For those who wish to go into clinical work for speech, language and communication disorders, completing a graduate degree at an accredited speech-language pathology program is a necessity. SUNY Plattsburgh just received such reaccreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology that will be recognized through May 2028.
SUNY Plattsburgh’s two-year program includes on-campus clinical experience, as well as traditional classroom learning. The program enables students to access an anatomy lab, a voice and speech lab, and many volunteer opportunities. Students gain the necessary skills to propel them into the workforce.
Michael Morgan, one of the well-established communication sciences & disorders professors at SUNY Plattsburgh, discovered speech pathology while pursuing a degree in psychology. He realized it perfectly combined the skills he’d already adopted, while adding more specific direction and continued to develop his education in the speech pathology field.
“The pandemic made the site visit difficult,” Morgan said about pursuing the reaccreditation, with the program’s site visit being one of the first to undergo the CAA’s accreditation virtually.
Because of the pandemic, the program’s evaluation was pushed to September 2020 after being originally scheduled for March. Due to this delay, the faculty had to update all of their data to fit the new date.
“When our re-accreditation visit was postponed to six months later, not only did we have to prepare for a virtual visit, we also had to prepare additional six months of paperwork on our virtual re-accreditation file,”Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Dr. Sharimila Ambrose said.
While reaccreditation does not change the continued practices of the program, it allows the program a time to evaluate their development and receive suggestions for improvement from ASHA. Morgan said that ASHA suggested SUNY Plattsburgh have “clearer documentation about the total number of credits for someone taking teacher certification track versus licensure only track, more measurable objectives in our strategic plan and some wording on our website.”
According to Ambrose, students of the program have “taken part in specific campus-related activities that promote community awareness, advocacy and/or fundraising in specific areas related to speech-language pathology,” such as the Autism Awareness Walk, The Alzhiemers’ Walk and the Aphasia Choir.
On campus in Sibley Hall, students practice their skills in the speech and hearing clinic, and provide inpatient and outpatient speech-language pathology services for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital. The clinic is open to students, faculty and community members.
In the future, Ambrose hopes the program will be a “catalyst of change in the community we serve, both to the student community and the larger Plattsburgh community.” She emphasizes growth, change and continual self-reflection.
According to Morgan, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association stated the need for speech-language is expected to increase 25% by the year 2029, which shows a large demand for speech-language pathologists and other career opportunities in the field.
“The [Communication Sciences and Disorders] faculty are proud to be part of a profession that makes significant, positive differences in the lives of others and are proud of being part of a department that has just proven that we meet national standards for the field,” Morgan said.