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Top Au.D. Programs

Discussion in 'Audiology [ Au.D ]' started by Dustbug10, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Dustbug10

    Dustbug10 Year IV
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    This is likely a repost, but here's the list according to US News for upcoming applicants:

    1. Vanderbilt University
    2. University of Iowa
    3. University of Washington (WA)
    4. University of Texas-Dallas
    5. Washington University in St. Louis
    6 (tie). University of Florida
    6 (tie). University of Memphis
    6 (tie). University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    9 (tie). Northwestern University
    9 (tie). Purdue University
    9 (tie). Rush University Medical Center
    9 (tie). University of Arizona
    9 (tie). University of Kansas
    9 (tie). University of Minnesota
    9 (tie). University of Texas-Austin
    16 (tie). University at Buffalo - SUNY
    16 (tie). University of Pittsburgh
    18. Indiana University

    Current students are welcome to make a pitch for why their school should be higher or included on the list.
     
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  3. spring88

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    How are programs evaluated for the rankings? Or what exactly is the methodology here? I'm familiar with three programs and two happen to be in the top five and the other top twenty so I don't have much to compare with.. Unfortunately, there aren't many programs on the west coast to visit. One was my undergrad (and will be my AuD program) and another was a program I visited and was seriously thinking about attending.

    It is my guess that rankings are based on # of PhD holding faculty, research activity, if there is an in-house clinic(s), student retention (I've noticed that top programs have high retention), if there is an AuD/PhD program, clinical opportunities outside the program etc. Also, I've heard something about AuD chairs evaluating programs as well. Am I wrong? Right? I'm just guessing here :).
     
  4. cmc271

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    I've heard very similar things about how the rankings are actually generated and that a lot of it comes from peer ratings. I think that the USNEWS rankings give some good information and can give students a place to start searching, but shouldn't be the deciding factor for a student. Take them with a grain of salt. I think most of us here would agree that the programs listed here are definitely all high caliber programs, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
     
  5. AuD Doc

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    I have investigated and visited many of the schools and find the rankings very misleading. Iowa!! They didn't even permit students to have rotations in vestibular and didn't teach the full scope of audiology practice. Yes, great with hearing aids but that's about it.
    To be honest, most of these schools had pre-existing master's programs and just turned them into AuD programs around 2008 when all universities in U.S. were required to have the AuD rather than master's. Most of these schools have a glorified master's program--especially the Big-Ten. I found in some research a Big-Ten Position Statement signed by all the schools that opposed the AuD and insisted on continuing to award the master's degree. Be very careful before applying or attending these schools.
    For my money, I would look at schools that have been around for a while--at least the mid-to-late 90's awarding the AuD. Examples: Salus U., Nova Southeastern, U. So. Florida. These schools understand what a professional education is all about. They understand that Audiology is a separate and distinct profession and that graduates can work in independent practice settings.
    Sorry for my negativity, but the US News list is based more on how many research dollars are brought into the university and program and less on the clinical success of their graduates.
     
  6. PedAuD

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    Move James Madison University (#19) up! The AuD program was completely reconfigured from the Master's program. It's approach is a little unconventional from what I've deduced from conversations with others. They place most of the emphasis on theory and research rather than absorbent clinic time knowing that school is the time you have to focus on the fundamentals that will allow you to adapt ever changing clinical protocols. You're not just taught what to do, but why you are doing it. This makes an audiologist that is flexible and able to determine good information from flawed information. Thinking outside the box is heavily encouraged.

    It's not a big-name school with big-name money, but it's a phenomenal program.
     
  7. EitherWise

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    nice to see northwestern is still up there in the rankings =) while rankings are annoying they are necessary to an extent.

    why i support northwestern's program
    - evanston isnt too bad a city but chicago is a real gem!
    - great professors and strong academic program - Dr. Nina Kraus [e-phys], Dr. John Siegel (anatomy and phys), Dr. Sumit Dhar (amplification), Dr. Bev Wright (psychoacoustics), Dr. Kim Cavitt (business and billing), Dr. Jeanane Ferre (CAPD) just to name a few.
    - great clinicians and good connections/placements for clinical rotations.
    - 3 year program! - but it is certainly not for everyone. (i actually had to take a 6month break in the middle of the first quarter of my second year which ended up pushing me back a year but i was graciously taken in by a new group of classmates.)

    the down side of northwestern's program
    - very research based (did not know this coming in) and so it can feel force fed. they talk about EBP (evidence based practice) but its not quite clear how it directly applies to you as the student when in the clinic
    - ridiculous pace. so much is asked of you with little to no guidance until after the fact. i think it is getting better on the program's side. it is quite daunting and overwhelming while getting used to it as the student.

    all i can think of right now but i will certainly be following up on this thread!
     
  8. quiteaud

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    Just fyi, the rankings have not been updated since 2008. It's not as if they keep reassessing and finding these to be the top programs...
     
