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Source: Robert Garcia, 785-532-2044, rgarcia@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-2535, bbohn@k-state.edu

Thursday, April 22, 2010

K-STATE'S PROGRAM IN COMMUNICATION SCIENCES AND DISORDERS EARNS REACCREDITATION, HIGH PRAISE FROM KEY AUDIOLOGY AND SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY COUNCIL

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's master's program in communication sciences and disorders has been accredited for another eight years by the Council on Academic Accreditation for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

The accreditation process took a year and included a 119-page report that covered assessment of knowledge and skills at the undergraduate and graduate levels on 190 certification standards, as well as a two-day site visit by a three-member council team, according to Robert Garcia, director of K-State's communication sciences and disorders program.

While at K-State, site team members met with the program's faculty and undergraduate and graduate students; clients served by K-State's Speech and Hearing Center; Maurice MacDonald, director of K-State's School of Family Studies and Human Services; Virginia Moxley, dean of K-State's College of Human Ecology; and Ruth Dyer, serving as K-State's interim provost.

The communication sciences and disorders program is offered through the School of Family Studies and Human Services in K-State's College of Human Ecology. Moxley said the program received high marks in the accreditation process.

"The review of K-State's communications sciences and disorders program was entirely positive," she said. "The program was fully compliant with all standards, and the review team could not have been more positive in their evaluation of the program. In addition, Dr. Robert Garcia's program leadership was singled out for special recognition by the reviewers.

"The program faculty are providing exceptional learning experiences that prepare students extraordinarily well for professional positions in speech-language pathology," Moxley said. "The review provided further documentation that K-State's program is one of the best in the nation."

K-State's undergraduate program in communication sciences and disorders, which has around 100 students, provides the framework for a graduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, Garcia said.

"A graduate degree is required to become a certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist," he said. "The graduate program, which currently has 25 students, offers a master's degree with an emphasis in speech-language pathology."

Graduate students also must have a minimum of 400 hours of practicum experience, which includes seeing clients of all ages with communication and swallowing disorders. To help students meet the required practicum experience, the university operates the Speech and Hearing Center, Garcia said.

The center, in K-State's Campus Creek Complex, serves local and regional communities. An individual interested in obtaining speech-language or hearing services can schedule an appointment on their own or through a physician/agency referral, Garcia said.

Graduate students in the program also participate in supervised internship placements at both schools and medical settings.

Graduates of the program are eligible for clinical certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

"Our graduates have been highly successful in passing the national examination, NESPA. "Since 2004, K-State graduates have a 100-percent pass rate on the exam on their first try. The national average is only 80 percent," Garcia said.

"We are a program that is very student- and client-oriented," Garcia said. "We take great pride in preparing our students to work with all populations. Approximately half of our graduates are employed in a medical setting, and the other half work in a school setting."