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Nicholls geomatics program awarded full accreditation by ABET Inc.

THIBODAUX – The geomatics program at Nicholls State University was fully accredited last month by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET Inc., the recognized accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology.

Dr. Balaji Ramachandran, associate professor of geomatics, displays an unmanned aerial mapping vehicle — one of the educational tools of the Nicholls geomatics program.

“This doesn’t happen very often to new programs going through their first accreditation evaluation,” Dr. Terry Dantin, head of the Department of Applied Sciences and professor of geomatics, said. “Needless to say, we are extremely pleased with the outcome. Accreditation certifies that the program meets national standards, which fortifies the Nicholls geomatics degree in industry and academia.”

Founded by Dantin, the geomatics program is now under the leadership of Dr. Balaji Ramachandran, associate professor of geomatics, and is entering its seventh year of prepping students for professional careers in land surveying and related geoscience fields. Designed to meet the educational requirements for registration as a Professional Land Surveyor in Louisiana, the program offers the only bachelor’s degree in surveying and mapping in the state.

ABET accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations, conducted by teams of volunteer professionals working in industry, government, academia and private practice within the ABET disciplines, focus on program curricula, faculty, facilities and institutional support.

One of the key elements of ABET accreditation is the requirement that programs continuously improve the quality of education provided. As part of this continuous improvement requirement, programs set specific, measurable goals for their students and graduates, assess their success at reaching those goals and improve their programs based on the results of their assessment.

In addition to providing colleges and universities a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate and improve their programs, accreditation also helps students and their parents choose quality college programs, enables employers and graduate schools to recruit graduates they know are well-prepared, and is used by registration, licensure and certification boards to screen applicants.

ABET is a not-for-profit organization, owned and operated by its more than 25 professional and technical member societies. With some 1,500 volunteers, ABET has set higher-education standards in its fields for nearly 75 years. Additional information about ABET, its member societies and the evaluation criteria used to accredit programs can be found at www.abet.org.

For additional information about Nicholls’ geomatics program, go to www.nicholls.edu/doas.

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