  9. Westward Lord

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    I wasn't sure where else to ask this.

    Does anyone know what the hell is going at Lamar University?

    Everyone I've talked to about it says that the AuD program there is on it's deathbed. I haven't heard one scrap of good news about it.
     
  10. Kitska

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    I have to disagree about research vs clinical. I am a 3rd year student applying for externships, and one thing I have learned is that students coming out of our program (not in the top 20) have a huge number of CLINICAL HOURS and that gives us a BIG ADVANTAGE because we can hit the ground running. I will be going to be going into my 4th year with around 750-800 clinical hours under my belt. We start in the on-campus clinic our first year, first semester. Moreover, we are in a big city with (arguably) the country's best hospitals and get excellent practicum experience in top pediatric and adult audiology clinics. We get to see the latest and greatest applications and evolving standards of medical practice at these awesome placement sites (where research is conducted). These same places hire a lot of students from our (non-top 20) program. So I am not so sure that research is where it is at when you are training to be a CLINICIAN.
     
    #9 Kitska, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  11. rEliseMe

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    I don't know anything about the program, but here's a video that their SAA chapter made for the SAA "What Is Audiology?" contest. It's fairly well-made. Maybe contact whomever made the video and see what they have to say about it?
     
  12. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    I've helped hire and interview several audiologists and I will tell you what I think and this is just my two cents, but clinical hours and clinical experience are what I look for. Then I look at your personality and what makes you tick. Can you handle stress. Can you handle rude patients? Can you handle criticism? Can you think outside the box? Can you advocate for your patients and go toe to toe with an ENT or primary care doc?

    Research is great and I love it, but this is a clinical degree and a clinical job. I know my program was very low in the rankings (not even close to the top 20), but I had about 3 times the amount of pediatric clock hours as most other applicants. Every place I interviewed couldn't believe I was just graduating when I interviewed. My hearing aid skills and clock hours were light years ahead of other students as well.

    I'd focus on what clinical experiences a program gives rather than what the research and rankings are. I'll take that student from Podunk state with 1000 hours of clinic time over that Northwestern grad with 500 hours. Sorry that's how I roll/
     
  13. ccAuD

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    I can't speak to the hiring process, and your input does make a great deal of sense. However, I think that research is still an important part of an audiology degree. Do I think it is more important than clinical hours and experience? Not necessarily. But what separates AuDs from technicians is knowing not just WHAT we are doing, but also WHY we're doing it. With our field being relatively new and constantly growing, I think its very important as an AuD to understand the importance of research and how to apply it to your profession.

    If you don't know what constitutes "good" research or don't know how to find it, how can you ensure that you are making the best decisions for your patients? This would be the equivalent to a doctor using old-fashioned methods and out-dated techniques when there are better things available. If you've recently graduated, then you're probably safe from this at least for awhile (depending on what sort of field you work in), particularly because most things aren't moving THAT quickly. If you work in a hospital or other group setting (and have a clinic director), it is likely that they are responsible for the protocol and standard procedures at your clinic. You could likely follow these pretty blindly if you wanted to. But if you open a private practice or are the sole audiologist somewhere, how are you going to make decisions like these? Are the hearing aids you're selling your patients everyday ACTUALLY proven to be effective in the situations you're telling the patient they will be? If you work in pediatrics, what do you recommend to a parent with a child you've just identified as hearing loss (i.e. what do you say when they ask you for the "best" technology, the "best" method of communication for their child, the "best" plan of attack for dealing with this hearing loss?). Even in diagnostics -- what is your test of choice for which situation, and why? Your clinical experience is very important in all of these cases, but that needs to be combined with research (evidence-based practice). We wouldn't be following these procedures if someone, somewhere down the line hadn't shown that they were more effective than something else in some way or another (at least for the most part).

    To relate back to my previous point, I think that doing is a key part of understanding. Its one thing to sit in a lecture and have somebody tell you that research is important. But does that really get through to you? Can you truly understand the benefits and limitations of research if you don't actually do research of any sort? I suppose there will be varying opinions on this, but mine is that you can't. I'm not necessarily suggesting that research ever be done OVER clinical work (at least in an AuD program), or that programs take away tons of hours from clinic in order to have their students do research. However, if it can be included in the program, why wouldn't it be? I think a research project gives a new perspective and allows you to understand why its important as well as how it can be applied.

    Clock hours are great, and obviously extremely important. However, at a certain point, after years of practicing, clock hours are somewhat of a moot point. The "magic number" for being an "expert" at something is 10,000 hours. If you work 5 days a week for 8 hours a day, that's ~2,000 hours a year. After 5 years you will have 10,000 hours. (Granted, for audiologists with busy schedules, it may not be that you will be doing the same exact thing all day everyday, so if you're seeing a wide range of patients and doing different diagnostics then this timeline will obviously be extended). The point being, though, that you'll reach a point at which additional clinical hours aren't going to set you apart from anyone or anything.

