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Didactic Program in Dietetics granted continuing accreditation by ACEND

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KINGSVILLE (March 11, 2022) — The Didactic Program in Dietetics at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has been re-accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Housed under the department of biological and health sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, the dietetic program is the only accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics south of San Antonio. This new reaccreditation lasts for seven years, taking the program to 2028.


“The Accreditation Council for Education for Nutrition and Dietetics is an autonomous accrediting agency for education program preparing students to begin careers as registered dieticians or dietetic technicians,” said Shannon Aguilar, MS, RD, LD, assistant professor of practice and director of the dietetic program.


“Accreditation includes self-analysis, preparation of a self-study report and an on-site visit by a team of professional peers,” she added. “Dietetic educators and practitioners, appointed by the ACEND board, participate in the peer review process to determine if a program is achieving its own educational objectives and meeting the accreditation standards.


“The ACEND board accredits programs that are able to meet these standards. The site visit and self-study report takes numerous hours and careful coordination among various administrators, stakeholders and students,” Aguilar said.


She said the accreditation standards state the organizational requirements and resources the program must have to provide quality education and the expectations for knowledge and competencies students must have attained upon graduation. “There are 10 separate standards that defines broad-based foundation knowledge and competencies essential to dietetic practice at the respective level.”


“The didactic program is an accredited program for undergraduate nutrition majors,” Aguilar said. “Students who want to become Registered Dietician Nutritionists (RDN) need to earn their bachelor’s degree from an accredited program in order obtain a verification statement to apply to dietetic internships and sit for the RDN exam.”


“Students can obtain a bachelor of science degree in human nutrition and not become an RDN. Being accredited is the gold standard and can increase enrollment of our program and department,” Aguilar said. “It is similar to Joint Commission in hospitals or SACS accreditation in higher education.”



Category: General Univ , Arts/Sciences

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