What are faculty members saying about NASAC accreditation?

“Being a faculty member in an accredited program means recognition and endorsement of the tenets and standards set forth in the development of our curriculum and opportunities for student development. These tenets and standards prepare our students for the workforce, and employers can trust the quality of the education of applicants and hires in their organizations. Accreditation also provides for faculty to be recognized as specialists in their profession on a state and national level.” – Mary Merrigan, Assistant Professor, Addiction Studies, University of South Dakota

“There are several advantages to having Ottawa University’s Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling accredited by National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). First and foremost is that it ensures the quality of the curriculum. Ottawa students take coursework that meets all national standards for the profession. Students also receive the most current information regarding theory, research and practice as the curriculum must be regularly updated to be in line with the national standards. The second advantage is that NASAC accreditation is recognized by state licensing boards. Graduates who apply for professional licenses do not have do go through the extra step of a curriculum review by the licensing board. This streamlines the process for applicants and reduces staff time at the licensing board. Lastly, and perhaps most important is that NASAC accreditation protects the public. Persons receiving treatment for addictions can be assured that professionals who graduated from a NASAC accredited program are among the best trained in the profession. They have the education needed to provide the highest standard of care.” – Jeffery Thomas, PhD, Ottawa University Assistant Professor Counseling Programs and Field Placement Coordinator

“To me the importance [of accreditation] is upholding that high level of professionalism of a program. Unfortunately, there are too many programs that come and go and leave students either lacking the needed education or not allowing them to fulfill their degree.  I think as a profession we come from such diverse backgrounds and we must ensure that there are specific standards to ensure all professionals meet a standard level of education.” – Erin Nielsen, Instructor, Addiction Studies, University of South Dakota

“I am proud to be a Subject Matter Expert and an adjunct of Ottawa [University]’s Addiction Counseling program.  I believe it is a quality program with high expectations but realistic goals, encouraging students to strive to be their best in both acquisition of knowledge and actual practice.  I have met some amazing students who are dedicated the profession of addictions.” – Margaret Smith, EdD, President of INCASE and Ottawa University Adjunct Faculty

“The coursework at Ottawa University is developed and delivered by leading addiction counseling practitioners who are practicing and researching the field. Through their course design and instruction, the faculty demonstrates instructional rigor, noted accountability and practical application of the materials and content. The faculty contributes to commission appointments, participates in examinations for certification of programs, voices and collaborates in national policy creation, grant writes, and consultants for the profession. These awarded faculty are student center in their content delivery. The addiction counseling profession is well recognized by this established, diverse faculty. Coursework is monitored, is up to date and meets the certification requirements through the oversight of the faculty.” – Amy Hogan, PhD, Ottawa University Arizona Dean of Instruction

What are students saying about NASAC accreditation?

“If [the Addiction Studies program at University of South Dakota] was not accredited, I would have looked for a different program.” – Derrek Granum, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“Employers know the standards you have met; [NASAC accreditation] hits the standards that are needed for addiction and can translate from state to state. Accreditation shows commitment to a quality education.” – Craig Stanton, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“Accreditation means a better experiences, more real world exposure to what you will encounter working out there in the profession.” – Daniele Knight, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“You can be confident you have the best education for working with addictions.” – Kelsey Hennig, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“Standards mean cutting edge, and that the program is evolving with the profession.” – Stephanie Ros, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“Accreditation demonstrates competency levels, and the client knows their counselor has met national standards.” – Michael Richter, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

“Personally I wouldn’t go to any other university for Addiction Counseling. Ottawa University has been instrumental and continues to be a major asset to me in my endeavors to help others make a difference in their lives. I am a true example of how well the program works and my grades reflect how outstanding the facilitators of the program are. I couldn’t imagine receiving these types of grades without the quality of values and understanding that Ottawa has given to me.” – Lee Ann Weiler, Ottawa University student

“Accreditation help you to get into an advanced track in your graduate program.  You also know the faculty have met a standard.” – Jessica Chalcraft, student in the Addiction Studies Program at the University of South Dakota

What are school administrators saying about NASAC accreditation?

“When redesigning the substance abuse program our intent was to develop a training program that meet national standards. To meet this goal it made the most sense to seek NASAC accreditation. NASAC national standards help facilitate our professional identity as addiction professionals. Of great benefit to our graduates is a more streamlined licensure process.” – Trish Hernandez PsyD, LISAC, MAC, and Ottawa University Director of Graduate Program in Counseling

“[The NASAC accreditation standards] promote a high quality curricula with ongoing quality assurance for continued improvements that align with national standards and competencies. Alignment with these accreditation and national standards also promotes articulation agreements with other higher education institutions in the transferability and portability of matriculated certificates and degrees. The NASAC accreditation standards provide additional opportunities for recruitment beyond South Dakota to include other states, territories, and countries. The [Addiction Studies (ADS)] program being NASAC accredited is a significant factor in applicants choosing the ADS program. These accreditation standards provide increased opportunity for university and national scholarships, knowledge and competency to pass national certification and licensing exams, and acceptance into internships that often lead into job opportunities.” – Frank Zavadil, Addictions Studies Chair, University of South Dakota

“[Administration within University of South Dakota’s School of Health Sciences recognizes that] addiction is a serious threat to our public health and we need highly qualified addiction professional to respond to and prevent addictions.” – Michael Lawler, Dean of Health Sciences, University of South Dakota

What are stakeholders saying about NASAC accreditation?

“As a supervisor, I am now assured of what an intern/trainee knows because of the NASAC criteria. In the past I would have questions and would sometimes have to do a bit of teaching. I have not found that necessary with the NASAC Criteria.  This is also due to the curriculum that the students receive at [the University of South Dakota] in the [Addiction Studies] department.” – Brenda Wood, Director of City/County Alcohol and Drug Program in Rapid City, SD

“I look at accreditation as an added piece of insurance. The intern we have now is an excellent staff [member]…and we would welcome any other students from the Addiction Studies program [at the University of South Dakota].” – Nikki Lawson, Admissions/CWES Director in Estherville, IA

Have you had an experience with NASAC that you want to share? Contact Kristin Hamilton at KHamilton@naadac.org.