The Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC) is part of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and is an accrediting body for project management and related degree programs. GAC accredits bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs. According to the GAC website, “GAC accredited academic degree programs are members of a select group that embraces and promotes the discipline of project management.”
If a university goes through the lengthy process and becomes an “official” GAC Accredited Program, then it means two important things:
- It confirms that a program has been carefully assessed and that it meets comprehensive international quality and scope standards.
- It makes a public statement about the commitment of the institution to ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement.
Completing any project management course from an accredited GAC Program earns students the project management education hours (called professional development units or PDUs) required to sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Credential Examination or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Exam. If a student already has their PMP or CAPM, students can use the PDUs earned from their courses to maintain their certification.
The University of Maryland Project Management Program and Degrees were last reviewed by the GAC in Fall 2021. Below are some of the review team’s comments that should be of interest to students either already enrolled in a PM degree at UMD or considering enrolling in one.
- The Program is actively involved with and supports local PMI chapters.
- Alumni from all over the world (e.g., England, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic) extolled the values and benefits of the Program.
- The Team observed and confirmed that all degree programs are academically rigorous and reflect the award level based on the Program’s current assessment process.
- The Programs align with GAC standards and support student learning and growth in technical, strategic, and behavioral aspects of project management. Exemplar coursework and student interviews demonstrate that students actively engage with each other, the instructor, and the course material.
- The Program has extensive information available for all degree programs on its website. The Program includes future course schedules on their website. Several students commented on this information’s value as they planned future courses around their busy work and personal lives.
- The full-time faculty have strong academic credentials. The adjunct faculty receive high praise from their students as subject matter experts who bring real-world experience into the classroom. Many adjunct and full-time faculty have been with the Program for many years (20+ years).
- Faculty knowledge, industry expertise, and long-term commitment to the Program are very impressive. Faculty take ownership of their courses and strive to make them relevant and useful to students’ current and future careers.
- For the past 20 years, the Program Director managed a high-quality Program Management program and developed new initiatives to improve the Program.
- Current students and alumni felt the Program curriculum was rigorous and prepared them for a broad range of careers within the Project Management field. The students had equal praise for the online and in-person classes and felt they effectively helped them meet their academic goals.
- The Program continually introduce new programs and practices to respond to program stakeholders’ needs and the current industry best practices. The Program monitors its stakeholders’ needs in many ways: adjunct faculty currently working in various industries, regular feedback from alumni, involvement with local PMI chapters, and staying current on academic trends.
- The Program assesses continuous improvement through the end of semester course evaluation. It also brings in best practices and new knowledge by working with the community on various projects such as Project Management Symposium, Project Management Day of Service, MOOC Courses on edX, partnership with local chapters, and workshops on demand. With awareness of the industry, engagement with SME professionals, and community outreach, the Program provides students with relevant industry knowledge and integrated experience.
Posted by Kathy Frankle on September 1, 2022