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Abstract

Purpose: The Future Education Model (FEM) was introduced in 2017 and included changes to the existing dietetics education model, such as a shift in degree requirements and a change in Accreditation Standards based on competency-based programming. Starting in 2019, dietetics educators could apply to begin implementing the FEM at their institutions. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) served as the framework for this research. SCT can be used to understand individuals’ motivations in various contexts, including workplace environments like higher education. Self-efficacy is one component of SCT; self-efficacy in dietetics educators may be an important indicator of potential success implementing the mandatory FEM. The purpose of this study was to 1) determine dietetics educators’ self-efficacy towards implementing the FEM, and 2) compare self-efficacy scores based on demographic characteristics. Methods: A reliable and valid online questionnaire was developed and emailed to 520 dietetics directors in the United States. Frequencies, mean scores, and standard deviations were calculated for self-efficacy items; self-efficacy indicates potential to meet demands of implementing the FEM. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze differences between job title, age, years in higher education, and dietetics educator general self-efficacy. Results: There were 161 dietetics directors who responded (31% response rate). Dietetics directors’ mean total self-efficacy scores indicated self-efficacy towards implementing the FEM across all positions, age groups, and years in higher education. One-way ANOVA results indicated no significant differences between director age nor years in higher education and total mean self-efficacy scores, but there was a significant difference between graduate program directors’ (M=63.50, SD = 11.24) and internship directors’ (53.41, SD = 6.91) mean total self-efficacy scores (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Participants in this study were generally self-efficacious regarding implementing the FEM, a possible predictor of successful implementation when the time comes to making program changes and implementing these necessary changes.

Author Bio(s)

Janet S. Millikan, PhD, RDN, LDN is a recent doctoral graduate of the Iowa State University Hospitality Management program. She is private practice dietitian living in Bloomingdale, IL.

Susan W. Arendt, PhD, RD, FAND is a Professor in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. She is also a university Online Learning Faculty Fellow.

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