UNI program speaks to success

The University of Northern Iowa's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is working to prepare professional speech-language pathologists and audiologists for successful careers.

Comm Disorders
The Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic is an on-campus facility where students can learn with a hands-on approach.

Speech-language pathology, in which professionals evaluate and treat individuals with speech and language disorders, is a fast-growing profession with many different career opportunities. UNI offers an undergraduate degree in communicative disorders and a graduate degree in speech-language pathology, so students are able to earn both their bachelor's and master's degree at UNI.

One of the keys to the department's great success is its on-campus facility, the Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic, where students can learn with a hands-on approach. The clinical lab provides services for speech, language and hearing disorders for people of all ages, and it treats individuals from around the community. The clinic is a vital part of the department's curriculum, giving graduate students the opportunity to do extensive work in a clinical setting before entering the workforce. Students work with actual clients, which typically doesn't take place until graduate school. Students also have the opportunity to work with individuals in language group therapy and work with children and adults with other communicative disorders.

Professor Jennifer Garrett says that another reason for the program's success is the dedication of both the students and the faculty.

"Our department is successful in large part because of the passion of our students," says Garrett. "Students in this field have to be focused and dedicated. We're lucky because students in our department are incredibly passionate and engaged in what they're doing."

That dedication is easily visible in some of the department's new figures. According to the CSD website, more than 90 percent of graduate students complete the program in five semesters100 percent of graduate students are enrolled fulltime; and the 2006-2010 pass rate for the Praxis, an introductory exam, was 100 percent. The graduate program has a 100 percent job placement rate for students.

One thing that draws students to the program is the rigorous curriculum. The graduate program has a competitive selection process, and a limited number of applicants are accepted each semester. The speech-language pathology program is accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Along with passionate students, the department is also known for its award-winning and highly qualified faculty.

"I've been really impressed by the CSD faculty," said Rachel Carmen, a sophomore majoring in communicative disorders. "All of the professors I've had demonstrate extreme competency in their field, a large breadth of knowledge and a true passion for teaching. All of my professors are interesting, practical and seem truly invested in making sure we all learn the material fully so that we can be the best speech-language pathologists or audiologists we can be!"

For more information about UNI's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, visit www.uni.edu/comdis/.