Salus introduces an international online AuD program

David Kirkwood
August 29, 2012

By David H. Kirkwood

ELKINS PARK PA—While Pacific University is about to launch an entirely new AuD program in Oregon (see the preceding post on Hearing News Watch), the Osborne College of Audiology at Salus University has resumed its distance-education activities and started an “international AuD-Bridge degree program” that will enable master’s degree audiologists and audiology physicians to obtain a clinical doctorate.

When the AuD program was founded in 2000 under the leadership of the late George S. Osborne, PhD, DDS, it was known as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry School of Audiology. Along with a handful of other colleges and universities around the country, it offered a distance program that enabled practitioners with master’s degrees to earn a doctor of audiology without having to suspend their practice to return to school.

These programs played a crucial role in achieving the transition of audiology to a doctoral profession, which was a highly controversial concept when the AuD movement emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Giving experienced audiologists a practical way of obtaining the professional doctorate accomplished a couple of things that advanced the cause.

First, it helped build support for the AuD among current practitioners, who might not have embraced this entry-level doctorate degree if the only people likely to be able to obtain it were young people just coming into the profession.

Secondly, within a few years the distance programs had created a critical mass of doctors of audiology. What had initially been a degree held by a small number of newly trained audiologists soon became a doctorate that thousands of experienced, ambitious audiologists, most of them in private practice, could proudly display.

When the distance-learning AuD programs began, it was with the expectation that they would be temporary. Once practicing audiologists had been given a reasonable opportunity to upgrade their degree, the distance programs were expected to shut down, having served their purpose. After that, the only new doctors of audiology would be people (mostly young) who had enrolled in on-campus programs to get their first degree in the field.

Like most audiology programs, the Osborne College did quit offering a distance AuD. A few others, citing continuing demand, decided to keep their programs going.

 

A DIFFERENT PURPOSE

According to Victor Bray, PhD, dean of Osborne College of Audiology, Salus’s International AuD-Bridge program was created specifically to meet the demands made on the 21st century audiologist. Bray said, “Our new program features the components necessary for audiologists to remain current with rapid advances in audiology and the health care sciences.” 

Giri Sundar, PhD, coordinator of distance education at the Osborne College of Audiology, said that the new distance program is not intended entirely for Americans, but rather is designed to meet the needs of audiologists in other countries as well. Sundar is well versed in international education in audiology. After selling her practice in Dover, NJ, after many years as its director, she spent three years working in India for Starkey Hearing Technology.

The 10 audiologists in the initial AuD distance-learning cohort, which began on August 20, included people from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, as well as the U.S. The next cohort is scheduled to start in March 2013.

Information on admissions requirements is available on the Salus  University web site.  Those wishing further information on the program can e-mail Giri Sundar at gsundar@salus.edu or call her at 215/780-3140.

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