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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

First in State to Receive National Accreditation

[Columbia, SC]  Those students across the nation seeking to earn an undergraduate degree in the environmental health field from an accredited program can now attend Benedict College, the first institution of higher learning in the State to receive national accreditation in environmental health.

Under the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC), Benedicts Environmental Health Science Program recently achieved full accreditation status after a unanimous vote by the council. An uncommon practice, the institution was accredited on its first attempt. Established in 1967, EHAC is responsible for professional accreditation of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Benedict, like other EHAC accredited institutions, had to meet rigorous standards set by the profession. To meet accreditation standards, educational programs are measured according to specific criteria, which include standards for curriculum, faculty, program funding, enrollment, and management. The criteria are reviewed and updated regularly to meet the demanding needs of the marketplace. Furthermore, EHAC recognizes and encourages diversity among programs.    

Benedict is the second Historically Black College and University among the 26 institutions in the nation of higher learning to receive accreditation in environmental health studies. Under the leadership of Milton A. Morris, Director for the Environmental Health Science Program, the institution worked diligently for the past six years to build an exemplary program that provides students with a quality education.

Through an organized team effort lead by Dean Stacey Franklin Jones and department chair Larry Lowe, EHS faculty, and numerous campus departments and offices engaged in a thorough self-study of the program and hosted a successful EHAC team site visit.

"The attainment of accreditation will make Benedict College students more marketable and assist in efforts to promote standards of excellence at Benedict," Professor Morris said. He added, "The entire Benedict College family can be proud of this historic accomplishment. From the Presidents Office and departments across the campus, the College pulled together to ensure that the Environmental Health Science Program is second to none."

Benedicts EHS faculty has a wealth of expertise and years of experience within environmental health science areas of study.  Faculty members average more than 25 years of combined environmental health science practicing and teaching experience. EHS faculty holds several advanced degrees and externally awarded professional credentials.

Upholding the institutions mission of serving the community, Benedicts EHS faculty members are using their expertise to educate communities about environmental injustice. Professor Morris, a nationally registered environmental health specialist (REHS), a diplomat with the American Academy of Sanitarians (DAAS), and a certified food safety professional (CFPS), said Benedicts EHS faculty is actively involved with helping communities to address environmental issues such as environmental racism.

An impressive component of the institutions environmental health program, Benedict sponsored the first statewide Environmental Justice Listening Conference last summer in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conference was chaired by EHS faculty member, Dr. May Linda Samuel, and served as a grassroots effort to unite community leaders across the State.

For more information, you may contact Milton Morris, Director, Environmental Health Sciences at 253-5415, Morrism@benedict.edu, the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Health Science at 253-5230 or the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at 253-5304, STEM@Benedict.Edu.