Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

CSD Master’s Program to be at Augustana College

(left to right) Director of Facilities Joe Scifo and Dr. Kathy Jakielski meet to go over the details of the layout for the new CSD building. Photo by Kevin Donovan

In June of 2020, a 24-month Master’s program will become available to Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) majors at Augustana College.
According to Dr. Jakielski, department chair and full-time professor in the CSD department, the department was asked by administration to do a study to see if a master’s program would be beneficial for the college approximately eight years ago. At the time, it was decided that the department was not in a place for expansion, as professors were unable to figure out a way to keep the integrity of the undergraduate program while at the same time having a graduate program.
Then, five years ago, Vice President Kent Barnds gave a talk about attracting students to Augustana, asking faculty: “Can you think of ways to make your department a destination for a student?”
In response to this question, Dr. Jakielski revisited the idea of a CSD graduate program, thinking, “If we could design a master’s program that was geared towards keeping our own students as our master’s students, that would probably be really attractive to a lot of students because right now, in the Midwest, for every 25 seats in graduate school for CSD, there are probably 300 applications. So, it’s really competitive, and we have such strong students and our students do so many amazing things in our program, and then to watch them have to fight and scrap to get one of those seats is hard. It’s hard on them, hard for them, and it’s hard for us as a faculty.”
Dr. Jakielski then pitched her idea to the department and everyone went for it, embracing the challenge to build a graduate program that wasn’t “second rate,” and as good as the undergraduate.
Olivia Helton, sophomore going through the CSD program, is excited about the new opportunity. “I think it will be a great opportunity for Augie students who are majoring in CSD to have Augie as an option. Not only will we already know the professors, but also the [Quad City] area.”
With the new graduate program comes construction and renovation of the Brodahl building, new classes and faculty, and only 20 available Augustana student slots.
Dr. Haskill is a CSD professor who shares in daily paperwork and the development process of the program alongside Dr. Jakielski. She also serves as the Center Director for the clinic on campus and is currently working on securing externships for the graduate program.
According to Dr. Haskill, “We have a need for our master’s students to get a large number of hours—they actually need 375 clinic contact hours—and so they would accomplish that both here, in two semesters of clinic, but then also externships out in the community.” Because students need so many hours, it was determined that the need the community has for CSD services can only sustain 20 students.
As for the program, Dr. Jakielski said that students will participate in “master’s degree classes that are, for the most part, clinically based. So, there will be classes in one or two specialty areas. There will be a class on diagnosing and interventions for autism, a course on dysphasia, one on counseling—they’re very focused on clinical practice.”
Dr. Haskill adds that differing from undergraduate students, “Master’s students will be able to do more evaluations, with the testing of individuals. Otherwise, they will have a heavier caseload, but the same types of clients that they’ve always had.”
To accommodate the program, the Brodahl building on campus “will more than double” according to Dr. Jakielski. “Where there are two parking spots for handicap hangars and stuff, and then the house next door—that is where the new building is going up.”
“We will be having some things that will be unique. We will be having an observation room where families can watch their children or loved one’s sessions. We will also have two additional classrooms, and a lot more conference space,” Dr. Haskill said. “Right now most of our clients come for one hour a week. When we start the master’s program we actually will offer, we believe, up to two 45-minute sessions, so they’ll have the opportunity to be seen more. This is because we are adding additional therapy space.”
Moreover, to aid in this transition, the department will take on two new tenure-track professors and three clinical faculty members who will be in charge of supervising students during clinical work both on and off campus.
As for tuition, Dr. Jakielski said “Financial aid for any graduate program is different than for undergraduates, so regular scholarships and stuff don’t apply. So, the tuition for the master’s program is going to look lower than for the undergraduate degree. We’re going to competitively price the graduate program, though. We’ve met several times with administration—we haven’t worked out what that price will be—but it’s going to be competitive with other programs across the Midwest.”
Overall, faculty and staff are very excited and supportive of the new program. According to Ashleigh Johnston, the Director of Public Relations and Social Media, “The addition of the speech-language pathology master’s program will give our students the opportunity to seamlessly transition from their undergraduate studies, meet with more clients and therefore get more hands-on experience to prepare them for their careers. The mutual benefits between our students and community members in need of speech-language pathology makes the master’s program a wonderful addition to Augustana and only further enhances our reputation as a college that is meeting the demands of an evolving population and marketplace.”
Photo: (left to right) Director of Facilities Joe Scifo and Dr. Kathy Jakielski meet to go over the details of the layout for the new CSD building. Photo by Kevin Donovan

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CSD Master’s Program to be at Augustana College