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Speech-language pathology and audiology are disciplines that have developed out of a concern for people with communication disorders. Preparation leading to a degree in communication sciences and disorders includes a wide range of courses and a variety of clinical practicum opportunities working with the infant through geriatric populations.
Students who intend to seek employment in this profession, whether in a public school, clinic, rehabilitation center, or hospital setting, are advised that a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or a clinical doctorate in audiology and certification/licensure at the state and/or national levels are required. Out-of-state students should recognize that other requirements may exist for employment in their locales.
Degree Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) offers both the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts degrees. The Bachelor of Arts degree is a pre-professional degree that prepares the student for pursuing graduate studies in either audiology or speech-language pathology. For the bachelor’s degree, a minor area of study is required. The minor must be approved by the student’s academic advisor. Suggested areas include audiology (in moratorium), biology, business, education, psychology, or sociology. Individually designed minors are permissible with faculty advisor approval.
The Master of Arts degree is a professional degree and partially fulfills certification requirements at both the state and national levels. A student may specialize in speech-language pathology at the master’s level. The MA degree program, Speech Language Pathology, is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The department does not offer a clinical doctorate program in audiology.
Due to the clinical requirements of the programs, enrollment in the undergraduate and graduate major may be limited.
A post-baccalaureate program is offered for those with an undergraduate degree in a field other than communication sciences and disorders and for those who hold a CSD degree that was completed five or more years ago. This program is designed to prepare such students for graduate-level study in speech-language pathology or audiology. The 45-50 credits four-quarter lockstep program begins fall quarter. The post-baccalaureate program is self-supporting and has a tuition rate that differs from that of regularly enrolled undergraduate students.
Students interested in the post-baccalaureate program need to complete the Extension Undergraduate Application. Extension admission and registration information is available from Extended Education, 360-650-7780.
NOTE: Enrollment in the post-baccalaureate program does not guarantee a place in the graduate program.
The master of arts degree education program in speech-language pathology at Western Washington University is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Certification/Licensure in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology
There are three types of professional certification/licensure in the field: state licensure from the Washington State Department of Health; certification as an educational staff associate from the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; and the Certificate of Clinical Competence, a national certification, from ASHA. Consult the department for additional information.
BARBARA MATHERS-SCHMIDT (1991) Chair and Professor. BA, Lewis and Clark College; MS, Portland State University; PhD, University of Washington. (speech-language pathology).
EVA BAHARAV (2003) Associate Professor. BA, MA, University of California-Berkeley; PhD, Boston University. Undergraduate advisor (speech-language pathology).
RIEKO M. DARLING (1995) Associate Professor. BS, MS, PhD, The Florida State University. Transfer advisor, undergraduate advisor; director, audiology clinics (audiology).
MICHAEL R. FRAAS (2012) Assistant Professor. BA, Bowling Green State University; MA, University of Cincinnati; PhD, University of Cincinnati (speech-language pathology).
KIMBERLY A. PETERS (2002) Associate Professor. BA, Trinity College; MA, PhD, University of Connecticut. Undergraduate advisor; director, aural rehabilitation clinics (audiology).
KAREN-MARGRETHE BRUUN (2010) Internship coordinator; Graduate program advisor; MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
ANNA CHAMBERLIN (1998) BA, MA, Western Washington University (audiology).
JENNIFER GRUENERT (2008) BA, MS, University of Washington (speech-language pathology)
JILL K. HUNT-THOMPSON (1977) BA, MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
GEORGETTA LILLEY (1988) BS, MEd, California University of Pennsylvania (speech-language pathology).
GAIL NOBLE-SANDERSON (2010) BA, MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
DIANA PECHTHALT (2003) BA, MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
YARROW POSPISIL (2001) BS, University of Nebraska; MA, Western Washington University (speech-language pathology).
TERRY SACKS (2005) Director, speech-language pathology clinic. BS, MA, Northwestern University. (speech-language pathology).
LESLEY STEPHENS (2006) BA, MA, University of Kansas
Students wishing to declare a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders must have:
1. completed at least 75 credits;
2. successfully completed or be currently enrolled in CSD 251;
3. achieved a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) of 2.70 or higher. A grade of at least B- (2.70) in each of the core courses (CSD 251, 352, 354, and 356) may be substituted for the overall 2.70 GPA.
As stated in the section regarding general university academic policies, “any grade below a C- is unacceptable in the student’s major or minor.” In the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department students also are required to complete each prerequisite course with a grade of C- or better before enrolling in the courses for which that serves as a prerequisite.
