The engineering programs in the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering—the Paper Engineering program and the Bioprocess Engineering program—are accredited through the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (EAC/ABET). ABET Reviewers look at engineering programs to assure that they meet eight engineering criteria that look at various aspects of the program including students, curriculum, faculty, facilities, and institutional support. Some engineering programs must also meet specific program criteria depending on the name and focus of the program. Reviewers often comment on the strengths of the program and make observations about the program in addition to their assessment of the program meeting the necessary criteria.
The Paper Engineering program has been accredited since 2002 and went through its third review over the past year. While the program has had its current name since 2004, the history of the program goes back to 1920, when a program in Pulp and Paper Manufacture was created—the first of its kind in the United States. The program has small class sizes with highly accessible faculty resulting in a strong sense of teamwork and community within the department. Internships are a key component to the program which gives students valuable industrial experience, resulting in a placement rate of nearly 100%. The Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation (SPPF) provides financial support to all undergraduate students in the program that meet a minimum GPA requirement. During their senior year, students engage in two capstone design courses. One involves the production of several grades of paper on a pilot-scale papermachine; the second involves process design at a local paper mill.
The Bioprocess Engineering program was established in 2006 and was first accredited with the recent visit. The Bioprocess Engineering program is a versatile program that is expected to grow tremendously in the coming years. The program is best described as a biologically-based chemical engineering program, and meets the ABET program criteria for Chemical Engineering and similarly-named programs. In this way, students get an education substantially similar to a traditional chemical engineering program with an emphasis on the use of sustainable raw materials and environmentally-friendly processes and products. The student organization within the department is now associated with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) as a student chapter. While the coursework involves many of the subjects traditionally taught in a Chemical Engineering program, many of the upper-division courses emphasize biological processes (for example, fermentation) and biological products (biofuels and biopharmaceuticals). The program is expected to grow significantly in the next several years.