American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

What are the greatest challenges facing clinical educators in audiology and speech-language pathology today? How are ASHA and others addressing the challenges?

Securing adequate extern sites, supervisors and preceptors with adequate skills and knowledge in clinical education; adequately assessing student performance in clinical settings, enabling academic and clinical faculty in university programs to better support student learning; ensuring that students receive exposure and training across an ever expanding scope of practice and the need for pedagogy in clinical education are only a few of the challenges facing clinical educators today. Others are similar to those faced by all career professionals, involving acquiring and maintaining skills while remaining energized and inspired by one's work and avoiding burnout.

A number of projects and initiatives are underway to augment resources and information for clinical educators in the professions. Various groups inside and outside ASHA are busy working and collaborating to address the challenges facing clinical faculty, externship supervisors and preceptors, students, and others.

  • The Ad Hoc Committee on Supervision in Speech-Language Pathology met on April 30-May 1 to develop a position statement, technical report, and knowledge and skills document on supervision that will replace ASHA's 1985 position statement. The documents are planned to be available for peer review in September. They will serve to offer guidance in clinical education.
  • ASHA staff from ASHA's Health Services and School Services teams, Academic Accreditation and Academic Affairs units, has been working on promoting the value and benefit of serving as extern site supervisor or preceptor. Their work is part of issues and outcomes related to the Focused Initiative on Personnel Shortages in Education and Health care settings. The team plans to solicit feedback from practicing clinicians and academic programs on successful models of collaboration with extern sites.
  • Special Interest Division 11: Administration and Supervision continues to develop and disseminate resources for clinical faculty and all clinical educators via their listserv and Perspectives newsletters. They will be hosting a pre-Convention workshop, "Advanced Boot Camp in Supervision," at the 2007 ASHA Convention in Boston. Continuing education programs like the Boot Camp increase the knowledge and skills of clinical educators while rejuvenating their commitment to the field.
  • The Quality Indicators for Integration of Clinical Practice and Research: Program Self Assessment Pilot is underway, with over 20 programs agreeing to participate. The quality indicators serve as a tool for use by clinical and academic faculty working together to bridge gaps between theories and practice in the classroom and in the clinic. They were developed by faculty as part of the Focused Initiative on PhD Shortage in Higher Education issue related to addressing research at all levels of education.
  • SLP Summit and Audiology Education Summits I and II, addressed the issues facing clinical education, involved successful collaboration among ASHA, CAA, and CAPCSD. AAA served as a collaborator for Audiology Education Summit II. Participants included faculty, clinicians, and association staff to outline critical issues and suggest strategies for the future of clinical education in the professions. The reports hold a wealth of information for clinical educators in all settings.
  • Higher Education Data System (HES), a new innovative Web based data collection system was launched this year to facilitate data collection from academic programs. Data received from the various survey instruments will allow ASHA and other relevant stakeholders to track trends in higher education in CSD.

One important resource not to be overlooked is ASHA staff and volunteer leadership. Questions, concerns, and comments help the staff develop what members need. Contacting the office with questions, concerns, and comments or volunteering to serve on a committee, board, or working group guarantees success in solving problems.

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This article first appeared in the August 2007 issue of Access Academics and Research.

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