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Graduate Communication Sciences and Disorders Program Added

by William Nolan, '15, Staff Writer for The Ionian, Student Newspaper

Iona continues to expand its catalog of graduate options with a new Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) graduate program.

Although the program has yet to be accredited, its “pre-accreditation” status will allow CSD graduate classes to begin in the fall of 2014.

“The CSD program is a 58-credit graduate program that leads to a Master of Arts degree,” said Dr. Dorothy Leone, who is an assistant professor and the CSD program director. “The program prepares future speech language pathologists and provides the entry-level degree for the field.”

According to Leone, the faculty members of the speech department have been working towards state and national accreditation for the CSD graduate program for several years.

Current undergraduate speech majors have also been very involved in the accreditation process.

“From my knowledge, all of the faculty involved in the speech department has worked very hard to achieve accreditation,” said Alexa Magalhaes, a senior speech major. “I personally was involved in the student interview process with members of the national board during accreditation.”

“The faculty encouraged students to be honest in explaining what expectations we had for a graduate program here at Iona as well as improvements or changes that they felt could be made in the undergraduate program,” Magalhaes said.

With graduate CSD courses beginning in the fall of 2014, the only question remaining is in regards to the size of enrollment in the new program.

“Undergraduate speech path majors have shown a ton of interest in continuing their academic careers at Iona - the response from our current student body has been wonderful,” said Leone. “Students are excited to apply to our program.”

Current undergraduate speech students echoed this sentiment, as some of them have already applied to the program.

“I am hoping that this great experience at Iona can extend into the graduate level as well,” said Magalhaes. “I am currently in the process of applying to the graduate program and if I am offered admission, Iona is my first choice of enrollment.”

The CSD graduate program is aimed at preparing future speech language pathologists for an entry-level position in the field.
As such, the program includes required clinical work in addition to a national standardized test at the conclusion of graduate study.

“Students will take a national examination (called the PRAXIS) at the end of their master’s career, have to fulfill clinical requirements (they need 400 clinical clock hours), and submit applications to our national certification office (the American Speech Language Hearing Association) and, in some cases, state licensing offices in order to gain full certification,” wrote Leone in an email. “As an Iona graduate myself, I couldn’t be prouder, as a department, we look forward to the next steps and are excited to welcome our first class in Fall 2014.”