SLP Program Requirements, Policies, and Procedures

Clinical Competence

In addition to meeting academic requirements, students specializing in speech-language pathology must demonstrate satisfactory competence in diagnostic and clinical practica. Occasionally the time requirements for the completion of clinical practicum courses may fall outside the regular University calendar. The clinic director and internship coordinator will guide students in planning their clinical experiences so that the students will meet professional certification and licensure requirements.

We work closely with our students to determine when clinical performance suggests a need for increased support. The clinic director will review this process during orientation meetings. A student is permitted to repeat a clinical practicum only once. If a satisfactory grade is not achieved when the practicum is repeated, students will not be permitted to continue in the practicum courses.

Not everyone is suited to work with clients in the clinical field of speech-language pathology even though the student may maintain a satisfactory academic record. The faculty and staff of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders thus reserve the right to counsel students with this in mind, and to recommend a change of academic focus for the student who appears to have personality traits that would prevent the student from being successful in the discipline.

Comprehensive Examination and Thesis/Non-Thesis Research Oral Defense

Every Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) graduate student must complete a capstone requirement of either scholarly research or comprehensive examination.

Research is conducted under the advisement of a faculty member. Students adhere to departmental and graduate school guidelines throughout all phases of the research process, including writing the thesis or non-thesis paper and completing an oral examination/presentation.

The six-hour written comprehensive examination is completed over two quarters. A minimum of 50 graduate credits must be completed before taking comprehensive examinations. The graduate coordinator will provide detailed information about the requirements, preparation, and process.

For details regarding both the capstone research (thesis/non-thesis) and comprehensive examination, the student should consult the Graduate Coordinator.

Professional Certification Requirements

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in speech-language pathology and by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) requirements for Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology stipulate the completion of 400 clock hours of supervised clinical experience; 325 clinical practicum hours must be obtained at the graduate level. The certification standards also require mastery of specific knowledge and skills. During fall graduate program orientation sessions we will review how we foster, assess and track mastery of knowledge and skills. Specific learning objectives related to ASHA certification standards are printed on the syllabus of each graduate course. Consult the ASHA website and Certification Handbook for details.

All students seeking certification as a Speech-Language Pathologist (ESA-SLP) in the public schools in the State of Washington must successfully complete CSD 580, Communication Disorders in Public Schools, during graduate school or a 30 clock-hour initial educational staff associate’s certificate workshop after graduate school. Further information about ESA-SLP certification requirements may be obtained from the Internship Program Director or the Graduate Coordinator.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an educational objective of Western Washington University. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and sharing unauthorized information regarding any coursework. Please consult your current Western General Catalog for specific information about academic dishonesty and the consequences of such actions.

CSD policies for dealing with student complaints, concerns, and grievances

In some cases a student may disagree with a faculty member or clinical educator to the extent that the situation warrants communication and action to reach optimal resolution. The following policies and procedures have been established to guide students and CSD Department members in such situations:

Depending on the nature of the complaint, the student is encouraged to meet with the faculty member/clinical educator who is directly involved in the situation. Both parties will discuss the complaint and attempt appropriate way(s) of managing the identified concern(s).

If the issues cannot be addressed at that level, the student should meet with the department chair to discuss concerns related to the academic program. For concerns related to the clinic program, the student should consult with the clinic director whenever possible. If the student has complaints or concerns regarding the internship, the student should consult with the internship coordinator. In any clinic program cases, the student may consult with the department chair as well.

In all cases, the student may seek the advice of the graduate program coordinator.
The graduate program coordinator is to be informed of major student complaints. The graduate program coordinator will keep a written record of major complaints and how they were addressed.
The clinic director and internship coordinator will keep a record of complaints and how they were addressed at their levels.

The program chair will keep a record of major complaints that are addressed at the chair level.

University policy is followed in cases regarding equal opportunity, sexual harassment, and reasonable accommodation. We also follow the University Academic Grievance and Appeal Policy and Procedures. This information is posted in the online and print copies of the College Catalog.

Records Retention Policies

The CSD Department maintains records in accordance with Western standards. Please see the following links for additional information.