More than 100 invited speech-language pathologists, including department chairs, clinical coordinators, and practitioners from health care, school, and private- practice settings, convened in New Orleans to brainstorm issues related to future speech-language pathology education and preparation at the Speech-Language Pathology Education Summit Feb. 1-4.
The conference was designed to explore, develop, and extend paradigms for the preparation of successful speech-language pathologists of the future through presentations, general sessions, eight breakout groups, and a town meeting. ASHA led a group that included the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), and the Council for Clinical Certification (CFCC).
Speakers included several leading SLPs, including keynoter Danielle Ripich, president of the University of New England, who alerted participants to college enrollment demographics through 2020 and to other factors that will affect future SLPs. Gloria Kellum, vice chancellor of university relations and professor of communicative disorders at the University of Mississippi, addressed training models from other professions; John Bernthal, chair of the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska, spoke on the current model of speech-language pathology education.
At lunch on Friday, Joe Melcher, program director at Xavier University, and Paula S. Currie, department head of communication sciences and disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University, showed slides of the effects of Hurricane Katrina's destruction on their universities and described their personal experiences.
An Agenda for Change
The goal of the conference was not to identify solutions for educating SLPs, but to discuss the issues and develop a list of next steps, including:
- Further exploration of pedagogy of communication sciences and disorders from a scientific perspective
- Problem-based and interactive clinical fellowship experiences
- Technology in teaching, particularly clinical teaching
- The need for universities to explore the clinical doctorate as an advanced degree, not as an entry-level degree
- The high level of clinical knowledge and expertise needed to work in both health care and educational settings
Each of these topics will be explored in a series of articles in The ASHA Leader. In addition, ASHA will host chat sessions on each topic.
Conference proceedings will be available later this year.