A Big Year for Communication Sciences and Disorders Class of ’17

July 10, 2017 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

The Class of ’17 from Elmhurst College’s Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) programs—including both graduate and undergraduate students–had a banner year.

The entire cohort of students who earned master’s degrees from the CSD program—21 students who entered the program in Fall 2015—completed it on time, together. The Class of ’17 was the College’s third cohort of CSD graduate students, and their success was only slightly better than that of the first two cohorts, which saw 94 percent completion rates (with only one student in each class not finishing with the group), said Gerard “Trace” Poll, department chair. That means all three classes in the young program have far exceeded accrediting agency requirements that at least 80 percent of students complete coursework within two years.

Excellence extended to the CSD undergraduate program as well: Of the 32 graduating seniors, all 30 who applied to graduate programs were accepted by at least one school, Poll said. Data from the application service for CSD master’s programs, which most students use, indicates that only about half the applicants nationally are accepted into graduate programs.

Poll said some of those students will pursue their graduate studies at Elmhurst, while others are heading to programs at Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of Illinois and the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston.

Faculty and support staff in the CSD department work together to ensure success in both the undergraduate and graduate programs, Poll said, adding that the programs also tend to draw “very responsible, hard-working, motivated students” who deserve much of the credit for their achievements.

Undergraduate students must have a 3.0 GPA to be accepted into Elmhurst’s CSD program and then maintain a 3.2 GPA to stay in it, Poll said. Students at both levels are required to complete clinical work at the College’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic or local hospitals, schools and other facilities.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) requires 400 hours of clinical work for certification as a speech-language pathologist. It also requires a master’s degree, which is why almost all the Elmhurst CSD students continue on to graduate programs, although a few have gone on to careers in audiology, behavioral therapy or counseling.

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