Published on February 23, 2023 by Frank Ruggiero  
donna seibels web
Donna Seibels is director of the didactic program in dietetics, an assistant professor and clinical coordinator in the School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition and Dietetics.

When it comes to pass rates, Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics has an exceptionally clean bill of health.

This February, the School of Public Health-based department announced that its accredited undergraduate didactic program in dietetics (DPD) received the highest of marks—a 100% three-year average pass rate on the national level registered dietitian exam.

This means the department achieved three consecutive 100% pass rates from 2020-22, compared to the national annual average of 88.3%.

As department chair and professor Suresh Mathews explained, this rate applies to students who have completed the undergraduate program at Samford and proceeded to complete their master’s degree and internship—at Samford or elsewhere—before sitting for the national exam.

“It’s the didactic preparation and foundation they receive at the undergraduate level that sets everything else apart,” Mathews said. “It sets the tone and helps students perform well in their graduate program, so when they finally take the exam, they all succeed. That is quite a remarkable achievement.”

Mathews attributes this success to the quality of education students receive at Samford.

“The preparation we offer our students speaks volumes,” he said. “Our undergraduate program is top notch, rivaling the best in the country. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to our students who achieved this magnificent feat; Donna Seibels, our DPD program director who mentored each one of these students; our dedicated faculty members for their academic excellence; and our staff for their outstanding administrative and moral support.”

Housed in Samford’s School of Public Health, the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics offers undergraduate degrees in culinary and nutrition wellness management and nutrition and dietetics, a minor in nutrition, an online Master of Science in nutrition, a dietetic internship certificate program and a joint Doctor of Pharmacy/M.S. in nutrition.

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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.