At Tennessee State University, the foods and nutrition programs prepare students for careers as nutrition educators and credentialed dietitians who will provide leadership in the delivery of foodservice management and nutrition services for the people of Tennessee and around the globe. With a strong emphasis in community service, our students excel in providing services to the limited resource individual and family. Graduates may develop community programs to promote nutrition and good health; appear on television to educate people about the relationship between diet and health; conduct research on the psychological, cultural, social, economic and environmental issues related to nutrition and health; or work with special groups who are at risk for nutrition-related or health problems, such as pregnant women, infants and the elderly.
Many opportunities are provided for students to gain experience in their profession before graduation. These experiences enable students to learn about cultures, and take on leadership roles before they enter the workforce. All of these experiences enhance learning and may provide an advantage in the job market.
Nutrition as a Profession
Nutrition professionals translate the science of food and nutrition in order to enhance the well being of individuals and groups. Many of them work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and extended care facilities. They may also be found working in community health settings such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs; food stamp programs; or feeding programs for the elderly. Because so many people eat meals away from home, nutrition professionals and dietitians may also manage non-commercial and commercial foodservice operations where they apply nutrition knowledge and managerial skills in the delivery of meals to children and adults. Career opportunities also exist in diverse areas such as journalism; sports medicine; wellness programs for business and industry; and sales for food, foodservice equipment, or pharmaceutical companies. Nutritionists and dietitians work for food companies in research and development, as public information specialists for food commodity groups or as consultants in private practice serving rural hospitals and nursing homes.
A printable brochure that explains our program is available here.
Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
The DPD at TSU provides the necessary coursework to meet the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Prospective students must meet admission requirements and must apply for admission to this program. Upon admission, all students are required to complete the coursework outlined on the curriculum map. When the majority of the coursework has been completed, and the student has maintained a minimum of a 2.75 GPA, the student is eligible to apply for a post-baccalaureate supervised practice experience, i.e. a dietetic internship or ISPP.
Before entering an internship, students must receive a Verification Statement Form from the DPD Director. Criteria to receive the form include:
- Completion of all required courses
- Minimum 2.75 GPA
- Passage (75% or greater)of the comprehensive DPD examination
When the internship is successfully completed, the graduate is then qualified to sit for the National Registration Examination for Dietitians of the Commission on Dietetic Registration. They would then be able to use the designation RD after their name.
Beginning Spring 2015, a comprehensive exam covering the knowledge requirements for students entering into a supervised practice program for dietetics will be administered as part of the requirements for passing the course NUFS 4530 Medical Nutrition Therapy. If a student does not pass the comprehensive exam they will not be able to pass NUFS 4530. Thus, they will not be able to receive verification that they have completed the requirements for entry into a post-baccalaureate supervised practice experience, i.e. internship or ISPP. However, they will be able to receive a diploma from Tennessee State University with a concentration in Foods and Nutrition if they have enough credit hours at the appropriate course levels from the other coursework they have completed.
Mission of the Dietetics (DPD) Program
The mission of the TSU Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is to support the missions of the University, College, and Department by providing a progressive and effective academic curriculum that prepares students to be scientifically competent, accountable, and ethically responsible food, health, and nutrition professionals prepared for supervised practice, a health or science related profession and/or graduate school, and advancing as self-educating dietetics professionals who will become Registered Dietitians.
Goals and Objectives of the Didactic Program in Dietetics
Goal 1: To prepare competent graduates that have the foundation, knowledge and skill requirements needed to enter and successfully complete a dietetics internship program, and pass the exam to become a Registered Dietitian.
Goal 1 Objectives:
Over a five year period, a minimum of 60% of students who complete the ACEND requirements will apply for an ACEND approved internship or ISPP within 12 months of graduation. Over a five year period, a minimum of 50% of those who apply for an ACEND approved internship or ISPP are accepted into such within 12 months of graduation. Over a five year period maintain a minimum 80% first-time passage rate for graduates taking the registration exam, and a minimum 80% one year passage rate over a five year period for those who do not pass the exam on the first attempt.
Goal 2: To increase the number of students who pursue the DPD, remain in the Program, and complete it within the recommended time frame.
Goal 2 Objectives:
Increase enrollment in the DPD by 25% each year.Students will be satisfied with program services, as indicated by a minimum of 80% of students marking "satisfactory" or higher on questions related to program content and advisement. Eighty percent of students will complete the program requirements within three years of being accepted into the program.
Goal 3: To prepare graduates to be competent employees in dietetics and related professions e.g., food service management, community agencies, health care organizations and business.
Goal 3 Objectives:
Over a 5 year period an average of 75% of students will find dietetics-related employment within 12 months of completion of the DPD, internship, or supervised practice program (ISPP). Over a five year period, 80% of employers will rate graduates as competent for the position they are holding.
Goal 4: To prepare students to be critical thinkers who are knowledgeable about the research process and outcome evaluation.
Goal 4 Objective:
Over a 5 year period an average of 80% of program faculty will have research/extension/teaching funding from external funding agencies. At least five DPD students will participate in funded research projects each year. At least two DPD students will present a paper at a scientific conference each year.
Program assessment data are available upon request.
The Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-4876, www.eatright.org/ACEND. Currently the program at TSU is on probationary status (see attachment).
For more information contact Dr. Sandria Godwin.
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