Ask ACEND to Issue DPD Verifications to Nutritional Science Undergrads at CSULA

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We have written this petition to ask the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for the reversal of a decision to discontinue the issuance of Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statements for students who complete a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science from the California State University of Los Angeles (CSULA).

We feel the program at CSULA has misrepresented itself, and we are requesting for the matter to be investigated. This request is made on the basis that:

1. No students received an official notice (for example, a formal letter) informing them of the loss of DPD status for the undergraduate program and its implications. Students who enrolled in 2015 for the 2016 school year were also not made aware of these changes. While there were some notices in the halls during 2016, students admitted in 2017 were also not informed of the change in status.

2. No information was ever provided to undergraduate students of the limitations that come with a lack of DPD verification statements.

3. Students entering the Nutritional Science program did not have access to a current DPD handbook informing them that the DPD was removed from the undergraduate program.

4. CSULA websites and informational materials were not updated on the status of DPD verification, other than a note at the top of the current website. There is a note that the DPD student handbook has been under revision, and this note has been posted for two years. The available DPD handbook that is available through Google is outdated and continues to contain incorrect information (that students can enter an accredited undergraduate program and obtain a DPD verification statement).

5. Students unknowingly enrolling in the non-accredited CSULA program had no awareness of how the lack of a DPD verification statement would result in a severe reduction in employment opportunities. For example: graduating students without DPD verification statements can no longer be hired as a Nutrition Degreed Non-RD at WIC, which is a common route for NTRS undergrads. The pay difference between nutrition degreed and non-degreed is more than $6/hour. Once hired at WIC, students with a verification statement could also apply for an internship through WIC. This is no longer possible.

6. Students are no longer eligible to become a Registered Dietetic Technician, which also results in a severe reduction in employment opportunities and pay.

7. Students are not able to apply for MS/DI programs that require verification statements, which all do, thereby limiting future educational possibilities. Without a verification statement, students who pursue an MS in Nutritional Science at other universities (i.e. not CSULA) will be required to complete additional DPD coursework to obtain a verification statement from that university. These are additional courses (that cost students more money and time) that would not be necessary to take if they were to have a verification statement from CSULA. For students who go on to complete their MS in Nutritional Science at CSULA, undergraduate DPD coursework will then be acknowledged, no additional DPD classes are required, and a verification statement will be issued at the end of the program.

8. Many students who did meet the extended deadline of Fall 2016 to complete the three courses (CHEM 3000, NTRS 2100, and NTRS 3170) are still being denied verification statements because of vaguely defined loopholes.

9. The undergraduate curriculum was not modified and remains the same. Students continue to take DPD courses, the same that would permit a verification statement to be earned only a year ago, and are now not being granted verification statements.

10. Students and faculty were told that ACEND required all undergraduate programs to remove their DPD programs. According to ACEND documents, this is untrue.

11. The faculty administration, when approached about the change and the failure to communicate it to students, has been unwilling to reach out to ACEND to rectify the problem. They have also failed to issue verification statements completed in the teach-out period.

For the above reasons, we feel that Nutritional Science students at CSULA have a right to DPD verification statements upon completion of their Bachelor of Science degrees. We also wish that those in charge of removing the undergraduate DPD program be held accountable for making this decision, and for the lack of information and support provided to the students.

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