American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), founded in 1925, is a national voluntary membership association whose primary scientific and professional focus is on human communication behavior and disorders. According to Association Bylaws, Article II, the purposes of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association are to:
• encourage basic scientific study of the processes of individual human communication with special reference to speech, language, hearing, and related disorders;
• promote high standards and ethics for the academic and clinical preparation of individuals entering the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders;
• promote the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for those within the discipline;
• promote investigation, prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of human communication and related disorders;
• foster improvement of clinical services and intervention procedures concerning such disorders;
• stimulate the exchange of information among persons and organizations and disseminate such information;
• inform the public about communication sciences and disorders, related disorders, and the professionals who provide services;
• advocate on behalf of persons with communication and related disorders;
• promote the individual and collective professional interests of the members of the Association.
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
Effective January 1, 1996, the Educational Standards Board was replaced by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), having responsibility for oversight of the accreditation of graduate education programs that prepare entry-level professionals in audiology and in speech-language pathology (LC 25-94, LC 26-94, LC 27-94, and LC 28-96 [PDF]). The CAA is charged with establishing, defining, monitoring, and implementing accreditation of graduate education programs. “Graduate” refers to post-baccalaureate programs leading to a master's or doctoral degree, whether offered through graduate or professional schools. The charge to the CAA by act of the Legislative Council (LC 26-94) is to:
• formulate standards for the accreditation of graduate education programs that provide entry-level professional preparation in audiology or speech-language pathology,
• evaluate programs that voluntarily apply for accreditation,
• grant certificates and recognize those programs deemed to have fulfilled requirements for accreditation,
• maintain a registry of holders of such certificates,
• prepare and furnish to appropriate persons and agencies lists of accredited programs.
The following excerpt from the ASHA Bylaws relates to the role of the CAA in defining and implementing the standards for accreditation:
ARTICLE VIII - Professional Standards and Ethics
8.2 Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
The Association, by action of the Board of Directors, shall establish and maintain a program of academic accreditation. The Association shall establish the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), which shall define the standards for the accreditation of graduate education programs and apply those standards in the accreditation of such programs. The CAA may also develop standards and processes for approval for programs that prepare support personnel. Members of the CAA shall be appointed following policies established by the CAA and shall have final authority to establish the standards and processes for academic accreditation. Subject to the application of established appeal procedures, the decisions of the CAA concerning the award, withholding, or withdrawal of academic accreditation shall be final.
A. Role and Value of Accreditation in the Professions
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) interest in accreditation is based upon the belief that all professions that provide services to the public have an obligation to ensure, as far as possible, that services provided by its members are of high professional quality. One effective way in which this obligation can be met is by establishing appropriate standards of educational quality and by identifying publicly those education programs that meet or exceed these standards. Accreditation is intended to protect the interests of students, benefit the public, and improve the quality of teaching, learning, research, and professional practice. Through its accreditation standards, the accrediting body encourages institutional freedom, ongoing improvement of institutions of higher education and graduate education programs, sound educational experimentation, and constructive innovation.
The accreditation process involves evaluating programs in light of their own mission, goals and education models—judging the degree to which a program has achieved those goals and objectives. Therefore, the CAA does not explicitly prescribe the processes by which the program’s outcomes should be reached; rather, it evaluates a program’s success in achieving outcomes and goals that are consistent with its stated mission (including religious mission, if relevant). If a program’s goals and education model are clearly and accurately described, the different “publics” served by this program should be able to make intelligent and informed decisions about the quality of the program and the qualifications of the students it educates.
B. Benefits of CAA Accreditation
The public is assured that accredited programs in audiology and in speech-language pathology are evaluated extensively and conform to standards established by the professions. Students can identify those education programs that meet their chosen profession's standards for a high-quality education. Accreditation offers students the assurance that the academic and clinical education provided by the graduate education program will prepare them for entry into the professions. For example, the ASHA Standards and Implementation Procedures for the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in audiology and in speech-language pathology require that applicants obtain a graduate degree from a CAA-accredited program, which automatically satisfies the academic and clinical practicum requirements for the CCC. Similarly, graduates from CAA-accredited programs will be prepared to meet state licensing and/or state teacher certification requirements, if these elements are included in the program goals. Colleges and universities benefit from the stimulus for self-evaluation and self-directed improvement that the accreditation process provides. The professions benefit from their members' vital input into the standards established for the graduate education of future professionals.
C. Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs
A complaint about any accredited program or program in candidacy status may be submitted by any individual(s).
Criteria for Complaints
Complaints about programs must meet all of the following criteria:
a. be against an accredited graduate education program or program in candidacy status in audiology or speech-language pathology;
b. relate to the Standards for Accreditation of Entry-Level Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, including the relationship of the complaint to the accreditation standards;
c. be clearly described, including the specific nature of the charge and the data to support the charge;
d. be within the timelines specified below:
• if the complaint is being filed by a graduate or former student, or a former faculty or staff member, the complaint must be filed within one year of separation* from the program, even if the conduct occurred more than 4 years prior to the date of filing the complaint;
• if the complaint is being filed by a current student or faculty member, the complaint must be filed as soon as possible, but no longer than 4 years after the date the conduct occurred;
• if the complaint is being filed by other complainants, the conduct must have occurred at least in part within 4 years prior to the date the complaint is filed.
*Note: For graduates, former students, or former faculty or staff filing a complaint, the date of separation should be the date on which the individual was no longer considered a student in or employee of the graduate program (i.e., graduation, resignation, official notice of withdrawal or termination), and after any institutional grievance or other review processes have been concluded.
Complaints also must meet the following submission requirements:
a. include verification, if the complaint is from a student or faculty/instructional staff member, that the complainant exhausted all pertinent institutional grievance and review mechanisms before submitting a complaint to the CAA;
b. include the complainant’s name, address, and telephone contact information and the complainant’s relationship to the program in order for the Accreditation Office staff to verify the source of the information;
c. be signed and submitted in writing via U.S. mail, overnight courier, or hand delivery—not via e-mail or as a facsimile—to :
Chair, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #310
Rockville, MD 20850
The complainant’s burden of proof is a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence. These procedures do not prevent the CAA from considering a complaint against an accredited or candidate program if the program is involved in litigation or other actions by a third party.