Augustana College wants to add a master's program in speech-language pathology. So, on Monday, it will hold a public forum to give people an opportunity to learn more.
There's a significant shortage of certified speech-language pathologists, according to Kathy Jakielski, Chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Augustana. So, the college wants to help fill that need.
"There is both a severe and chronic shortage of speech language pathologists across the U.S. that has been projected to last at least until 2025, so we're trying to help address that. And in our own region, the broader Quad Cities area, there is a documented shortage as well."
There are approximately 240 speech-language pathology graduate programs in the United States, and most students first earn a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders.
Jakielski says the department would have 20 seats per year in its two-year master's program. In the first year, students would do coursework and get clinical experience on campus; in the second, they would do their clinical work out in the field.
"They spend one full semester in an adult site: a hospital, a nursing home, or facility such as that. Then, the alternate semester, they spend working in a child site: most likely, one of the public schools."
When the program begins, it will be the only master's program at Augustana; there has only ever been one other master's program in Augustana's history for a brief time in the 1970s.
Monday's meeting for the proposed new program will begin at 5 p.m. in Augustana's Hanson Hall of Science.