Summit Focuses on Future of Doctoral Education in Audiology During the past several months I had the opportunity to work in partnership with representatives from the ASHA Executive Board, the Council on Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), and the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) on a project designed to further the ... Academic Edge
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Academic Edge  |   March 01, 2005
Summit Focuses on Future of Doctoral Education in Audiology
Author Notes
  • Stephanie Davidson, is an audiologist and associate professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University. She is currently serving as ASHA Vice President for Academic Affairs. Contact her via e-mail at strang.7@osu.edu.
    Stephanie Davidson, is an audiologist and associate professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at The Ohio State University. She is currently serving as ASHA Vice President for Academic Affairs. Contact her via e-mail at strang.7@osu.edu.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / Academic Edge
Academic Edge   |   March 01, 2005
Summit Focuses on Future of Doctoral Education in Audiology
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 4-13. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.10042005.4
The ASHA Leader, March 2005, Vol. 10, 4-13. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.10042005.4
During the past several months I had the opportunity to work in partnership with representatives from the ASHA Executive Board, the Council on Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), and the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) on a project designed to further the development and improvement of doctoral education in audiology. In January this work culminated in a national summit on the education of audiologists, the “Audiology Education Summit; A Collaborative Approach” (see sidebar).
At the summit we, as attendees, were asked to imagine the ideal audiologist-the audiologist we would choose for our children, our parents, or ourselves. We were then asked to envision the education that this audiologist would need in order to become that professional. Finally, we were asked to think about this ideal while attempting to go beyond the inherent biases caused by our professional affiliation(s), the size and type of our academic program, or our work setting. The spirited discussions that ensued over the two and a half days of the conference were a joy to behold.
Academic faculty, researchers, and clinicians engaged in lively and intense discussions concerning the optimal characteristics of doctoral programs. For some characteristics (e.g., the breadth and depth of the curriculum) there seemed to be general agreement; most participants believed that all aspects of the scope of practice should be covered, but would not necessarily need to be covered to the same degree. For other characteristics (e.g., research requirements), further discussion is needed.
Personally, I found the discussion of topics where differences of opinion existed to be the most valuable, as knowledge concerning areas of disagreement is important for framing future discussions.
I was especially pleased by the sense of camaraderie achieved during the conference, given the potential for the conference to break down in response to personal biases. Prior to the conference, we heard from some “nay sayers,” who purported, “the issues have already been resolved” or that, “everyone already has their programs in place.”
Certainly, we need to recognize and appreciate all of the effort that has occurred over the past 20 years; clearly, we would not be where we are today without the pioneers of the audiology doctoral movement. But, just as clearly, we cannot stop here. One had only to attend the conference and see the energy devoted to the issues to realize that individuals in academic and clinical settings are dedicated to improving doctoral education for audiologists and eager for further discussion and guidance.
The summit advisory committee is making plans for the dissemination of conference outcomes. A report on the conference will be given at the upcoming CAPCSD meeting in April, and a full report of the conference will be available this summer. Just as importantly, though, is where do we go from here? What are the areas most in need of discussion and resolution?
Three areas immediately come to my mind. Two of the areas, the optimal undergraduate preparation for entering students and the expected research competencies of graduates, seem to fit within the purview of the CAPCSD, and it is my hope that these areas will be the focus of future initiatives by the CAPCSD (either independently or in collaboration with other organizations). The third area is discussion of issues related to the clinical placements needed by doctoral students throughout their programs.
Advanced clinical education is a complicated matter and involves questions related to the qualifications of students, sites and supervisors, as well as the thorny issues related to credentialing, reimbursement and stipends. To this end, plans are underway for Audiology Education Summit II, to be held early in 2006.
Although planning for this conference is just beginning, preliminary discussions have focused on a conference that will bring together academic and clinical faculty, practicing clinicians, and specialists in reimbursement and licensure in order to discuss ways to resolve some of the problems that occur in this complex and challenging area.
This is an exciting time to be an audiologist in an academic setting, and I am so pleased to see what we have been able to accomplish regarding doctoral education in audiology.
I am truly looking forward to seeing what we can achieve for the future if we continue to work in a collaborative manner.
Highlights of the Summit

The goal of the “Audiology Education Summit; A Collaborative Approach,” was to identify and describe indicators of quality that could be used to assist programs in developing, evaluating, and enhancing clinical doctoral education in audiology. The summit considered various questions involved with the professional doctorate in audiology (Note: One or two academic programs use a degree designator other than the AuD and the CAA currently does not require the degree designator of AuD). The questions were developed by the summit advisory committee, which planned the meeting.

The often intense discussions were immediately converted into PowerPoint slides, which were critiqued after each session of brainstorming. The group discussed more than 100 issues and came to some general agreements on the “essential characteristics” of an AuD program.

Preliminary Agreements

A majority of attendees agreed that professional doctoral programs in audiology should be four years in length. Other recommendations covered a host of topics, such as the preferred duration of programs; the importance of having an adequate, full-time faculty with significant clinical experience; the characteristics of quality supervision; and the desired nature of interactions between academic and clinical aspects of programs.

Participants represented academic and clinical faculty from 47 programs that offer the clinical doctorate in audiology, eight clinic entities, and the summit co-sponsors. Large and small programs were represented. ASHA President Dolores Battle also participated in the summit.

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March 2005
Volume 10, Issue 4