The Master of Athletic Training program at the University of Mobile has officially been granted initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
Program Director Melissa Thomas, Ed.D, ATC, said the Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program’s first graduating class will be awarded degrees May 6 during a commencement ceremony on the University of Mobile campus.
A promise fulfilled
Thomas said the accreditation process validated what she hoped others also could see in UM’s MAT program: committed faculty, and students who were dedicated to the athletic training profession and unwavering in their decision to attend UM as the new program pursued accreditation.
“This is about fulfilling a promise I made to each of these students during their interview for admission, so telling them the program gained accreditation was the best feeling in the world,” said Thomas, associate professor of kinesiology in the School of Health and Sports Science, College of Health Professions.
The university officially was notified in April of the initial accreditation decision after CAATE peer reviewers completed a comprehensive on-site review of the program in January.
Thomas said the peer review team cited program strengths during its exit interview:
- The program’s small cohort sizes are ideal for maintaining exceptional didactic and clinical learning experiences. Students, faculty, and preceptors expressed that the program’s size allows for individualized instruction, learning, and attention to detail in students’ growth, success, and future career endeavors.
- The program offers a variety of quality clinical experiences across multiple patient care settings for all students. Preceptors demonstrate an altruistic desire to give back to the program and support students through any means possible. Students regularly engage in hands-on, autonomous clinical experiences throughout the program, regardless of setting.
- Matthew Busbee, MAT program medical director, demonstrates an evident commitment to the success of the MAT program by providing support to MAT faculty and learning opportunities to MAT students. Dr. Busbee has a robust history of working with athletic trainers and is a true advocate of the athletic training profession. Dr. Busbee demonstrates an evident commitment to his involvement in the MAT program across various interactions with students in clinical practice and through planned lectures. The program’s relationship with The Orthopaedic Group P.C. also enhances student clinical practice.
- Simulation and collaboration through interprofessional education with nursing programs are exceptional. The state-of-the-art simulation facilities provide students with intentional simulation experiences, often through high-fidelity mannequins and equipment.
Thomas said developing and implementing an exceptional Master of Athletic Training Program at the University of Mobile was a team effort.
A key team member was Megan Harper, DAT, ATC, who serves as coordinator of clinical education and assistant professor of kinesiology in UM’s School of Health and Sports Science, College of Health Professions.
“Dr. Harper continues to push students to excel through clinical education opportunities, push the limits of simulations, and use standardized patients for student learning,” said Thomas.
In addition, Thomas thanked the preceptor and adjunct faculty members who she said continuously show a commitment to UM’s athletic training program.
Accepting applications to May 1
There is still time for students to apply for admission to the next cohort of UM’s Master of Athletic Training program.
The online application is completed through ATCAS and remains open until May 1. The ATCAS system allows students to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, observation hours and more through the program’s verification process.
UM’s 2-year, 62-credit-hour MAT program prepares students through both didactic and clinical experiences to sit for the Board of Certification Exam.