Wilmington College is voluntarily withdrawing the accreditation of its Master of Science in Athletic Training program, which formally started classes a year ago.
A perfect storm of challenging factors involving the new program — including low enrollment and lack of a program director — led WC’s Board of Trustees to approve the action at its Oct. 7-8 fall meetings. Withdrawing accreditation simply means the college is not admitting new students to the program. Also, it provides latitude for the program to restart should conditions warrant in the future.
The nine students in the cohorts that started in fall 2021 and fall 2022 will still be able to earn their Master of Science in Athletic Training degrees from WC’s accredited program in May 2023 and May 2024, respectively. The graduate program will formally close in May 2024.
The college will continue to offer pre-athletic training as an undergraduate concentration in the exercise science major to the students enrolled in the program, as well as to future students.
President Trevor Bates said it was a “difficult but prudent” decision to close a program whose roots have run deep at the college over the past several decades. “We were faced with untenable challenges that we would have been unable to overcome without an unrealistic investment of resources that, even then, wouldn’t guarantee the program’s success,” he said. “Sadly, Wilmington College’s graduate program in athletic training is going the way of so many other schools.”
The Commission on Accreditation for Athletic Training Education (CAATE), which is the accrediting body for AT, mandated that schools transition from the traditional undergraduate athletic training program to a master’s degree-level program no later than this fall. Indeed, candidates are no longer eligible to take the Board of Certification examination during the final term of their undergraduate program and must earn a graduate degree. A number of colleges and universities across the nation that previously offered the bachelor’s degree in AT chose not to pursue hosting a graduate program due to challenges associated with maintaining graduate program requirements.
“I understand the shock and disappointment the students, faculty, staff and alumni who hold this program dear to their hearts are experiencing,” Bates added.
This story was submitted by Randy Sarvis, senior director of public relations, Wilmington College.