Pacific University's burgeoning doctor of audiology degree (AuD) program has been awarded candidacy accreditation by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA).
Twenty-three students have been accepted into the School of Audiology's AuD program and will comprise the inaugural cohort this fall.
Audiologists diagnose, treat and manage hearing loss and balance problems. They provide specialized assessment protocols to support medical diagnosis and provide rehabilitative services necessary for managing the harmful effects of hearing loss and balance disorders.
By 2018, demand for audiologists is expected to increase by more than 25 percent of the current labor force.
School director Victoria Keetay, PhD, said the CAA's decision to award candidacy accreditation to the AuD program is a strong indicator of its fast progress.
"The process for accreditation is rigorous, as it should be," Keetay said. "We are very pleased the CAA is satisfied with our curriculum proposal, and are committed to providing both the didactic and experiential education to ensure our graduates will practice at the highest level."
Keetay joined Pacific last September as director of the school after serving as senior director of education at the American Academy of Audiology in Reston, Va.
In less than a year, building on Pacific's preliminary work in designing the program, she has successfully developed a unique three-year curriculum and assembled a staff that includes the appointments of three experienced faculty members.
Shilpi Banerjee, PhD, and James A. Baer, AuD, began their tenures at Pacific in June as the School of Audiology's clinical education and academic education directors, respectively. Both are certified in audiology the American Board of Audiology (ABA). Baer also holds certification in audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Banerjee came to Pacific from Starkey Hearing Technologies in Minnesota, where she spent the past five years as a senior research audiologist. During her tenure at Starkey, Banerjee oversaw research activities for 16 hearing aid developments and led multi-disciplinary teams in the development of audiologic tools.
She earned her PhD in communication sciences and disorders from Northwestern University and has taught audiology and hearing courses at Northwestern and Northern Illinois University prior to her time at Starkey.
Baer comes to Pacific from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he served as an assistant professor and director of audiology at the institution.
While there, he helped increase audiology enrollment applications by 400 percent and increase the university's audiology program enrollment by 50 percent. Baer earned his AuD at the University of Louisville.
Keetay recently announced the appointment of David K. Brown, PhD, as an associate professor within the school.
Brown comes to Pacific from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati, where he had been director of audiological research at the Communication Sciences Research Center and assistant professor in both communication sciences & disorders and otolaryngology since 2005.
During that time, Brown also served as an audiology faculty member in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program.
Prior to his tenure at Cincinnati, Brown was an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.
Pacific's AuD program is three years in length, one fewer than most programs. The first year provides the foundation necessary for the practice of audiology. Curriculum in year two is focused in specialty blocks with rotations designed to provide mastery in the specific clinical practice areas addressed in the curriculum.
The final year of the program features full-time clinical placement, as well as seminars and case studies on relevant professional practice issues.
The School of Audiology is part of Pacific University's College of Health Professions. Located in downtown Hillsboro, the college consists of schools of Audiology, Dental Health Science, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies, Professional Psychology, and a Masters of Healthcare Administration program and graduate certificates in Gerontology and Healthcare Compliance.