Dietetics masters hits skids

Struggles to recruit suitable teaching staff have scuppered a University of Otago programme.

The department of human nutrition has suspended new enrolments in the master of dietetics (MDiet) after long-standing discussions with the Dietitians Board, due to accreditation challenges, a university spokesman confirmed.

"We are conducting a review of the programme to determine its future and are engaging with staff who are potentially affected," he said.

Current first-year and second-year students will not be affected, but a new intake of students will not be able to graduate with an accredited degree.

"We are engaging with student representatives to discuss ways that we can support affected students."

The programme has a capped intake of 18 students a year.

The main accreditation issues were around meeting the university’s requirement, in regard to the Education Act, to have academic programmes largely taught by research-active staff.

Another issue was the board’s requirement that academic staff leading the programme be registered dietitians.

"Recruiting suitable academic leadership has proven difficult and is virtually impossible in the current recruiting environment with the disruption to international travel."

If alternative postgraduate qualifications at Otago were not suitable, students could discuss continuing at Massey University or the University of Auckland, which both offer postgraduate dietetic training.

"We are committed to providing students with the best advice and crafting solutions.

"OUSA representatives, OUSA president Jack Manning and academic representative Emily Coyle have also been advised of the suspension of enrolments in the MDiet, and they are there to support students as well."

 

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