Union Earns Important National Accreditation for Two Programs

B.S. in Social Work and new M.A. in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics pass a rigorous process.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Nelson Soto announced this week the successful accreditation of two Union programs that conducted rigorous, yearlong self-studies and site visits.

Union’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work, under the leadership of Dr. JoNataye Prather, earned an eight-year accreditation

from the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). In addition, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) granted approval for Union’s new offering, the Master of Arts in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics, conceived and chaired by Dr. Lisa Akers.

Dr. Prather

Dr. Prather

CSWE accreditation process validates social work programs to determine they are designed with high quality to ensure students are prepared for social work practice to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities upon graduation. Chair of the Social Work Program, Dr. Prather, notes, “Union’s CSWE accreditation serves as an endorsement to verify our program equips learners with the knowledge and practice experiences to prepare them for a career in social work and to seek licensure.


Dr. Akers

Dr. Akers

ACEND requires that programs in dietetics and nutrition sciences meet requirements of quality assurance, organizational structure, financial stability, sufficient resources, the awarding of degrees and verification statements, program length, and program management. As Dr. Akers reported, “Accreditation by ACEND ensures that the knowledge and competencies taught in the program are ethically bound and evidence-based.  For our students, graduating from an ACEND accredited program opens job opportunities as employers value the competency-based education incorporated in the program that signifies job readiness.”  

Accreditation by national agencies is a critical component of Union’s efforts to provide relevant and rigorous programs for our students. The ‘stamp of approval’ by these agencies ensures that our students will graduate with the knowledge and credentials they need to succeed in their careers. 


Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW)

Union’s B.S. in Social Work program provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills to equip them to be generalist social work practitioners who are culturally competent and serve as advocates for diverse, vulnerable and marginalized populations. The program transforms learners into social work professionals that emphasize a commitment to service, social justice, dignity, and worth of individuals. In these ways, the program, as evaluated by CSWE, reflects Union’s core value of social justice by preparing students who emulate these values through practice behaviors, including integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry.

Union’s BSSW major prepares students through the application of course content with real-world social work practice. The program’s design is accelerated and tailored to support adult learners’ busy schedules through online delivery. Small class size promotes a positive professional rapport among faculty and students. The BSSW program’s goals include:

  • Personal and professional empowerment leading to a lifetime of leadership and service in the social work profession
  • Professional generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and institutions
  • Critical thinking, cultural competence standards, and a respect for human diversity to advocate for human and community well-being
  • Advancement in the areas of graduate education, social work licensure, and related certification for specialized practice.

One of the most exciting aspects of Union’s BSSW program is the field practicum experience. The field practicum bridges the gap between classroom and practice. Students work closely with a social work agency supervisor to gain hands-on learning to become a competent generalist social work practitioner. 

Master of Arts with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics Program (MAAND)

Union’s new Master of Arts program with a major in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics provides students with course work and experiential learning experiences in Clinical Nutrition, Food Service Management, Community Nutrition, and Leadership. The program blends a high-level graduate degree and experiential learning to offer the student the opportunity to study and develop exceptional skills to provide nutrition care to a variety of populations.

The innovative, entry-level graduate program utilizes competency-based education to integrate online coursework with supervised experiential learning. Students will acquire the skills to examine underlying assumptions, explore issues from multiple perspectives, and develop new ways of thinking critically, and prepare them to be future leaders in nutrition and dietetics. The curriculum prepares students to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing examination to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). 

Under the leadership of Program Chair Dr. Lisa Akers, Union applied and was accepted as an ACEND 

Future Education Model (FEM) Graduate Program in November of 2018. As a grantee of the program, Union staff received extensive training on Competency-Based Education (CBE) and the new ACEND FEM standards. The program has been designated as a Future Education Model (FEM) Graduate Demonstration Program.

Research shows that there is only one Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) for every 3,610 individuals in the U.S., indicating the need to increase the workforce for patient safety and satisfaction. Employers see potential value in job applicants who will study using CBE since it aligns academics with the skills they seek in their employees. 

For more information on these programs: 



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