MASTER OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION AND LEARNING DISORDERS
SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
Our Lady of the Lake University’s Master of Arts degree in communication and learning disorders prepares students for service careers in speech-language pathology through comprehensive course work with an emphasis on clinical training. The master’s program satisfies all academic and practicum requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and for state licensure by the Texas Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. OLLU’s graduate training program in CDIS is accredited in Speech-Language Pathology 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 20850-3289. Phone: 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.
Fourteen full-time and part-time Speech-Language Pathology faculty members hold Certificates of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology and/or Audiology. All faculty are licensed by the Texas board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Clinical practicum is an integral part of the graduate educational experience. It broadens the student’s experience in working with a variety of communication disorders in clients of all ages. Students need a total of 400 clock hours to satisfy practicum requirements, of which 325 must be taken at the graduate level. 375 out of the 400 hours must be direct client contact. Practicum requirements include the successful completion of clinical competencies as outlined in the program’s Clinic Handbook.
Part of the student’s practicum experience is obtained under direct faculty supervision at the University’s Harry Jersig Speech and Hearing Center. Students also gain on-the-job experience in other facilities including public schools, rehabilitation centers, community clinics and hospitals.
Bilingual speech-language pathology
The graduate CDIS program offers students the option to acquire academic knowledge and clinical skills needed to provide bilingual (English/Spanish) assessment and intervention. A bilingual certificate is earned through the completion of a minimum of 50 hours of Spanish-language clinical practicum and five hours of specialty coursework including a selected topic course taught in Spanish.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for Communication Disorders (CDIS) graduate students. Some assistantships are awarded by faculty when applicants are offered admission and students may apply for any remaining positions by completing a GA application at the beginning of the fall semester after acceptance into the graduate program.
The Master's program in Communication Sciences and Disorders completed its last re-accreditation process during the 2005-2006 school year. The CAA voted to re-accredit the program for a period of 8 years from 2006 through 2014. The program is currently completing the re-accreditation process during the 2013-2014 year.
Once admitted, a student's progress in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program is reviewed each semester. Continuation in the graduate program is contingent upon the following:
- Maintaining a 3.00 grade point average in all courses attempted at Our Lady of the Lake University.
- Progressing satisfactorily toward completion of educational objective (i.e., degree or certification).
Records of all graduate students registered for nine or more semester hours of work are reviewed for academic discipline at the end of each grading period. Records of part-time students are reviewed upon completion of nine semester hours. All courses, even if the courses were not completed, are considered in the nine semester hours. If a student's disciplinary status is affected by the change of an "I" (incomplete) grade, the appropriate action is taken at the end of the term in which the grade change was made. Should a graduate student have a "D" grade or less than the 3.00 grade point average at any review point, the student will be placed on Scholastic Probation for the next nine hours of course work at the University. During that period, the student must do the following:
- Raise the overall grade point average to 3.00.
- Receive no grades of "D" or "F" in any course.
- Repeat any course in which a "D" was earned, when the course is next offered.
If these conditions are not met, the student will be placed on Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal from the University for at least one full term or two summer sessions.
Readmission to the program will be permitted only if it is recommended by the student's advisor and the dean/director of the College or School. If student wishes to appeal immediately, the instructions below will apply. If student accepts the withdrawal, he/she must contact Office of Admissions to seek readmission.
A grade of "F" in a graduate course results in Enforced Scholastic Withdrawal without a prior period of Scholastic Probation and discontinuance in the program except upon special recommendation of the dean of the College or School.
The student is expected to have acquired the knowledge and skills delineated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that are necessary for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC). Students are evaluated with both formative and summative assessments to ensure they are achieving the skills required for certification and licensure.
Assessment of students’ compliance with non-academic (clinical) requirements involves the professional judgment of faculty and administrators who have the responsibility for insuring that appropriate speech and language and swallowing services are provided to the public. It is OLLU's responsibility to protect both students and the clients they serve. To insure student compliance, faculty review student progress at least once a semester. Potential problems are raised as soon as possible with the student and when appropriate, an individualized remediation plan is designed by the clinical faculty in collaboration with the Clinic Director. Students are given time to respond and provided opportunities and additional support designed to help them succeed. However, on rare occasions, it is necessary to counsel students out of the program for non-academic/clinical reasons. For additional information see the Clinic Handbook.
M.A. Thesis Option
The thesis is a collaborative endeavor between faculty and student designed to develop scholarly abilities that align with the program's clinician-scholar model. Students who choose to complete a thesis enroll in 3-6 hours of thesis credit to include any combination of CDIS 8391/8291/8191 (Thesis in Communication Disorders) and CDIS 7391 (Problems in Communication Disorders) at the discretion of the thesis director. The thesis option will require the student to take 3-6 hours more than the 49 required credit hours. Thesis students are not required to enroll in CDIS 7353 (Research and Efficacy). However, they are required to attend the first 5 instructional classes of this course on research design, efficacy of data, and ethics in research. Selection of a thesis topic is a shared responsibility between the student and thesis director. All members of the thesis committee are invited and appointed by the thesis director. The thesis director serves as the thesis committee Chairperson. The thesis committee shall be comprised of a minimum of three members who hold graduate faculty status: the major professor (committee Chairperson), a second faculty member in the department, and a third faculty member from outside the department. A graduate faculty member from outside the department will be assigned by the Office of Academic Affairs as Graduate Faculty Representative (4th reader). In the event there are 3 committee members from the student's department, the faculty member from outside the department as selected for the committee may serve as Graduate Faculty Representative (4th reader) with approval from the VPAA. See the CDIS Thesis Handbook for more detail.
Students who do not choose the thesis option are required to complete an individual research project in CDIS 7353 (Research and Efficacy).
Students may file complaints according to the policies and procedures outlined in the OLLU Student Handbook. These include policies for academic complaints, sexual harassment, and standards of student conduct related to items like dishonesty and plagiarism. Processes for complaints/appeals vary depending on the category. Students may consult with their advisor or student support services regarding appropriate procedures as outlined in the OLLU Student Handbook.
Faculty and students are treated in a non-discriminatory manner. No individuals shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran.
Student Academic Grievance
Complaints related to graduate education should be submitted to the Chair of the Council on Academic Accreditation. Procedures for submitting complaints are listed below and also listed with the Harry Jersig Speech-Language-Hearing Center information:
Complaints to The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) by any Interested Party
Any individual who feels that it is necessary to contact the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) should follow the guidelines established by the CAA. These guidelines can be found on ASHA’s website and are entitled Procedures for Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs. Note that the CAA is only contacted in cases of most serious offenses related to the Communication Disorders program’s compliance with accreditation standards. The CAA is concerned primarily with ASHA’s accreditation standards for programs that train students to become speech-language pathologists and audiologists and therefore should not be contacted for the purpose of airing complaints of a general or unspecified nature. Complaints to the CAA can also involve behavior that you suspect is in violation of the ASHA Code of Ethics. To view the Code of Ethics, visit ASHA’s website. All complaints must be signed and submitted in writing to: Chair, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, American Speech- Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Blvd., #301, Rockville, MD 20850. The CAA will not accept complaints delivered by e-mail or facsimile.
Our Lady of the Lake University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Our Lady of the Lake University that fall under one of these areas: (1) to learn about the accreditation status of the institution, (2) to file a third-party comment at the time of the institution’s decennial review, or (3) to file a complaint against the institution for alleged non-compliance with a standard or requirement.