Posted by William Nunnelley on 2007-05-03

Samford University's Fitness and Health Promotion program has earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The program, part of the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine curriculum, is only the eighth in the nation to achieve the distinction.

CAAHEP was founded in 1994 as an accrediting body for allied health programs, but the accreditation process for college and university programs in the area of exercise science is relatively new, having begun only in 2005.

"This is outstanding news and is a testament to the work that our department does to provide exceptional undergraduate preparation in exercise science," said department chair Chuck D. Sands IV.

The initial accreditation was awarded through Jan.31, 2011. Dr. Sands cited faculty members Patrice Donnelly and Alan Jung as "the primary force" behind the accreditation process.

The Fitness and Health Promotion major–one of six majors in the ESSM department–prepares students for employment in corporate wellness programs, fitness centers, YMCAs, cardiac rehabilitation and recreational facilities. The program coursework and practicums are designed to prepare students for ACSM certification exams for Health Fitness Instructor (HFI) or Exercise Test Technologist (ETT).

The ESSM department also offers majors in Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Physical Education, Sports Medicine and Nutrition and Dietetics. The department, part of the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies, has more than 200 student majors, including more than 35 in Fitness and Health Promotion. Its graduates are highly sought by graduate and professional schools as well as employers and frequently are already employed at the time they graduate.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.