Date: April 11, 2008
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
GSU Communication Disorders Program Reaccredited Through 2015
University Park, IL, April 11, 2008 – The College of Health Professions at Governors State University announced today that its Master of Health Science in Communication Disorders (CDIS) program has been reaccredited through 2015. The degree is the entry-level degree for speech-language pathologists.
The program’s reaccreditation comes from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), which is part of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Dr. William Yacullo, chair of the college’s Department of Communication Disorders, explained that the CAA accredits programs that prepare individuals for entry into the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology.
The college’s dean, Dr. Linda Samson, said, “While Governors State University is itself accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, many academic programs, particularly those that prepare students for careers in the health and human services professions, require accreditation by their professional organizations.”
For speech-language pathologists, graduation from an appropriately accredited program is a requirement when graduates apply for national credentials in the field.
The CAA’s reaccreditation process was rigorous. Yacullo said that the program’s curriculum was carefully examined to ensure that graduates of the program attain the skills and knowledge essential for independent professional practice.
He explained that the process culminated in what is known as a “site visit” from the accrediting body. Site visits bring experts in the profession to the campus of a program that is seeking accreditation or reaccreditation. These experts review the program, and the institution that houses it, to identify its strengths and weaknesses.
Yacullo said the site team that evaluated GSU and the Communication Disorders program identified the program’s practicum system as a strength.
He said, “The site visitors reported that the program’s clinical education placements ‘revealed an extensive and varied number of clinical settings, populations, age groups, culturally-linguistic diverse populations, and breadth of the scope of practice’.”
The program is known for its unique practicum system. It was the first, and now is one of only a few, accredited speech-language pathology programs in the nation requiring students to obtain all their clinical experience in actual work settings outside the university.
Most programs house on-site clinics in which students work to gain clinical experience.
But GSU is different. The CDIS program’s former chair, Professor Emeritus Jay Lubinsky, who helped develop the program, said the decision to make students gain clinical experiences outside the university-setting was deliberate.
“When you don’t have a clinic [on your campus], you have to establish the program in the community,” Lubinsky said, adding that integrating the program into the community has always been one of the program’s mandates. “We don’t compete with the community’s resources. We support them.”
Lubinsky added that the practicum system provides a decided advantage for the program’s students. “From the get go, they learn what it’s like in the real world.”
He added that the program’s students are often hired where they do their practicums. “Our students do great jobs where they do practica, and they’re often recruited while they’re working there.”
Dean Samson said accreditation is an ongoing process in the college. Its Master and Bachelor of Social Work degree programs were reaccredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 2007. Its Health Administration program underwent a site visit in December and expects a decision on reaccreditation for its program during the spring.