Academic programs in speech-language and hearing sciences at the University of Kansas began in the Department of Speech and Dramatic Art in 1923 on KU's main campus in Lawrence, Kansas. The Department of Hearing and Speech was formed in 1949 as a separate unit dedicated to the study of these fields. Its first chair was June Miller, who held the position from 1949 to 1983.
In 1952, the hearing and speech programs expanded to the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas, and would later result in the formation of the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders. By 1953, a master's degree in audiology was offered to prospective students. Dr. Richard Schiefelbusch served as the first chair of the new intercampus group, and it was the first program of its kind to be accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Today, it is the university's longest-running program that spans both campus locations.
The Department of Hearing and Speech was one of the charter member departments of the new School of Allied Health (now the School of Health Professions) when it was formed in 1974 at the medical center. John Ferraro was appointed department chair to succeed Miller, in 1983, and served in this role until 2018. Tiffany Johnson has held the chair position since.
In 2003, the master’s degree in audiology started a transition to because the entry-level clinical doctorate program in audiology, the Au.D.
Today, the intercampus program offers a master's degree in speech-language pathology, doctoral degress in both audiology and speech-language pathology, as well as research-focused Ph.D. degrees in both fields.
In the fall of 2015, the department established a clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology, the SLPD degree. This is one of the first of its kind to be created in the U.S.
50 Years of Accreditation Recognized in State Capitol
On May 1, 2015, state legislators in Topeka congratulated and honored 50 years of accreditation for the University of Kansas graduate programs in speech, language and hearing with senate resolution no. 1738. Read the full resolution (PDF).
The university's graduate education programs in audiology and in speech-language pathology have been continuously accredited since May 1965 by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.