Date Approved

10-2-2017

Embargo Period

10-2-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Educational Leadership (Doctor of Education)

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Coaxum III, James

Second Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica

Third Advisor

Simmerman, Herb

Subject(s)

Speech therapists

Disciplines

Higher Education | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

Upon graduating college, many students seek employment within the degree area in which they obtained. Employers are seeking skills in individuals that encompass interpersonal, technical, analytical, personal, and professional abilities. As with many careers, the allied health field requires content specific knowledge and specialized skills, which indicate sufficient work readiness. The allied health field of speech-language pathology is touted as one of the fastest growing professions in this decade and is in demand. To become a speech-language pathologist, one must complete a master's program and supervised clinical practicums. Despite participating in a master's program with quality curricula, having supervision by a certified speech-language pathologist, and experiencing clinical practicums, some speech-language pathology graduate students have expressed concern with their preparation for the workforce. There is a lack of research on the impact of supervision on speech-language pathology graduate students feeling prepared to render services after completion of several practicums, how practical experiences assist students in meeting ASHA's standards, and the impact of self-efficacy on speech-language pathology graduate students. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore the perceptions of second-year graduate speech-language pathology students on their preparedness for the speech-language pathology workforce through clinical supervision and practicums, examine the impact that clinical supervision, practicum experiences, and self-efficacy had on preparation for the workforce, and explore the perceptions of supervisors on equipping graduate students for the speech-language pathology field. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews, a graphic elicitation, and utilization of the New General Self-Efficacy Scale (Chen, Gully, & Eden, 2001). Results of the study indicated that supervision, clinical practicums, academic preparation, reflection, and confidence impacted the development of a novice to independent speech-language pathology graduate student clinician. Participants noted that supervisors who were supportive, communicative, and understanding were vital for the supervision process. Graduate speech-language pathology students and supervisors alike reported that clinical practicums gave a means for graduate students to directly provide treatment, conduct evaluations with a variety of clients, gain confidence, and become independent as a graduate student clinician. It was discussed that reflection in- and on- practice was important and should be frequent as it helped graduate students adjust their therapy sessions and gave them knowledge on what skills of theirs needed improvement. University program directors and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) may want to consider reviewing their academic coursework content and requirements and supervision and clinical practicum policies. Recommendations for future research included study on instruction of soft skills and global worldview in graduate level courses, collaboration and time management benefits during clinical practicums, simulated therapy as preparatory exposure to therapeutic services experienced in clinical practicums, and two graduate speech-language pathology students being supervised by one field supervisor in a semester.

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