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Tech Offering New Master Of Science Degree In Rural Community Health

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Tennessee Tech will offer a new master of science degree program in Community Health and Nutrition, one of the first programs in the nation.

The new program will provide advanced academics in rural community health for credentialed nutrition and dietitian professionals and undergraduate dietetic students in need of a registered dietitian nutrition certification combined with a graduate degree.  Provost and Academic Affairs Vice President Lori Mann Bruce said this program will be offered online.

“Students might come from many backgrounds to come into this graduate program,” Bruce said. “It will provide a pathway for undergraduates from a variety of disciplines, and sometimes even disciplines we don’t have at Tennessee Tech. It’s a good opportunity to recruit graduate students who didn’t necessarily do their undergraduates at Tennessee Tech.”

Bruce said Nutrition, Public Health, Health Sciences, Nursing, Psychology, and Human Development are undergraduate programs that will complement the new masters program. She said because this is the first graduate program for the School of Human Ecology, there will not be any enrollment competition for potential students.

Dr. Melinda Anderson and Dr. Samantha Hudson spearheaded the program proposal. Bruce said the department submitted the proposal in 2019, and Tech was one of the few selected.

Bruce said masters degree programs will become more common as time goes on.

“In recent years, the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics, which is the professional organization over RDN’s, they made the decision to require a masters degree to sit for the RDN National Credential Exam,” Bruce said. “Previously that was not required, so as a result in the coming years there will be a significant increase in demand for masters programs in this discipline.”

The Accreditation Council for Education and Nutrition Dietetics released a new set of standards through Future Education Models. Bruce said FEM released a new set of accreditation standards for which programs must adhere to.

The Board of Trustees voted to submit the program proposal to the full board Tuesday.


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