Our Program Policies

Student information

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran.

Inquiries can be directed to:

The Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity
3680 Beardshear Hall
515 Morrill Road 
Ames, IA 50011
515-294-7612

Privacy

Iowa State University is committed to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of our student interns’ personal information and education records. For more information about protection of privacy and access to personal files, please visit the Registrar’s website.

ACEND®  Standard 10.1a. Admission Assessment

Policy: Applicants are assessed for their ability to be successful in the program and in the dietetics profession. Applicants must possess at least a bachelor’s degree and a DPD verification statement from an ACEND accredited program within the past five years. Applicants, who graduated more than five years ago, must provide documentation of successful completion of coursework in Diet Therapy/Medical Nutrition Therapy and Nutrition Assessment within the last five years or related continuing education in these areas. Additional coursework may be required to meet the “recency of education” requirements (See policy on recency of education). It is recommended that applicants have an overall GPA of 2.8 and DPD GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants for the internship are selected based on grades, work and volunteer experiences, leadership qualities, and representation of personal qualities and skills in a personal letter using a standard review form. A rubric is utilized to rank the applicants in order of preferred skills and attributes. Admission information can be found on the Dietetics Internship Eligibility web page.

The Iowa State University Dietetic Internship (ISU DI) offers two Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPP) for individuals with a doctoral degree. If a PhD applicant does not have a DPD verification statement, knowledge will be assessed to determine which, if any, DPD Foundation Knowledge Learning needs to be completed prior to start of the ISPP. ISPP candidates have the same requirements for successful completion as other interns.

Purpose:  To ensure that an objective criteria is used and applied to all potential applicants. Interns are assessed for their ability to be successful in the program.

ACEND® Standard 1.6: Program length and number of supervised practice hours

Policy:  Each intern must complete the full-time ISU DI by the end of 6 months, the scheduled end of the program. In extreme circumstances, which might include medical emergency or the need for educational remediation, an intern’s individual learning timeframe may be extended beyond 6 months up to 9 months (150% of original 6-month plan). Decisions to extend the intern’s time are made on an individual basis by the program director with input by intern’s instructors and preceptors. In the event that remediation activities require the intern to remain in the program beyond the planned 6 months, they may be required to enroll in additional ISU DI classes to remain in the Graduate certificate program. All interns are required to complete at least 1200 hours of supervised practice. These hours many include direct/hands on supervised practice (minimum 900 hours), simulation, case studies or role-playing (less than 300 hours).

ISPP candidates have the same requirements for successful completion as other interns, however, program length may vary based on whether credit is given for any prior assessed learning (PAL).

Purpose: To define specific timeframe to complete program. To ensure that ISU DI, the intern and preceptors have common expectations of participation and completion requirements.

ACEND® Standard 10.1b. Intern Performance Monitoring

Policy: To identify academic difficulties early in the internship, certain checkpoints have been established for each rotation. These checkpoints include tasks that have to be completed by week two (Food Service Management and Community Nutrition rotations) or week three (Medial Nutrition Therapy rotation) and week seven (all rotations). Additionally, an intern’s performance is monitored throughout the internship using exams/quizzes, preceptor evaluations, performance standards, minimum expectation benchmarks; when appropriate, remedial support is offered. Opportunity to improve performance through such means as additional case study work, additional supervised practice hours in the relevant topic area and study guides. Despite appropriate remediation, if the intern is not able to meet performance criteria, the intern is counseled about other career opportunities/paths. Throughout learning experiences, interns are expected to exhibit professional behavior and integrity as noted in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Code of Ethics and the ISU policy for Academic Integrity.

Purpose: Intern performance is monitored to provide for the early detection of academic difficulty and take into consideration professional and ethical behaviors and academic integrity of the intern.

ACEND® Standard 10.1c. Intern Retention

Policy: If the intern is unable to meet the rigors of the program after appropriate remediation, then they are advised to pursue alternate professional career pathways. This might include taking the NDTR exam and/or becoming certified as a dietary manager. The program director, instructor and University support services work with the intern to identify potential alternatives.

Purpose: Interns with minimal chances of success in the program must be counseled into career paths that are appropriate to their ability.

ACEND® Standard 10.1d. Supervised Practice Documentation

Policy: All interns are required to complete and submit a weekly log, documenting time spent in simulations, supervised practice at rotation sites, and the diversity of populations with whom they have interacted. For interns who qualify for PAL, the weekly log will also be used to document PAL hours. Time missed due to illness will also be documented on the weekly log. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose: To establish procedures for tracking individual intern’s supervised practice hours in a professional work settings, simulation, case studies, and role-playing. Hours granted for PAL, if given, are also documented.

