Navajo Technical University, a four-year tribally controlled institution located in Crownpoint, New Mexico, learned this week that its electrical and industrial engineering programs have received ABET accreditation.
ABET accreditation is only awarded to institutions able to meet the rigorous requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which evaluates programs in the disciplines of applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.
According to Casmir I. Agbaraji, dean of undergraduate studies, the engineering programs are accredited retroactively from October 1, 2015 until September 30, 2024.
Engineering degrees are offered by a growing number of tribal colleges nationwide. Salish Kootenai College, located on the Flathead Reservation of Montana, was the first to offer a baccalaureate degree in computer engineering, and six tribal colleges are now offering two-year pre-engineering degrees in collaboration with mainstream universities as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Pre-Engineering Education Collaboratives (PEEC).
However, Navajo Technical University is the first to pursue and receive ABET accreditation. “This is as significant an accomplishment as the moment when [the Higher Learning Commission] allowed Navajo Technical College to offer the first baccalaureate degrees,” noted Tom Davis, former Navajo Technical University provost in a letter of congratulations.
“It is also a significant development in the history of TCU’s nationwide,” he wrote. “I am absolutely certain we will see other TCU’s become ABET accredited schools in the future to follow up on this accomplishment.”