History of the
Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences
According to a history of the program written by Dr. Wayne Thurman, department chair 1962-1984, the first courses in "speech correction" appeared in the EIU catalog in 1947 and were part of a major in "speech." Speech and hearing services were also initiated about that time. The Speech and Hearing Clinic was located in the basement of Pemberton Hall and shared space with the Counseling and Reading Center.
The state's requirements for speech correctionists through student teaching with a "minor concentration" in speech correction emerged at EIU in 1951. Screening of the speech and hearing of all EIU undergraduates was initiated at that time. The first audiologist on faculty at EIU was hired in 1955. The first major in speech correction was initiated about 1957.
In the fall of 1964, the department began offering its major under the newly formed Department of Speech Correction. The program was moved to the newly built Clinical Services Building. At that time, there were only three faculty in the department and the clinic and office space on the second floor were shared with the Counseling and Remedial Reading centers. The program had an undergraduate enrollment of about 20 majors.
In 1966, the program changed its name to the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and initiated a one-year master's degree program. Four graduates earned the first master's degrees issued by the department in 1967. The master's program in speech pathology was accredited by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association in 1970 and has remained continuously accredited since that time.
The program continued to grow, and the Counseling and Reading Center moved to other facilities. By 1970, the program had six full-time faculty, about 60 undergraduate and 12 graduate students. In 1973, the master's degree was adopted as the entry level requirement for speech-language pathologists. The adoption of this new standard increased the demand for M.S. professionals.
In 1987, the program changed its name to Communication Disorders and Sciences. In 1988, a two-year graduate degree program was adopted, which expanded coursework for medical settings and required a 12-week hospital-based internship. The program met and continues to meet the requirements for ASHA's Certificate of Clinical Competence, for the Type 73 Support Personnel Certificate required by the State Board of Education, and the Speech-Language Pathologist License required by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
Currently the department has 13 full-time faculty to accommodate 110 undergraduates and 50 graduate students. The program provides services to the community through the EIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic; and by providing services at local schools and agencies. The program also places graduate interns in schools throughout Illinois and medical facilities throughout the state and country.
According to archival records, more than 1,000 students have earned bachelor's and/or master's degrees for the program in communication disorders and sciences at Eastern. In order to complete these degrees, our alumni have amassed some 300,000 clock hours of supervised clinical work. In a typical semester alone, the EIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic provides speech-language-hearing services to more than 500 people. By conservative estimates, more than 1000 people in Illinois and surrounding states receive some level of speech-language-hearing service from an EIU intern in schools, hospitals and other rehabilitation settings during the course of an academic year.