ACEND® Standard 10.2a. Insurance requirements, including those for professional liability.

Policy: Interns are required to show proof of health and accident insurance coverage and maintain automobile liability insurance at their own expense. ISU DI maintains professional liability for interns in the amounts of $1 million individual and $3 million aggregate using an “A” rated company. In some instances interns may be required to purchase additional liability insurance coverage if the facility, agency or state require higher amounts of coverage. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose: To ensure that interns are covered for health, accident, auto and professional practice concerns.

ACEND® Standard 10.2b. Liability for safety in travel to and from assigned areas.

Policy: Interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from all assigned facilities and experience sites. The University is not responsible for accidents students may have in private automobiles. Students are expected to maintain automobile liability insurance. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose: To ensure that the interns understand responsibilities for their own safety when travelling to and from assigned areas.

ACEND® Standard 10.2c. Injury or illness while in a facility for supervised practice.

Policy: Supervised practice sites are not responsible for care for non-work related accidents or illnesses. If an intern is injured or develops a work related illness in a facility, emergency treatment will be provided according to facility protocol.  The intern may be charged a fee for this treatment. The University is not responsible for illnesses or injury interns may have while at the facility for supervised practice. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information. Facilities agree to this responsibility by signing the Affiliation Agreement. 

Purpose:  To ensure that interns understand responsibilities related to injury or illness while at facility for supervised practice.

ACEND® Standard 10.2d. Drug testing and criminal background checks, if required by supervised practice facilities.

Policy: Interns are required to meet rules and regulations which are applicable to their performance in the facility. This may include drug testing and criminal background check. Interns are responsible for initiating any required testing/checks and for all related costs. In the event the results are not considered satisfactory by the facility, the intern may not be permitted to complete supervised practice at that facility. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns understand responsibilities related rules, and regulations at facility for supervised practice.

ACEND® Standard. 10.2e Requirement that interns doing supervised practice must not be used to replace employees.

Policy: Students in supervised practice programs shall not routinely replace employees except for planned professional staff experiences. Supervised practice sites acknowledge this by signing an affiliation agreement and preceptors agree by signing “Memorandum of Understanding and Verification of Review”. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns and preceptors understand the educational purpose of supervised practice and do not routinely use interns to replace employees.

ACEND® Standard 10.2f. When interns are paid compensation as part of the program, policies must be in place to define the compensation practices.

Policy: The ISU DI does not offer any stipends or other monitory support/compensation to interns in our program. Occasionally, a supervised practice facility may offer a stipend to interns completing supervised practice at their facility. The ISU DI is not involved in either the negotiations or dispensation of the stipend.

Purpose: To provide clarification on compensation practices of the ISU DI.

ACEND® Standard 10.2g. The process for filing and handling complaints about the program from interns and preceptors

Policy: Interns may file complaints according to University procedures.  As noted in University information the intern may file a grievance with the department chair instead of the program director. Preceptors may communicate at any time with the respective interns ISU instructor or the DI director to discuss any concerns related to the intern’s performance. Preceptors may also discuss their concerns with the Chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Retaliation is not permitted by any of the parties: DI program director, faculty or staff, intern, preceptor. A record of intern complaints including the resolution of complaints are maintained electronically on the University’s secure system indefinitely.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns and preceptors understand their rights to filing complaints and grievances and to define the process for maintenance of complaints and their resolution.

ACEND® Standard 10.2h. Process for submission of written complaints to ACEND

Policy: After all other options for resolution with the program and ISU have been exhausted; any individual may file a complaint about non-compliance with accreditation standards or policies any with Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®). More information is located on the ACEND® website.  A copy of the accreditation standards and/or ACEND®’s policy and procedure for submission of complaints may be obtained by contacting the ACEND® staff via email (ACEND@eatright.org), phone (1-800-877-1600 x5400), or mail (120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995). 

Purpose:  To ensure that interns and preceptors understand their rights to contact ACEND related to program noncompliance with ACEND accreditation standards after all other options with the program and institution have been exhausted.

