Topic-icon What is your opinion about present university curriculums at the Master’s Level?

10 Jul 2011 18:57 - 12 Aug 2013 15:21 #41 by Karlene
Karlene created the topic: What is your opinion about present university curriculums at the Master’s Level?
Not good. We need basic courses standardized across the university curriculums. In my “Back to Basics” essay, I have listed some of the courses we need to have standardized in order to graduate SLPs that are state of the art. Field supervisors of externships have been constantly complaining about students coming out of the universities without any dysphagia training, and certainly the curriculums are devoid of any geriatric courses, the ABCs of radiation courses for hospital bound SLPs, dementia courses, Your Responsibilities under the Law courses, add nauseum. Rehabilitation companies should not be charged with training SLPs on basic information in these areas. Frankly, SLPs should come out of the university with the latest and greatest information, and not 20 years behind. CFY Supervisors do not train here from a base knowledge of zero. This day is past. So, in my opinion, the universities need to get serious and revamp their curriculums. ASHA needs to show some strong leadership in this area, but the professors I am in contact with don’t have any hope on this issue.
Last Edit: 12 Aug 2013 15:21 by Costa. Reason: inserted link to back to basics blog

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21 Jul 2013 02:33 #143 by elcharles
elcharles replied the topic: Re: What is your opinion about present university curriculums at the Master’s Le
I would be interested in your opinion about the rise of extreme competitiveness of SLP graduate admissions in recent years. It seems that there is little room for choice as to which program one wishes to attend. One is forced to accept even if it's not the top choice and attend just to get through grad school. I was thinking that the need to create new programs to accommodate the rise in applicants will result in poorly organized programs. It may result in leaving future slp students less prepared.

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10 Aug 2013 13:43 - 12 Aug 2013 15:31 #144 by Karlene
Karlene replied the topic: Re: What is your opinion about present university curricula at the Master’s Leve
This is a critical topic and one that needs to be addressed seriously nationally (ASHA) and within the university systems across the nation. Our profession, just like every other profession, expands in scope continuously. But, unlike other professions, our leaders do not define new branches, specialties, or divisions. For example, engineering is constantly expanding into new divisions/specialties i.e., civil engineering, power engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, computer engineering, etc. I think you get the idea. Instead, speech language pathology remains static with university curricula remaining the same over decades even though our responsibilities under the law and ASHA position statements are constantly expanding. As an example, the ever increasing dominance of organic dysphagia and the dementia disorders in our SNF and LTC facilities require strong SLP skill sets the first day the SLP steps into the real, legal world of speech language pathology. And yet, dementia and dysphagia coursework is still not standardized across the nation. In my blog on curricula "basics" that are needed by our new SLPs, you will find many areas our universities do not equip our new graduates in, literally sending lambs to the slaughter of RAC teams, Project Restore Trust, State Surveyors, and the Federal Surveyors. There is an inertia in this field that is deadly and jeopardizes the longevity of the field itself. How long will institutions, hospitals, rehab companies, and investigative teams tolerate SLP incompetency born of inadequate curricula at the university level?

What is required to rectify this situation? We not only need to start thinking about SLP specialties, but also the curricula required for those specialties. One simple division, which many have discussed throughout the decades, is splitting Public School/Pediatric Hospital SLPs, and Medical Speech Pathology into separate specialties. This would require specific curricula germane to each division. So, Public School/Pediatric hospital SLPs would have child development coursework, pediatric syndromes, and thorough grounding in the IDEA law, State Public Safety Law, understand the state medicaid system, IEP development, and pediatric dysphagia are just a few course areas. But, the Public School SLP would enter the workforce "knowing" their job! In the Medical Speech Pathology division (hospital, LTC, SNF, etc.), the SLP would have pediatric child development coursework, adult medical disorders, radiology coursework, Legal coursework on Medicare, Medicaid, OBRA guidelines, extensive coursework on adult Long term medical patterns, coursework on all the dementias, and adult dysphagia just to name a few courses in this track. This doesn't necessarily mean a doubling of staff at the universities since there are crossover areas in both divisions. But, it does mean some additional staff, and refocusing on the knowledge needs of the Master's SLP entering the workforce without legal liability for themselves and their companies.

Now, where is the bottleneck. Unfortunately, since speech language pathology as a field has not been evolving over time and in response to the needs of the SLPs in the field, we are now in an urgent state of affairs. More and more legal articles are appearing in the Leader which are helpful, but a little late and in the wrong arena, which should be the university. Now when expansion of speech language pathology departments is needed, budget cut backs are constant at the university level, so that upstaffing within these departments is nearly impossible. Most colleges within the university systems across the country are surviving on research funding either coming from the government, or private companies. However, as the economy is affected, so is the funding coming from the government in particular. Additionally, the history of speech language pathology has never been characterized as a "dynamo" in acquiring large amounts of research funds for graduate research.

So, this is where we are! Small speech language pathology departments, with limited funding for expanded research, static curricula, more master's candidates than spaces available, with more federal legal pressure coming down the line which generates more fines for the companies we work for, and fewer CPT codes to make any money. This is the stuff of bad novels.
Last Edit: 12 Aug 2013 15:31 by Costa. Reason: removing extra spaces

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