The Future Dietetics (or perhaps other) Department Chair

If you are exploring this time capsule, years have passed and it is time for our newly renovated foods lab to be replaced by some other development. It is my hope this space is still used by Mount Mary University and that dietitians are still being trained here.

In 2017, Mount Mary University saw the graduation of 27 future dietitians.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is our accrediting agency.  The academy has completed their first century and is looking forward to the second.  Dietetics has been a major at Mount Mary University since 1933.   In the past year, a new major in Food Science has joined us in utilizing this space to learn about and explore the science of food.

In planning this capsule, we attempted to leave you a taste of what our students were like in 2017;  how they prepared food, stayed fit and how they described their dreams.  We hope you will enjoy learning a bit about our era.

I have enclosed two gifts for you, future department chair.  They reflect my philosophy of education and dietetics.  I believe they reflect the core values of Mount Mary University.

The first is a knife, a favorite tool of mine.  But, a knife has a cutting edge.  I have always desired to stay on the cutting edge of a rapidly changing field.  If you are like me, student needs and daily tasks often take precedence.  Please remember, what is cutting edge today will be obsolete in a short time.  Walk the edge of this knife with care and stay student-centered.

You will also find a calculator.  This symbolizes our foundation of science and math.  Our dietetic students must be able to interpret the evidence that will guide their practice.  They must be comfortable with math as a tool and the rules of science.   Lay this foundation carefully.

Our students must embrace creativity and agility. Our students must learn to act in bold decisive ways while relying on the evidence that supports best practice.

Cindy Dostal MA RD CD
Dietetics Department Chair/Coordinated Program Director/Instructor

I have wrapped your gifts in a newspaper, a recent section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dealing with food.  Nearly everyone is quite interested in food and health.  Registered Dietitians are trained to translate the science of nutrition into the foods we eat.  This was a unique contribution of our profession, I hope it remains a major area in your time.  (I do have to wonder if you will even know what a paper newspaper is, blogs and internet-based nutrition information is on the rise as I write.  However, it does not make good wrapping paper!)

We must teach our students the ability to learn and adapt to new environments and situations.  Our students must embrace creativity and agility.  Our students must learn to act in bold decisive ways while relying on the evidence that supports best practice.  These skills remain outside the realm of the cutting edge of a knife.  They rely on the foundation of the calculator and science, but also require creativity and strength.  I hope you will encourage your students to lead a well-balanced life that values social justice.   These are the values of the Mount Mary University in 2017, I believe they are timeless and will echo strongly in your time.

My colleagues in marketing and the preparation of this capsule, encouraged me to include some information about myself.  I was born in the 1950s.  As a product of that age, it isn’t easy for me to promote myself.  Today I watch with pride as our students promote their skills through resumes, blogs, etc. and go fearlessly into territory I would hesitate to enter.  During my career I have seen great strides in equality for women, yet our society has a long way to go.   Mount Mary was a place that encouraged being bold and creative in an environment that was very supportive of women.  I will be proud to complete my career here.

I have been a registered dietitian for nearly 40 years.  I managed the first parenteral nutrition case at my hospital.  It was a primitive procedure in the 1980s with very limited options and little evidence available to make decisions.  Today, I watch with pride as dietitians write orders, manage the patient’s electrolytes and know so much more than we did decades ago. 

I loved being a part of an interdisciplinary team in health care and am pleased that is recently added as a specific topic to our curriculum.  I have spent over half of my career in higher education.  Setting the stage so that a student can learn and be successful is a great joy.  I hope you will also experience that joy and remember it on the days you are overwhelmed with administrative duties.

Also, I would be very interested in what is described as a “healthy fat” in your time!

Best regards and blessings on your endeavors,

Cindy Dostal MA RD CD
Dietetics Department Chair/Coordinated Program Director/Instructor

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers food lab renovation

The food lab renovation includes six new kitchen stations set in quartz countertop, gas and induction cooktops and a sensory lab to to sample food in a neutral environment unaffected by sounds, smells or other distractions.

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Food lab renovation