Major Spotlight: Communication Disorders

Communication disorders is a major which is designed to prepare students for graduate school in order to receive certification or licensure in speech-language pathology or audiology.

Kirsten Titze ’16, a communication disorders and special education double major who is preparing to become a speech-language pathologist, shares her thoughts on the major:

“I think communication disorders is unique because we cover a wide range of topics. We learn how to perform a hearing exam, learn about language development in children, learn the anatomy of the speech process, the science behind how we hear, and the phonetic alphabet. What drew me into the major is that it is a health profession but it is not overly science heavy.”

Most of the students who study communication disorders go into speech therapy and a few go into audiology. Once they become a speech therapist, they can work in many settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and private practice.

“I think that Augustana’s communication disorders department prepares me for my future in many ways,” Titze said. “We get a lot of hands-on experience at the undergrad level in both speech therapy and audiology. We can then apply what we learn in class right away and know if this is the right fit for us. I also think that the department has done a good job setting up the course work to align with graduate schools.

Next semester, Titze, along with other juniors in the program, will start doing their own case work in schools around Sioux Falls.

The department is staffed by caring faculty. Dr. Karen Mahan is a speech-language pathologist and Dr. Perry Hanavan is an audiologist.

“I think so far I have had Dr. Mahan for five classes and Dr. Hanavan for three,” Titze said. “This definitely helps build a personal relationship between students and professors.”