The funeral services administration program at SUNY Canton recently received its initial accreditation from the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE).
“By meeting stringent demands of the accrediting agency, we further highlight the strengths of one of our most intensely career-driven programs,” said SUNY Canton Interim President Carli C. Schiffner. “This accreditation is the result of months of work and the cumulative efforts of Program Director David R. Penepent and Interim Dean Kenneth Erickson, with help from many departments and individuals.”
The College’s funeral services administration program is one of the very few four-year mortuary science majors in the United States. It is also one of the only programs of its kind within the SUNY System.
“The funeral services administration program has been designed to place a greater emphasis on the skills and knowledge needed to equip graduates with practical information that can be used in the rapidly changing funeral profession,” Penepent said. “Students in the program have an opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom in their practicum and internship experience in a funeral home of their choosing.”
Currently, the funeral services administration program has approximately 40 students. The program is designed for first-time first-year students and working professionals.
One of the program’s many advantages is that funeral directors who are currently licensed and working in the profession have an opportunity to complete their degree online and complete their bachelor degree at their own pace, Penepent said. The program grants licensed funeral directors life experience credits for their skills and knowledge in the profession.
“I wish a program like this existed when I was going to mortuary school because I would have had an opportunity to see how mortuary theory was applied in a real-life setting before graduation,” the program director said.
Future plans for the program include new classrooms, a restorative art lab, and a new multi-purpose chapel to be used for mock funeral services.
The ABFSE serves as the national academic accreditation agency for college and university programs in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science Education. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognize it as the sole accrediting agency for academic programs that prepare funeral service professionals. Receiving programmatic accreditation ensures that the program has been evaluated and meets, or exceeds, set standards of quality determined by the ABFSE.
The four-year program was unveiled in 2010 and replaced the College’s two-year mortuary science program. Previously it was a candidate for accreditation through the same agency.
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