Other Departmental Information
Essential Functions of Candidates for Program Admission and Continuance
The CSD department’s speech-language pathology and audiology preparation programs lead to graduate degrees in speech language pathology and/or audiology. The core curriculum is designed to support student attainment of the academic and clinical competencies needed for graduation and for licensure in the state of Washington. The education of a speech-language pathologist or audiologist requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of judgment through patient care experience in preparation for independent and appropriate decision-making practices. The current practices of speech-language pathology and audiology emphasize collaboration among audiologists, speech-language pathologists, other allied health care professionals, physicians, and patients.
The accredited graduate program in the CSD program at Western adheres to the standards set by ASHA. Within ASHA standards, the CSD program has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum; the evaluation of student progress; and the determination of who should be awarded a degree.
Faculty and staff in the CSD department have a responsibility for the welfare of patients tested, treated, or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the CSD program. The department has the ultimate responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent professionals, capable of delivering quality care in a timely manner and preserving the well-being of the patients they serve. Thus, it is important that persons admitted, retained, and graduated possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice in communication sciences and disorders.
No student in CSD may participate as a primary clinician in the clinic or an internship until cleared by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Federal Bureau of Investigation background check. Clearance is valid for specified time frames. Procedure and fee information are provided to students upon acceptance into the graduate program.
The CSD department is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The University, College, and department do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran status. When requested, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students in the department. To fulfill this responsibility, the department has established academic standards and minimum essential requirements that must be met with or without reasonable accommodations in order to participate in the program and graduate.
The CSD department endeavors to select applicants who have the ability to become highly competent speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on satisfactory prior and ongoing academic achievement, but also on nonacademic factors that serve to ensure that the candidate can complete the essential functions of the academic and clinical program required for graduation. Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, and the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of all students at graduation. The essential functions required by the curriculum are in the following areas: motor, sensory, communication, intellectual/cognitive (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and diagnosis), behavioral/emotional, and the professional aspects of the performance of a speech-language pathologist and/or audiologist.
- Motor Skills. The student should have sufficient motor function to be able to execute movements required to provide with acuity, accuracy, and facility a complete speech, language, and/or audiologic examination and provide therapeutic services to patients of all ages and both genders in all clinical situations. The student must have the ability to safely assist patients in moving, for example, from room to room, from chair to chair, on and off an examination table.
- Sensory/Observation. The CSD curriculum requires essential ability in information acquisition. The student must have the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written materials, and projected images. The student must also be able to acquire the information presented through demonstrations and experiences in the clinical training portion of the program. The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at hand, and observe and appreciate nonverbal communication and manual signs when performing clinical assessments and treatment activities. The student must have the ability to take a case history and perform a visual examination of various oral and craniofacial structures (i.e., ear, throat, oral cavity, skull, et cetera). The student must have sufficient sensory capability to perform all required examination and treatment protocols using instruments and tools necessary for accurate, efficient, and timely completion of such activities.
- Communication. The student must be able to accurately, effectively, and sensitively communicate information on patient status with other students, faculty, staff, patients, families, and other professionals. This information must be communicated in a succinct yet comprehensive manner and in settings in which time available may be limited. These skills require the ability to assess and effectively communicate all relevant information including the significance of nonverbal responses. These skills also require the ability to immediately assess incoming information to allow for well-focused, appropriate follow-up inquiry. The student must be capable of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences. Students must express ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback.
- Cognitive. The student must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty and professional staff. These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze, and synthesize material. Students must be able to develop reasoning and decision-making skills appropriate to the practice of speech-language pathology and/or audiology.
- Behavior/Emotional. The student must possess the emotional health required for the full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders in patients. In addition, the student must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, students, faculty, staff, and other professionals under all conditions, including highly stressful situations. The student must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways. The student must be able to experience empathy for the situations and circumstances of others and effectively communicate that empathy. The student must know if his or her values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and/or experiences affect his or her perceptions and relationships with others. The student must be willing and able to examine and change his or her behavior when it interferes with productive individual or team relationships. The student must possess skills and experience necessary for effective and harmonious relationships in diverse learning and working environments.
- Professional. The student must possess the ability to reason judiciously and practice speech-language pathology and/or audiology in an ethical manner. Students must be willing to learn and abide by professional standards of practice. Students must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and tolerance. The student must be able to engage in patient care delivery in all clinical settings and be able to deliver care to all patient populations, including but not limited to, children, adolescents, adults, developmentally disabled persons, medically compromised patients, and vulnerable adults.
Writing Proficiency Guidelines
Majors in Communication Sciences and Disorders must complete a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. Students must meet with an undergraduate advisor no later than the fourth week of winter quarter of the junior year to file a plan of study. The plan of study will include signing up for specific writing proficiency courses and labs.
For a concentration leading to the Master of Arts degree, see the Graduate School section of this catalog.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorGraduate
CoursesCommunication Sci & Disorders
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.
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