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Technical Standards

A sign on the D'Youville campus

D'Youville's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to the education of all students while ensuring all graduates meet certain minimum academic and technical standards.

Introduction

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Public Law 101-336) was established to empower qualified persons with disabilities to seek employment opportunities, transportation, and access to programs and services without fear of discrimination. These laws provide a framework for qualified individuals with documented disabilities to request reasonable accommodation needed to participate in an educational program.

The Nutrition and Dietetics Department at D'Youville is prepared to make reasonable accommodations in order to allow students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate and succeed in the academic program. An accommodation must be reasonable and may not be provided if it fundamentally alters the nature of the curriculum including the didactic component, laboratory sessions, or supervised practice experiences, requires substantial program modification or lowering of academic standards, causes undue hardship for the College or affiliating agencies, or jeopardizes the health or safety of the student or others.

If the student feels he or she meets the requirements of the ADA and will require ADA accommodation, the disability must be supported by medical documentation prior to receiving accommodation. To grant accommodation, it is the student's responsibility to make the department aware by notifying the Nutrition and Dietetics Department chair and the student must contact the Accessibility Resources office at D'Youville and complete the process required. The Accessibility Resources office will then contact the Nutrition and Dietetics Department and reasonable accommodations will be made based on the recommendations of the disability office.

No otherwise qualified person shall be excluded from participation, admission, matriculation, or denied benefits solely by reason of his or her disability. The Nutrition and Dietetics Department will not discriminate against qualified individuals but will expect applicants and students to meet certain minimum academic and technical standards.

Technical Standards

The nutrition and dietetics program at D'Youville is a rigorous program that places specific requirements and demands on enrolled students. An objective of this program is to prepare graduates to enter a variety of employment settings and to render care to a wide spectrum of individuals.

The technical standards set forth by the Nutrition and Dietetics Department identify the attributes needed to establish the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to meet the standards of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) in order to achieve the Core Knowledge (KRD) and Competencies (CRD) for the Registered Dietitian and fulfill the Nutrition and Dietetics Department mission. The mission of the Nutrition and Dietetics Department Coordinated Program at D'Youville is as follows:

Recognizing the role of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) as the nutrition expert and the key role that nutrition plays in health and well-being, the Coordinated Program strives to serve the community by providing students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to meet the challenges of the diverse and changing field of nutrition and dietetics. Our intent is to prepare Registered Dietitian Nutritionists who will be leaders in their field, who will fulfill prominent and varied professional roles.

The Coordinated Program supports the principles of academic excellence, service to others, and lifelong learning by fostering the student’s professional and personal growth within a broad range of educational and practical experiences.

Full participation in the academic and supervised practice environments requires that students, with or without reasonable accommodation, possess abilities, attributes, and skills in five major areas: (1) Sensory/Observation; (2) Communication; (3) Motor/Strength/Coordination; (4) Conceptual/Integrative/Quantitative; and (5) Behavioral/Social. Details regarding these essential abilities are found in the following paragraphs; they are not intended to be all inclusive.

Sensory/Observation

Candidates and students must:

  1. have sufficient vision and somatic sensation to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic sciences,
  2. be able to participate in sensory evaluation of the taste, texture, and aroma of various food and beverage products,
  3. have sufficient vision to observe physical changes such as in skin and eye color or changes in other areas of the body,
  4. have functional visual ability with correction, if needed, sufficient to read printed material in both hard copy and electronic formats,
  5. have functional auditory acuity with correction, if needed, sufficient to comprehend one or more persons engaged in conversational speech, and to hear timers and alarms,
  6. be able to utilize all assessment parameters in order to assess the nutritional status of the clients and implement a nutritional care plan to achieve optimal nutritional status (i.e., obtaining the client's history, performing physical assessments, anthropometric measurements and analysis of laboratory data).

Communication

Candidates and students must:

  1. be able to communicate effectively and sensitively, orally and in writing, with peers, faculty, staff, community partners, the general public, and patients/clients, including individuals of different ages and from different cultural and social backgrounds,
  2. be able to understand, read, speak, and write the English language at a level consistent with competent professional practice, using appropriate grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.

Motor/Strength/Coordination

Candidates and students must:

  1. have sufficient dexterity and motor function to: (a) elicit information from clients by palpation, auscultation, percussion; (b) perform diagnostic procedures including, but not limited to obtaining the client's history, performing physical assessments, anthropometric measurements and analysis of laboratory data; and (c) perform food service duties related to food preparation, using kitchen tools to manipulate ingredients, and taking food temperatures,
  2. have sufficient physical strength and endurance to carry equipment and supplies, lift and transfer institutional pots and pans containing food and other items up to 25 pounds, walk, bend, and stoop while carrying items, and sit and stand for long periods of time.
  3. have the ability to safely access and use institutional equipment, including ranges, ovens, steamers, mixers, slicers, dish machine, and sinks,
  4. have the capability to physically maneuver in required settings in a safe manner,
  5. have the ability to access transportation to attend classes and supervised practice experiences in a timely manner.

Conceptual/Integrative/Quantitative

Candidates and students must:

  1. have sufficient conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities; these abilities include but are not limited to measurement, calculations, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis; additionally, a student must be able to understand the spatial relationships of nutritional status, nutrient intake, and any special conditions,
  2. have the ability to critically think, solve problems, and deal effectively with a variety of concrete and abstract variables in situations where limited standardization exists within reasonable time frames,
  3. have the ability to analyze, conceptualize, and summarize complex relationships as ascertained from patient records, research studies, and other written reports and be able to communicate that information effectively,
  4. have the ability to learn and work effectively in both independent and collaborative situations,
  5. have the ability to multitask or execute multiple tasks simultaneously. 

Behavioral/Social

Candidates and students must:

  1. possess the emotional health required for utilization of his/her intellectual abilities,
  2. be able to exercise good judgment in the prompt completion of all academic and supervised practice responsibilities,
  3. have affective skills and appropriate demeanor and rapport that relate to professional education and quality patient/client care and customer relations,
  4. be able to develop mature, sensitive, ethical, and effective relationships,
  5. have the capacity (maturity, emotional stability) to adapt to change, maintain composure, and display flexibility in the face of uncertainties and stressful situations,
  6. portray attributes of professionalism that include but are not limited to honesty, caring, respect, trustworthiness, competence, and responsibility to and for their instructors, colleagues, and patients/clients/customers.

Conclusion

The D'Youville Nutrition and Dietetics Department and its sponsoring institutions will provide reasonable accommodations as needed to open the program to competitive, qualified individuals with disabilities. In doing so, however, the program and sponsoring institutions must maintain the integrity of the curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to the education of a dietitian/dietitian nutritionist (which include the technical standards set forth above).

The program and sponsoring institutions cannot compromise the health and safety of patients/clients/customers or students. It is inevitable that adherence to minimum requirements will disqualify some applicants and students, including some who have a disability. However, adherence to those requirements is necessary, as an applicant or student who is unable to meet the minimum academic and technical standards is not qualified for participation in the program or the practice of the profession.