The KU intercampus program in communicative disorders is celebrating 50 years of accreditation

May 01, 2015

By Greg Peters

The University of Kansas Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders (ICPD) is celebrating its 50th anniversary of accreditation this year by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The Kansas Senate honored the program on May 1 with a resolution proposed by Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, Senate assistant minority leader, stating "we congratulate and commend 50 years of accreditation for the University of Kansas' graduate programs in speech, language and hearing."

KU's IPCD program, which traces its origins to as early as 1952, was the first to be accredited by the ASHA and is the longest-running program spanning the Lawrence and Medical Center campuses. Students in IPCD's graduate programs take part in classes on both campuses, while undergraduates do all their work on main campus.

"This tribute pays homage to the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff and hundreds of students who have been part of the IPCD over the past 60 years, said John Ferraro, Ph.D., chair of Department of Hearing and Speech at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "It not only calls attention to our success in preparing students for their careers, it acknowledges the clinical and research activities in which we engage to help people of all ages with speech/language/hearing problems."

In Lawrence, the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders, is chaired by professor Holly Storkel, Ph.D. At KU Medical Center, the Department of Hearing and Speech is led by professor Ferraro, who is also associate dean for research for the School of Health Professions.

"One of the most often cited strengths of our program by our students is the diverse expertise of our faculty and the wide array of clinical training opportunities," Storkel said. "Those strengths would not be possible if we mounted our programs separately rather than as an intercampus partnership."

KU's Department of Speech-Language-Hearing started in 1923 and the Department of Hearing and Speech was founded in 1949. The two departments had significant collaboration as early as 1952, with Richard Schiefelbusch serving as the group's first chair, although the IPCD was not formally recognized by the university until the early 1960s.

The program's origins are credited to Schiefelbusch and Margaret (Peg) Byrne on the Lawrence campus, and June Miller at KU Medical Center. More than 2,000 students have graduated from the IPCD during its long and successful history. Miller, who was the first chair of the hearing and speech department, was appointed in 1949 and served 34 years. Ferraro began his tenure in 1984 also serves as the IPCD's director on the medical center campus, while Storkel began her term as IPCD's director in Lawrence in 2013. The Hearing and Speech Department was a charter member when the School of Allied Health (now the School of Health Professions) was formed in 1974 at the medical center.

"Kudos to the founders who had the foresight to recognize the importance of national accreditation during our formative years," Ferraro said. "The standards set forth by ASHA have helped us maintain the highest levels of academic and clinical preparation for our students. Our goal has always been to not only meet these standards but to exceed them."

The IPCD offers a variety of degrees from bachelor's to doctorates. The Kansas Board of Regents recently approved a clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology (SLPD) that will launch in the fall. The IPCD also offers a clinical doctorate in audiology, which was established in 2003, along with long-standing degree programs leading to the Master of Arts in speech-language pathology and a Doctor of Philosophy in both speech-language pathology and audiology.

"As we look to the future, we plan to continue to stay on the cutting edge of training," Storkel said. "We consistently evaluate the success of our programs to ensure that we are continuing to provide the top-notch training that graduates need to succeed in the workplace, which is constantly changing as the field advances."

Last modified: Oct 20, 2016
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