Since its inception, students applying to the University’s Speech-Language Pathology
(SLP) program require specific prerequisite courses. In the past, those students would need to go somewhere else to fulfill this requirement.
But starting this fall, that’s going to change. Prospective students will be able to get that coursework through the SLP track in the University’s Post-baccalaureate program. And, what will set the program apart from others is prospective SLP students will now receive hands-on, patient-interaction experiences in the Post-bacc program, which will give them the best chance to get into a graduate program, either at Salus or someplace else.
“The genesis of the project was how do we meet this need for our future students? There will be more value added if we could give them what they need here at Salus and not send them someplace else,” said Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP
, chair and director of the SLP department at Salus.
Two years ago, when the University started its Post-bacc program in Health Sciences, Serianni was able to give input on some of the course content. At the time, the team talked about what was needed for specific University programs like SLP, Occupational Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies.
But speech pathology programs in general are particular in what they require of students to get into a master’s program, those core courses that SLP students must have as part of an undergraduate program.
“Slowly but surely, we thought about how do we create those necessary classes so that we become a one-stop shop?” said Serianni. “So we develop one, given the bones of the larger Post-bacc certificate that we offer here, but nuancing it for speech pathology students.”
Salus — like most other graduate schools — requires 10 prerequisite SLP courses. The Post-bacc Health Sciences and SLP students, of which Serianni said will include up to five students to start, will take four overlapping core courses together. Then there will be six SLP-specific courses, three of which students will take in the fall and three in the spring, which will offer hands-on clinical experience as part of the training. That’s different than any other Post-bacc program in the nation, according to Serianni.
“By adding the patient-care experience, which is for both the general and the SLP Post-bacc programs, that will really set the Salus Post-bacc students apart. Nobody else is doing that,” he said.
Darryl Horn, PhD, FAAO
, associate professor in the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University and director of the Post-baccalaureate program in Health Sciences
, said the original Post-bacc curriculum only covered a couple of the SLP prerequisites.
“The new SLP track has courses that are content specific and will allow any student to meet not only the prerequisite courses required but also the clinical observation hours needed to apply to the SLP master’s program,” said Horn, who added that Post-bacc class sizes will remain relatively the same.
According to Horn, the Post-bacc program has implemented mock interviews so students can be more prepared for admission interviews once they apply to their desired programs. This coming fall, the program plans on teaming the Post-bacc students with members of the Salus admissions staff to aid in the influx of applications. And, the program is currently exploring the implementation of a test prep course to help students prepare for admission entrance exams.
An interprofessional teaching team will teach the SLP courses. Serianni said there might be a hybrid or online component to the SLP track, but the department does expect the students to work together to experience the small, intimate, and face-to-face experience.
“We feel like that’s going to give them the best chance to get into a graduate program of their choice, maybe even right here at Salus,” he said.