialized accreditor for technology and applied engineering degrees.