Ashland University's Program in Dietetics Receives Candidacy for Accreditation

7/16/10 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University's new degree program in dietetics has received the designation of "candidacy for accreditation" from the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association.

Ashland's Didactic Program in Dietetics, which is housed in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences, will begin accepting students for the fall and is designed for students who wish to become registered dietitians (R.D.) and practitioners in clinical, community, food industry and food-service areas of nutrition. Registered dietitians are employed by hospitals, community agencies and various government or private organizations.

"Ashland's new undergraduate degree program in dietetics will offer a very challenging curriculum and is a program designed for the more serious student," said Dr. David Vanata, RD, LD, associate professor of family and consumer sciences and director of the dietetics program at Ashland University. "There are only about 10 accredited programs in the state and we are one of only two private schools in Ohio offering this type of accredited program."

Vanata said the CADE accreditation certifies that the University is offering a top-notch program and means that graduates of Ashland's program will be eligible to apply for a CADE-accredited dietetic internship following graduation.

"These postgraduate internships are very competitive and will require an impressive GPA and work-related summer experiences, but once completed the student can sit for the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration," he said.

Vanata expects the new dietetics major to be a popular one on the Ashland University campus.

"It is a very good major because there are jobs in this field right now," Vanata said. "Students who graduate with a degree in dietetics and complete a supervised internship have the opportunity to pursue many different careers, including administrative dietitian, clinical dietitian, commodity specialist, consulting dietitian, corporate wellness manager, diet center manager, eating disorder program manager, educational dietitian, food services director, gerontological nutritionist, nutrition counselor, nutrition support dietitian, private practice dietitian, public health nutritionist, therapeutic dietitian and weight management specialist."

The dietetics curriculum was approved by Ashland University's curriculum committee in the spring of 2009, but the program needed to be accredited before it could be promoted to prospective students.

"A self study was assembled and submitted to CADE in November of 2009 and the commission's decision was based on the peer review of the self-study application, the site visit report and the response to the site visit report," Vanata said.

Vanata said the site visit identified a number of areas of strength displayed by Ashland University's Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Among those areas highlighted were that students receive much individual attention with small classroom sizes that provide more direct interaction with faculty, have the opportunity to conduct research projects as undergraduate students, study in an environment that provides a sound academically and scientifically based curriculum, and have the opportunity to attend professional conferences with other students and faculty.

Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.