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Released June 23, 2005


HATTIESBURG – The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has gained approval for a new Clinical Doctorate Audiology program, scheduled to begin in August 2005.

Five years in the making, the program was accredited by The Council on Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in January. It is the only such program in the state.

The endorsement comes on the heels of new certifications adopted by the ASHA in 1997, one of them requiring new audiologists to obtain a doctoral degree.

Although Southern Miss has offered a master's degree in audiology for many years, the degree will no longer be sufficient for certification as an audiologist, according to Dr. Steve Oshrin, Southern Miss speech and hearing sciences professor.

Oshrin said immediately following the approval of the new certification rules that the faculty began long-range planning and developed a proposal for the new Doctor of Audiology degree in 2000. The proposal was approved by the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Council in 2001 and was submitted to the Institute for Higher Learning (IHL) in July 2001.

After IHL approval, a lengthy and detailed substantive change proposal was developed and submitted to the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of ASHA in 2003. Following a rigorous review, the CAA approved the proposal last January.

The green light came just in time as the ASHA's doctorate-level certification standard is set to take effect January 2007.

"Although Mississippi had two master's programs in audiology-Ole Miss and USM-Ole Miss decided not to upgrade to the Au.D., so Southern Miss is the only program in the state," said Oshrin.

Oshrin said the department will admit their first students in August. Six to eight students will be admitted yearly.

Associate Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences Dr. Lee Terrio, one of four key players involved in the accreditation process, said the curriculum emphasizes the development of clinical skills. "Students will work in the Audiology Clinic at the university as they complete their course work," he said.

Terrio said the final academic year for participants will consist of full-time clinical placement at an off-campus site.

For more information on the doctoral audiology program, please contact Dr. Steve Oshrin or Dr. Lee Terrio at (601) 266 5216.


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July 22, 2005 2:19 PM