The College of Engineering has joined a curriculum development program to help two universities in Kurdistan receive accreditation for their own engineering programs. Faisal Hossain, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been given the assignment of coordinating the development of the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum for the Kurdistan Regional Government.
“They are trying to secure ABET accreditation,” said Hossain. “They need advice and expertise in starting their engineering programs.”
The project began when Appalachian State University received a grant from the US Department of State and Kurdistan Ministry of Higher Education “to help universities revise their teaching practices.”
The lead contact within the project began looking for someone in civil engineering – and Tech was the first school to be contacted.
“There are other disciplines attached to the project, such as English and biology, which are being handled by other universities,” said Hossain. “But the reputation of our engineering program is why the lead in the project contacted us first.”
Hossain visited two universities, Koya and Salaudin, in the semi-autonomous region of Northern Iraq in August of this year. He spent six days checking the infrastructure and comparing curriculum at the universities, and even though the region has felt the effects of war and embargos during the past 30 years, Hossain left the region feeling confident.
“It’s been very stable since 2003,” said Hossain. “Everything is managed by the Kurdish people.”
Another part of the project will see Kurdish faculty visiting Tech during the first week of October to observe and participate in training.
Even though the program is aimed at helping the Kurdish universities, there is a business aspect as well.
“It just makes doing business much easier,” said David Huddleston, College of Engineering professor and interim dean. “The transferring of class credits is made possible when a university receives accreditation.”
Huddleston made clear that the most important aspect of this program is to help these universities receive their accreditation.
“It brings prestige and a certification of quality,” said Huddleston. “And with that comes the assurance of quality control.