William Paterson University Undergraduate Program in Public Health Among First in Nation to Earn Accreditation

Program recognized by Council on Education for Public Health

Jean Levitan, professor, Public Health, with students

William Paterson University’s bachelor’s degree program in public health has become one of eight undergraduate programs in the nation to be accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

In this, its first round ever of accrediting such undergraduate programs, CEPH invited only a handful of programs to apply for consideration. William Paterson University was among those invited, and ultimately, one of only eight to earn recognition thus far. According to CEPH, another 13 undergraduate programs are currently in the application process. As part of that process, CEPH representatives visited William Paterson in the spring to learn more about the University’s public health program by touring facilities, interviewing faculty and students, and reviewing organizational charts and budgets. 

“I believe this accreditation speaks to the fact that our undergraduate program is extremely strong, anchored by a superb faculty and state-of-the-art curriculum,” says Kenneth Wolf, dean of the University’s College of Science and Health. “Accreditation by an organization such as CEPH provides external validation that reaffirms the dedication of the faculty. We are very proud of this accomplishment.”

Among the highlights of the University’s program, noted by CEPH in its accreditation report are:

  • All of the full-time faculty have doctoral-level training in areas such as health education, community health and socio-medical sciences
  • Many adjunct faculty members hold significant leadership positions in professional public health practice
  • Full-time and adjunct faculty are active in their disciplines as, among others, peer reviewers and journal editors, presenters and planners for professional meetings and officers of professional associations
  • Practitioners from diverse backgrounds are involved with the program as guest lecturers, in service learning and/or research opportunities
  • Curriculum allows students to gain experience in various areas of public health
  • The required, graded and supervised internship affords students the chance to apply knowledge acquired through academic and practical activities.

Undergraduate program accreditation in public health is altogether new, according to William Kernan, associate professor and chair of William Paterson University’s Department of Public Health. Until now, no agency was tasked with reviewing and accrediting such programs; CEPH only accredited graduate programs and schools of public health.

The University’s undergraduate program in health education was previously approved by the SOPHE/AAHE Baccalaureate Program Approval Committee (SABPAC) – an approval held for about 25 years, through spring 2015. Nationwide, there were about two dozen such approved programs, so again, William Paterson was one of a select group. SABPAC, however, was phased out when CEPH became involved with undergraduate programs.