ACEND® Standard 10.2i. Policy for prior assessed learning (PAL)

Policy:  The PAL program is designed to grant credit towards supervised practice hours in specific rotations of the internship based on the qualified applicant’s learning/knowledge, as demonstrated through paid work or volunteer experiences. The credit is not for the experience, but is given when an applicant demonstrates an increase in knowledge and learning. Experiences considered for PAL must meet competencies required by ACEND® and must not include experiences undertaken during undergraduate/graduate education or in the process of earning a DPD verification statement. PAL credit is not given simply for college coursework. PAL credit, if applicable should be documented on the weekly log.

Purpose: Ensure that the ISU DI has a systematic process to administer, evaluate and document PAL. If the program grants credit, supervised practice hours or direct assessment for interns’ prior learning, it must define procedures for evaluating equivalence of prior education or experience. Otherwise, the program must indicate that it has no policy for assessing prior learning or competence.

ACEND® Standard 10.2j. Formal assessment of intern learning and regular reports of performance and progress.

Policy: The intern’s learning, performance and progress is assessed formally at predetermined intervals through the program; minimally at the beginning, midpoint and end. Assessment includes preceptor evaluation of intern performance and progress, scoring on exams, assessments, assignments, projects and case studies. See course syllabi and “Requirement of Satisfactory Performance” in Canvas. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns are aware of and understand the assessment and evaluation process within the ISU DI. To aid intern’s progress to entry-level registered dietitian competency.

ACEND® Standard 10.2k. Program retention and remediation procedures; interns must have access to remedial instruction such as tutorial support.

Policy: The intern who is not meeting established performance criteria is identified using formal and informal assessment and evaluation information. Interns may be offered the opportunity to improve performance through such means as: additional case study work, additional supervised practice hours in the relevant topic area and/or study guides. In the event that remediation activities require the intern to remain in the program beyond the planned 6 months, they may be required to enroll in additional ISU DI classes to remain in the graduate certificate program. In the event that the intern is not able to meet performance criteria, the intern may be encouraged to withdraw from the program and/or advised to pursue alternate professional career pathways. This might include taking the NDTR exam and/or becoming certified as a dietary manager. The program director, instructor and university support services work with the intern to identify potential alternatives.

Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose: To ensure that rules and guidelines for retention in program and offers of remediation are available to interns. To aid intern’s progress to entry-level registered dietitian competency.

ACEND® Standard 10.2i. Disciplinary/termination procedures.

Policy: The intern may be disciplined or terminated for reasons including but not limited to: unsatisfactory academic performance, termination from supervised practice facility, inappropriate and/or criminal behaviors (such as academic dishonesty, plagiarism, harassment, etc.) and breech of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics code of ethics.  See “Unsatisfactory Performance” in “Requirements for Successful Completion” in the ISU DI Handbook (PDF). The DI adheres to ISU policies/procedures. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that rules and guidelines for discipline and termination are available to interns. To aid intern’s progress to entry-level registered dietitian competency.

ACEND® Standard 10.2m. Graduation and/or program completion requirements for all tracks and pathways

Policy:  Successful completion of the dietetic internship results in receipt of the DI Verification Statement and an ISU Graduate Certificate in Dietetics Internship. Interns must complete the required hours of supervised practice and demonstrate satisfactory performance and competency throughout program rotations as evaluated by ISU DI faculty members and facility preceptors. Interns must receive at least a B grade in each of the 3 required courses (FSHN 554: Dietetic Internship I, FSHN 555: Dietetic Internship II, FSHN 556: Dietetic Internship III). Specific components of successful completion of the program requirements are discussed with the interns. In addition to completing assigned coursework, interns must complete a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice. These hours many include direct/hands on supervised practice (minimum 900 hours), simulation, case studies or role-playing (less than 300 hours). Each intern must complete the full-time ISU DI by the end of 6 months, but no later than 9 months (150% of original 6-month plan). ISPP interns have the same requirements for successful completion as other interns; however, program length may vary based on whether credit is given for any PAL.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns are aware of components and requirements related to successful completion of all requirements of the ISU DI resulting in the achievement of a Graduate Certificate in Dietetics Internship from ISU and the DI Verification Statement. To ensure that rules and guidelines for successful completion of the program are provided to interns in a written format and that acknowledgement is received by the DI program of the intern’s understanding of successful program completion requirements. Graduation and DI completion requirements include the maximum amount of time allowed to complete DI requirements.

ACEND® Standard 10.2n. Verification statement requirements and procedures

Policy:  The DI verification statement will be granted to those interns who have met all requirements of the ISU DI including, but not limited to: completion of at least 1200 total number of supervised practice hours, professional performance evaluations demonstrating meeting of all required ACEND® competencies, and completing all assignments and exams.

