Industrial Technology Programs Earn NAIT Accreditation

Curt Carlson

The Department of Industrial Technology has recently become one of only 55 baccalaureate degree offering institutions in the nation accredited by the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT). And, refl ecting a high tech approach to the process itself, the innovative UNK department is the only one to have achieved this distinction after conducting its self-study entirely online.

“Programs, not institutions, are accredited,” said ITEC Department Chair Dr. Ken Larson, “meaning that not all programs in a given institution or department may necessarily be accredited. In the case of UNK, all four of the programs in the Department of Industrial Technology are accredited through 2012. They include Aviation Systems Management, Construction Management, Industrial Distribution and Telecommunications Management.”

The ITEC department, under the direction of Dr. Larry Kuskie at the time, began pursuing the concept of accreditation in 1999. Writing the requisite self-study took about two years. When faculty found themselves going to the Web for most of the information which was already online and printing it out for the self study, it quickly became apparent to them that a logical approach would be to do the entire self-study online.

Dr. Tim Obermier volunteered to integrate the university’s online content management system (Ektron) for making the accreditation study a completely paperless process. This had never been done previously, and, as a result, attracted considerable national attention when it came time for the on-site visit.

UNK’s ITEC programs were granted initial accreditation in 2002 for a four-year period. The most recent re-accreditation (November 2006) is for a six-year period through 2012.

“While one would think we could ‘take a break’ now for a few years, we have also learned that accreditation is an ongoing process. It never stops. One is continually assessing, reassessing, evaluating, changing as a result of evaluation, and the circle continues,” Dr. Larson said.

To conclude, he added, “The Department of Industrial Technology is proud to have achieved this designation for all four of its programs. It came to fruition only through the joint effort of every faculty and staff member in the department working diligently to achieve it. It provides an avenue for our ‘seal of approval’ that may be of value to students, parents of students, employers and administrators alike.”