By Estrella Vargas, Staff Writer
Elmhurst College (EC)’s speech-language pathology program was approved for its initial accreditation in July. The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association determined the program was in compliance with all standards and met all expectations for student outcomes.
“We’re just thrilled. We think we’re a great program,” said Brenda Gorman, director of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Program. “The strengths of the program at Elmhurst are apparent to students but they don’t fully experience it until they get here.”
Programs are typically in a candidacy phase for five years, but the program received accreditation after only four years.
After receiving positive feedback from the CAA after previous reviews, Gorman believed the program was ready to apply for accreditation.
“We wanted to get it done early, and we thought that we were ready. I pushed us through as soon as we thought we were able,” says Gorman.
The full accreditation application process took about a year to complete. All faculty and higher administration prepared for site review visits made by accreditors in February to access aspects of the application in person and through interviews.
Gorman says receiving accreditation is a great benefit for the program because the departmentcan publicize being accredited to gain broader recognition and it “offers more assurance to the students that the program is of high quality.”
“It’s more beneficial to us in terms of with whom we are able to establish partnerships with for clinical placements off-campus. It opens up new potential placement sites to gain their clinical hours and gives students new opportunities to do what they love,” says Gorman.
According to the CAA, graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are evaluated on standards regarding administrative structure and governance, faculty, academic curriculum, clinical curriculum, assessment and program resources.
The master’s program prepares students for national certification by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and state licensure for careers in schools, clinics, hospitals and more.
The graduate program currently has a total of 46 students — 23 entering and 23 in their second year. Gorman believes the program’s greatest strengths are the small class sizes and personal relationships students and faculty are able to foster.