Purpose:  To ensure that rules and guidelines for granting of DI verification statement are provided to interns in a written format.

ACEND® Standard 10.2o. Programs using distance instruction and/or online testing must employ strategies to verify the identity of an intern.

Policy: Interns are photographed individually with their name during Professional Skills Week. This intern image with name is available in Canvas to all the ISU DI instructors. Additionally, interns take a government issued photo ID to the University Office to obtain a University Photo ID card. Student identity is also verified via use of ISU Net-ID. Only those enrolled in the ISU DI have access to the Canvas courses. The use of Canvas requires that the intern access the course via the student’s unique ISU Net-ID and password. Each student is enrolled into Canvas at the start of the internship. 

Purpose: To verify the identity of the interns participating in the ISU distance education DI.

ACEND® Standard 10.2.p Withdrawal and refund of tuition and fees, if applicable.

Policy: Withdrawal from the program and refund of tuition and fees is regulated through ISU policies.  Information regarding withdrawal and refund of tuition and fees is provided to the intern through the DI Handbook (PDF) with relevant ISU Webpage URL's. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that rules and guidelines for withdrawal from the program and refund of tuition and fees are provided to interns in a written format and that acknowledgement is received by the ISU DI Program that the intern understands rules and guidelines for withdrawal from and refund of tuition and fees of the program.

ACEND® Standard 10.2q. Program schedule, vacations, holidays and leaves of absence.

Policy: Iowa based interns are provided with an individualized program schedule, whereas interns in the nation-wide rotations create their own rotation schedule. The schedule reflects completion of the minimum required 1200 supervised practice hours and the required domains. Interns follow the holiday schedule observed at their supervised practice facilities and NOT the University breaks (such as spring break and inclement weather breaks). Time lost due to illness or emergencies must be made up in order to complete the required hours of practice.  All absences must be reported by phone or email to the ISU DI faculty and to the intern’s current preceptor, in advance of their scheduled start date/time. Exceptions will be made only for just cause and with the approval of the program director and the preceptor. Sick time should also be documented on the weekly log. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of, and agreement with the information.

Purpose: To ensure that individual schedules are provided to interns in a written format and that acknowledgement is received by the ISU DI program that the intern understands the program’s schedule and timeline. 

ACEND® Standard 10.2r. Protection of privacy of intern information, including information used for identifying interns in distance learning.

Policy: Intern records and personal information are covered by ISU Registrar policies. Policies conform to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Intern’s personal internship files are stored in locked filing cabinet and electronically in the protected ISU electronic domain.  Student identity is verified via use of ISU Net-ID.  Only those enrolled in the ISU DI have access to the Canvas courses.  The use of Canvas requires that the intern access the course via the student’s unique ISU Net-ID and password.  Each student is enrolled into Canvas at the start of the internship. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that information regarding intern's records and privacy are provided to interns in a written format and that acknowledgement is received by the ISU DI of the interns understanding of, and agreement with the information. 

ACEND® Standard 10.2.s Intern access to their own intern file.

Policy: Intern’s access to personal files is covered by ISU Registrar policies, which state that the students have the right to review upon request any records that pertain directly to them, and may obtain a copy of the record for a fee. This provision does not apply to records to which the student has waived his or her right to review, nor does it apply to medical and counseling records. Policies conform with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Intern’s personal internship files are stored in locked filing cabinet and electronically in the protected ISU electronic domain.  Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of, and agreement with the information.

Purpose:  To ensure that information regarding intern’s access to personal files are provided to interns in a written format and that acknowledgement is received by the ISU DI of the interns understanding of and agreement with the information regarding access to their personal files.

ACEND® Standard 10.2t. Access to intern support services, including health services, counseling and testing and financial aid resources.

Policy: All interns regardless of location are considered full time ISU Graduate students and thus, have access to all student support services including but not limited to: health services, counseling, testing, and financial aid.

 ISU resources can be found on the ISU University Resources web page. Any fees related to the service is paid by the intern. Interns acknowledge in writing their understanding of and agreement with the information. Links to the student support services are provided in the Dietetic Internship Handbook (PDF) as well as provided in the online course information.

Purpose:  To ensure that interns have information regarding access to student support services in a written format.

