Audiology Distance Education Icon Dr. Giri Sundar to Retire
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Audiology Distance Education Icon Dr. Giri Sundar to Retire

Giri with retirement gift

When Giri Sundar, MPhil, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, had her private practice from 1981 to 2006 — well before she joined Salus University in 2010 — many of the current technologies in audiology were in their infancy. Practicing audiologists didn’t know where to go to learn new tools and techniques such as the Auditory Brainstem Responses or understand the science behind developing technologies, such as digital hearing aids.

“That’s the reason I knew it was important for practicing clinicians to have a home where they could reach out and learn and understand developing sciences and current trends,” said Dr. Sundar.

She found that home at the University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) when she arrived in 2010 to take a job as assistant professor and director of the Distance Education programs at OCA. Over the past 14 years, Dr. Sundar has developed the Osborne College of Audiology’s Distance Education programs into one of the most highly regarded programs in the world.

Giri with Presidential MedalAnd now it’s time to call it a career. Dr. Sundar will retire effective June 30, 2024. A retirement luncheon was held in honor June 7, 2024.

“It was time. ‘I’ve helped build programs where practicing clinicians can build on their knowledge & hone their skills, and transfer the knowledge and skills learned immediately to patient care. The programs will continue in their current form and/ or change to other forms” she said, ‘and I know they will endure to benefit the student and thereby the patient.”

Although she’s humble about her contributions to the field of audiology, what Dr. Sundar helped build at OCA is unprecedented. When audiologists all over the world are considering where to go to get the best training possible, OCA is at the top of the list.

It was a long and fulfilling journey for Dr. Sundar. After being in private audiology practice for 26 years, she sold her business and went to India on a three-year contract to be director of business development for Starkey, a hearing aid manufacturer.

During her time in India, Dr. Sundar was recruiting and training audiologists around the country. That sparked her interest in training International audiologists. Upon returning to the United States after her contract expired, she started looking for a job where she could meaningfully contribute to the development and progress of post-professional audiologists.

OCA would provide exactly the opportunity she was seeking. Victor Bray, MSc, PhD, FNAP, then dean of OCA, hired Dr. Sundar to establish the Distance Education 2.0 program.

“Our goal is to assist practicing professional to become good consumers of research and gain further expertise in the current clinical advances,” said Dr. Sundar.

Dr. Sundar said that Drs. Bray and Radhika Aravamudhan, PhD, EdD, dean of OCA since 2019, allowed her the opportunity not only to grow the Distance Education program but to grow with the program.

“They both gave me a free rein and the latitude to develop the programs the way I did. Their confidence in me was a driving force; that which allowed to think and create innovative courses with both depth and functional value,” said Dr. Sundar. “The process of building programs, recruiting faculty from across the country and the world and figuring out the most effective and efficient way of delivering this content to the students has been a very fun job.”

Dr. Sundar has an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences from Queen Mary’s College in Chennai, India; a Master of Science in Communications Disorders/Audiology and a bachelor of science in Speech Pathology from William Patterson College in Wayne, New Jersey; Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and a doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Hearing Sciences from City University of New York.

Although she admits she still has the passion for helping to advance the profession, she’d like to finally find time to read all the books yet to be read on her bookshelves.  She has four grandchildren she’s looking forward to spending time with, as well as traveling, taking long walks and eventually just putting her feet up.

“I am very lucky to have had a joyful job. I have been able to build and sort of curate a program the way I have in this program. The faculty that we have are remarkable people, each and every one of them, and more than being supportive, they are dedicated to training international students,” said Dr. Sundar. “And these faculty are at the leading edge of the sciences in our field. I am grateful to them for helping me build this program. They are the standing pillars of our Distance Education program.”

Giri retirement blanket