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  • Huntingdon MAT Program Achieves CAATE Accreditation

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    April 11, 2023

    L-R, Huntingdon’s first MAT cohort will graduate in May 2023. Pictured are cohort students and faculty, from left, Dr. Derick Bothwell ’15, coordinator of clinical education; David “Tripp” Jones ’20; Elexis Arnold ’16; Kimberly Baker ’20; Caroline Dent; Courtney “Coco” Burgess ’21; and Dr. Jennifer Ballard, MAT program director.

    Montgomery, Ala.—The Huntingdon College Master of Athletic Training program has earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The College received word via a letter from CAATE president Eric L. Sauers yesterday.

    CAATE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the public and the profession by establishing and ensuring compliance with accreditation standards that facilitate quality outcomes, continuous improvement, innovation, and diversity to enhance athletic training education. The organization sets professional educational standards for athletic training and provides educators, clinicians, and program administrators with resources for maintaining accreditation compliance and program excellence. CAATE is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

    Huntingdon’s Master of Athletic Training program was announced in 2020—the first graduate program in the history of the College—and welcomed its first cohort of students in summer 2021. The intensive six-semester program will graduate the initial cohort in May 2023.  

    “I am thrilled that the Master of Athletic Training program at Huntingdon has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE),” said Dr. Maureen Kendrick Murphy, Huntingdon Class of 1978, who serves as dean of Huntingdon’s W. James Samford Jr. School of Graduate and Professional Studies. “The MAT faculty have worked tirelessly for the past two years to create a program that has been recognized nationally as excellent. Anytime a Huntingdon graduate can say, 'My program is nationally accredited,' it adds value to the degree.”  

    Dr. Jennifer Ballard, MAT program director, worked with a team of Certified Athletic Trainers, licensed physical therapists, sports medicine physicians, and education professionals to develop the program and to achieve accreditation. The process began with the entrance of the first cohort of students in June 2021 and progressed through approval of a substantive accreditation change to allow awarding master’s degrees from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which was conferred in spring 2022 after a SACSCOC site visit in fall 2021. The planning team created 26 courses to fulfill MAT students’ plans of study and submitted a program self-study to CAATE in July 2022 addressing 94 standards of compliance, with some of the standards requiring 40 to 50 components. CAATE then assigned a peer review team who met with the planning team during fall 2022 in preparation for a CAATE site visit in February 2023. The CAATE site visit team found no citations (recommendations for improvement) and submitted their report to CAATE, who approved the program for full accreditation yesterday.

    “The process was exhaustive and very thorough,” said Dr. Ballard. “In all, about 750 to 800 documents were prepared and submitted, and the result means everything for the students and for the program. Accreditation ensures that the program is first-rate; that students are well-prepared for dealing with injuries and emergencies; that graduates are eligible and are prepared to take the Board of Certification exam for athletic trainers; that we are providing a program that meets or exceeds current standards; and that recruits and students can be confident about the quality of education and training they are receiving.”
    Athletic trainers work with physicians in a sports or active population environment. As part of the health care team, services provided by athletic trainers include injury and illness prevention, wellness promotion and education, emergent care, examination and clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.

    “CAATE accreditation sets the program apart from others by assuring compliance with accreditation standards that facilitate quality outcomes, continuous improvement, innovation, and diversity to enhance athletic training education,” said Dr. Murphy. “I look forward to our Huntingdon Class of 2023 MAT graduates applying wisdom in service in their careers."

    “Congratulations to the MAT planning team and to all who worked toward achieving this goal,” said Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. “We have anticipated this day for several years, and I couldn’t be more pleased for the program and for the College. Our first-ever graduate program has become our first-ever nationally accredited graduate program.”

    Huntingdon will welcome the second cohort of MAT students in May 2023. Although the application window has officially closed on the ATCAS website, Dr. Ballard can work with students who may be interested in joining the second cohort and who apply for admission directly to the program.
    The next CAATE evaluation will occur in the 2027–2028 academic year.

    Huntingdon College, founded in 1854, is a coeducational residential liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church offering more than thirty undergraduate programs of study as well as the Master of Athletic Training program. MAT students benefit from hands-on experience in on-site internships during five of the six semesters of study, including serving with Huntingdon’s 21 NCAA-Division III athletic teams
    For more information, visit www.huntingdon.edu/mat.

    Huntingdon College, in accordance with Title IX and Section 106.8 of the 2020 Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, other applicable federal and state law, and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.  Similarly, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin in its education program or activity, including admission and employment. For more information, see www.huntingdon.edu/misconduct.
    Su Ofe, Assistant VP Communications & Marketing
    ofe@huntingdon.edu, (334) 833-4523
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