ACEND® Standard 8.1a, d: Affiliation Agreements

Policy:  Written affiliation agreements are required between all supervised practice facilities and ISU DI. An intern may not start their supervised practice experience at a facility until an affiliation agreement has been signed by individuals with appropriate institutionally assigned authority by both ISU DI and the supervised practice facility. A list of all facilities where ISU DI has an active affiliation agreement is available on the DI website. When the intern is completing a shadow/observation-only experience, written affiliation agreements are encouraged but not required. Additionally, affiliation agreements are not required when an intern is an employee of the facility where they intend to complete supervised practice and/or the supervised practice experience is for a short duration (1 week or less). In the event the parties enter into no agreement, each party in the shadow/observation-only experience will be responsible for the liabilities arising out of their own conduct and the conduct of their officers, employees and agents.

Purpose: To protect patients/clients, intern/student, the institution/organization. To ensure that ISU DI and the facility have a common understanding of participation requirements borne by ISU DI, by the facility and by the intern. ISU counsel reviews the affiliation agreement before signatures of the administrators with appropriate authority are obtained. 

ACEND® Standard 8.1a: Adequacy of facility evaluation

Policy: Each facility must have appropriate number of staff to coordinate the intern’s learning experiences. Due to the nuances related to different rotations, facilities and learning needs each facility is evaluated individually. For example, if a facility is to be used as part of a renal rotation, there must be proof of renal patients in the facility. The facility information is reviewed by ISU DI program director, faculty and staff during the application review process. Interns evaluate preceptors and thus facilities throughout the internship. If a facility is deemed unacceptable, efforts will be made to remedy the situation or totally remove the intern from the facility and place the intern in another location with an affiliation agreement. The ISU DI retains records of these facilities to avoid future intern placement. 

Purpose: To outline an evaluation process and timeline for evaluation of adequacy and appropriateness of supervised practice facilities and to protect patients/clients, intern/student, the institution/organization. To ensure that ISU DI and the facility have a common understanding of participation requirements borne by ISU DI, by the facility and by the intern.

Policy Name: Recency of Education

Policy: Potential DI applicants who completed their didactic education more than five years ago, must show evidence of clinical practice, relevant continued education or submit documentation of successful completion of coursework related to medical nutrition therapy and advanced nutrition. If additional coursework is required to meet “recency of education” requirements, the applicant and the ISU DI Director will discuss and determine the exact requirements. (Typically, this requirement is specific for MNT-related coursework.)  Completing the recommended requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the ISU DI program.

Purpose: To provide guidance for admission eligibility for applicants who completed their didactic education more than five years ago.

Policy Name: International student enrollment in the Dietetic Internship

Policy: International students who have an F-1 visa and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) status are eligible to apply to the ISU DI. International students must have a completed degree from a US regionally accredited college or university or foreign equivalent, or present documentation of the equivalence of foreign degree(s). Additionally, interested students should also have or be able to provide a DPD verification statement with their application. Interested students should contact the international student office at their current institution for more information.The ISU international student office is not obligated to assist you unless you are matched to the ISU DI and enrolled at ISU. All “non-native English speakers” who do not have a bachelor’s degree from a US regionally accredited college or university are required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score (see ISU Graduate school minimum requirements). Additional information can be obtained on the ACEND® website (opens in new tab).

Purpose: To provide guidance for international students relating to admission eligibility to the ISU DI

Policy Name: Intern responsible for facility fee, if required 

Policy: Per Iowa State University policy, the ISU DI does not pay facilities or preceptors to provide supervised practice or learning opportunities for dietetic interns. In the event that an intern’s identified facility requires a fee for the intern to complete supervised practice hours and learning activities with its staff and resources, the intern is required to pay that fee in addition to the standard ISU DI tuition and fees. If the facility requires that the fee is paid by ISU DI, then ISU DI will pay the fee and bill the intern the exact amount. The intern will not receive the DI Verification Statement until all program requirements are completed including payment of additional facility fees. (This fee is not related in any way to ISU tuition/fees.)

Purpose:   To clarify expenses borne by the intern. To ensure that ISU DI, the intern and preceptors have common expectations of expenses paid by the intern. 

Policy Name: Simultaneous employment during the internship

Policy: As noted in policy 10.2.e students in supervised practice programs shall not routinely replace employees except for planned professional staff experiences. However, interns may receive supervised practice hours while simultaneously working for pay at the facility where they are interning. Intern must request approval from preceptor, ISU DI instructor and program director. All decisions are made on an individual basis. Routine employment during supervised practice is strongly discouraged.

Purpose: To ensure that interns and preceptors use reasonable judgment and fair labor practices if interns are employed during scheduled supervised practice.