Elmhurst College’s graduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders has earned its initial accreditation, achieving perfect compliance with national standards for its master of science program in speech-language pathology.
The five-year accreditation, which extends through June 30, 2022, was approved in July by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Being in perfect compliance with the accrediting agency’s standards is “something quite remarkable for a program that is receiving its first accreditation approval,” said April Edwards, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.
Even more remarkable, the program sought accreditation in its fourth year, about a year ahead of when programs typically enter the accreditation process, said Brenda Gorman, director of the CSD graduate program.
“I’m very pleased,” she said. “It definitely lets our prospective students know we are an exceptional program.”
Gorman said faculty and staff spent a year in preparation and self-study before entering the rigorous accreditation process, which included accreditors visiting the college in February.
Because the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association requires a master’s degree and 400 hours of clinical work for certification as a speech-language pathologist, Elmhurst College’s CSD department began offering graduate classes in Fall 2013. Both graduate and undergraduate CSD students complete clinical work in the College’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic or at local hospitals, schools and other facilities.
A high bar was set for CSD graduate students when all 15 students in the first graduate cohort passed the national certification exam on their very first try and every graduate who sought a job received an offer within two months of graduation.
Last May all 21, or 100 percent, of students who entered the master’s program in Fall 2015 (the third cohort) completed it on time, together. The accreditation standard is 80 percent of graduate students completing their coursework within two years.