The SUNY New Paltz Speech-Language and Hearing Center and the college’s Communication Disorders Department hosted a public meeting seeking community feedback on their programs.
The meeting took place on Thursday, Oct. 17 and was adjourned by representatives of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in conjunction with the reaccreditation of the Communication Disorders Department and its on-site clinic.
Every eight years, the department and its Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic on campus must be evaluated by these representatives to assure the program is meeting its accreditation standards. As part of this process, ASHA representatives must hold these meetings to gain public feedback on the department, clinic and graduate program.
Six categories are assessed for accreditation in speech language pathology: administration structure and governance, faculty, curriculum, students, assessment and program resources.
The reaccreditation process includes the site visit team gathering evidence -— including interview evidence — to prove the program is meeting these standards.
Purnima Schachter, an administrative assistant in the college’s Center for International Programs, attended the meeting because she has been a regular at the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic for 13 years.
Schachter, who visits the clinic for its hearing aid services, has positive experiences with the service.
“I’m very happy with the clinic — I feel that not everybody can have as great service as I get because I’m working on campus,” she said. “I’ve watched the intern students that are observing and it has always seemed quite professional to me.”
Diana Cunningham, another campus staff member, attended the meeting because she too has had positive experiences with the clinic.
“It’s been about four years since I’ve really had hearing loss, and this year I decided to do something about it,” she said. “I’ve had my hearing aids for a month and a half and I’m so thrilled that it’s available because I would not to have been able to afford them, period. The service has been wonderful — I’m very grateful.”
Winter Eyres, a newly graduated alum of the Masters Program in Speech Pathology, was also at the meeting to give the representatives her feedback.
Eyres said that, although data isn’t always collected in many places, it is enforced in the clinic.
“On campus, you don’t see that many clients -— the most you may see is four,” she said. “But as soon as you go off site [to practice], you get a lot. I know that I got the diversity with all the different disorders and ages.”
Eyres also said the availability of the instructors on campus was wonderful.
“To just be able to ask a quick question and feel like it’s a community — I really [liked] that.”
ASHA Representative Gail Kempster said the process of interviewing individuals who have attended the clinic for its services or are alums of the graduate program is an exponential factor in the reaccreditation process.
“The conversations that we have with students, faculty, and the public help us to verify that the program is meeting some of the standards for accreditation,” she said. “Some public meetings have a lot of people come, some only have a few, but everybody who comes has a tie to the program that makes them meaningful to the program and makes it important to them.”
Although only three people attended the meeting, Kempster said she gained the information that she needed for the records.
“Clearly the community is being well served by the clinic, its supervisors and the students,” she said.
Kempster and her colleagues spent a total of two days at the college in order to write a report to send back to their larger accrediting body, The Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA).
The council will review the program at SUNY New Paltz as well as at other institutions up for reaccreditation this year. According to Kempster, The Council on Academic Accreditation will announce the results of the reaccreditation process of this program at their meeting in late February.