National accreditation has been awarded to the Online MS in Kinesiology-Coaching at Southern Arkansas University, signaling “top quality in an online setting,” said Steve Dingman, chair of the Health, Kinesiology and Recreation (HKR) Department.
“We are very excited to receive the news that our online program has been nationally accredited,” Dingman said. “With this accomplishment, we become one of only three online Master’s programs in Coaching Education to be accredited nationally under the United States Center for Coaching Excellence’s (USCCE) National Committee for Accreditation of Coaching Excellence (NCACE).”
“I am very proud of Coach Dingman and the entire Kinesiology department,” said Dr. Kim Bloss, professor of counselor education and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “This accreditation by the NCACE is a result of hard work and dedication to excellence that set SAU apart. We are excited to see how the program will develop and grow from here.”
“We are very proud that SAU’s coaching program has achieved this level of distinction,” said Dr. David Lanoue, vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Steve Dingman and his colleagues worked long and hard to make this happen, and their success has really put Southern Arkansas University on the map as a center of excellence in coaching education.”
Dingman said he and his department chose to pursue the accreditation as a means of validating the quality of the online program and saying to potential students that it is the right choice for professional development.
“We wanted to demonstrate that our program meets and exceeds the national standards and ensures that our students are receiving a top-rated education,” he said. “We are proud that we are able to offer our students a top-quality online program that allows them to seek professional development while also working as a professional in the field. This option will greatly expand their horizons.”
SAU has demonstrated that is it a leader in quality coaching education. This program will serve as a benchmark for other coaching education providers.
Dingman said that, “with the increased popularity in online Coaching Education programs across the country, it is important that students research the best program for them. By earning this accreditation, we have been recognized as one of the elite programs in the United States. Our current and future students are assured a quality education that is recognized by the professional accrediting bodies. Those bodies have listed numerous strengths of our program including design, consistency, caring and knowledgeable faculty who engage and interact with students, mentorship, small class size and student-driven work that can immediately benefit their careers.”
USSCE Accreditation Chair, Dr. Lori Gano-Overway, stated, “SAU has demonstrated that is it a leader in quality coaching education. This program will serve as a benchmark for other coaching education providers.” The USSCE is the premier authority on coaching education in the United States. The NCACE offers accreditation and national recognition to sports organizations and institutions responsible for the preparation of coaches at any and all levels of sport. The rigorous review process ensures that coaches are trained to meet the unique developmental needs of every athlete. The USSCE is positioned to provide the highest quality, empirically-based guidance for the creation, implementation and evaluation of coaching education programs.
Evaluators on the four-person accreditation team praised various facets of the program in their review, Dingman said. “Faculty uses a wide variety of techniques, and it is recognized that as an online degree, this is more challenging than face-to-face,” wrote one evaluator. “The program continually evaluates its content and effectiveness in meeting appropriate goals and objectives relative to coaching education and development of well-qualified coaches,” commended another.
Dingman said the HKR department worked for one year to attain the accreditation. “This was not mandatory, but with the accreditation, we set ourselves on an elite level,” he said. “We want to be able to attract more students and to serve them well.”
He said the online master’s program started in 2010 with fewer than 15 students. There are 43 students enrolled this semester.