    So as much as clinical hours help your clinical judgment, and are an important necessity upon graduation and thereafter, I think that's only one piece of the puzzle. There has to be a backbone there -- an understanding of what we're doing and why. "What" and "why" will constantly have to be modified due to the nature of our ever-changing and progressing field. If you're not educated in research, that is a real detriment to yourself, to audiology as a profession, and particularly to your patients to whom you would not be providing the best care at that point.
     
  14. TheEarDoc

    TheEarDoc Audiologist
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    Most AuD programs require research of some sort. Mine required a year long research project and it was published. I also have a couple other publications in audiology. Yes research is important or at least the skill of how to analyze and interpret good research from bad. If you keep up with your CEU's and read journals you will stay up on the cutting edge of the field.

    When you're looking at jobs for the most part your clinical skills and administrative skills are what will get you hired. Your research may help, but employers like to see results. Such as tou doubled hearing aid sales at yOur last place of employment in a year or you developed marketing or wrote a policy or procedure or worked on a customer satisfaction team or had a 99% customer satisfaction score on press ganey or some other quality measure metric.

    That's business. Now if you're going someplace that does research as part of your job such as a large va or university then yes research would be more valued.
     
  15. quiteaud

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    It seems like there is some confusion about what it means for a program to be "research-oriented." Some people are referring to programs that require students to carry out their own research; some, to programs that require students to be well-informed about the research of others. I feel that the latter is way more important. We MUST be performing evidence-based practice. But we do not need to carry out our own research; we are pursuing an Au.D., and not a Ph.d., and for a reason!
     
  16. Kitska

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    I agree with you and am still on the "clinical is more important" side of things. The way I was thinking of it is yet another way -- with regards to the research reputation of an institution: how well known is the institution's audiology program because of the level and amount of research it puts out? That was my interpretation of a research focused program.

    There is another very practical side to this and that is WHO is teaching your classes? Our program has courses taught by our university's research and clinical faculty as well as by outside adjunct professors who are practicing audiologists (including directors of prominent clinics in our area.) For the most part, I have learned the most from and enjoyed courses by these outside, adjunct faculty. They have been the most interesting, because they have often included case studies from their own clinics. So even when they are teaching the basics of evoked potentials, for example, there is relevance. On the flip side, aside from one exception, the courses taught by our own research faculty have seemed a bit out of touch with the reality of what is important in the clinic, and a bit frustrating in that regard.
     
  17. spring88

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    I absolutely agree with you Kitska! My assessment class is taught by an outside audiologist who is amazing, my hearing science class is being taught by a big time researcher so it's pretty much a research seminar but it works for the topic and my instrumentation class is also taught by a PhD holding audiologist..he does a nice job with providing a clinical perspective on things. As much as I love research, for the more clinical classes, I prefer an audiologist who has hands on, daily experience with what he/she teaches. I prefer researchers to teach the more "hard science" classes and that's what my program tends to do when divving up the AuD course load amongst faculty and clinical instructors.
     
  18. Kitska

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    Sure, an understanding of current research would be important BUT, some university affiliated hospital clinics that conduct research are very fast-paced. They serve patients with complicated and unusual pathologies, and also a huge age range of patients, not 99% sloping sensorineural hearing losses like you might find at an audiology private practice. You may well be expected to be equally proficient with month old infants as well as retirees. Again, clinical is very important here in terms of both breadth of knowledge and efficiency.
     
  19. AuDMunchkin

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    I'm a first year student at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. I would like to give all a bit of information on the program. We seem to get a bit of a bad rap because of its location. Our program itself, from Day 1 of first year... we are in clinic. We have our own clinic on site at which we starting seeing patients from September start in first year. It's an unbelievable experience. I truly believe in clinic hours. We partnered with a local hospital in the Detroit area, so there are a few audiologists that teach us from the hospital itself. They are also responsible for our clinic supervision.We have almost 8 hours or clinic work in first year first semester, and up to 15 hours a week in second semester, including hospital experience. In second we are partnered with four hospitals in which our clinic rotations begin. There are a VAST amount of opportunities for clinic hours! If anyone is wanting more information on the program! I have a strong belief that as our program continues to grow, it will be up there on the the top program lists! We still have a capstone project in third year, research is a factor there. But the clinic experiences are top notch!
     
    #18 AuDMunchkin, Nov 29, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  20. Dustbug10

    Dustbug10 Year IV
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    I don't know.. Piling on a boat load of clinical hours for 3-4 years seems like a giant apprenticeship. I don't particularly enjoy research, but the whole point of it in the AuD curriculum is to keep our professional afloat as technology changes and more about the human body is discovered. In order to do that, we have to learn how to find research and determine whether it is worth a damn. Do you think we're going to be running the exact same diagnostic battery 30 years from now? While only a portion of our professional scope, fitting a hearing aid is not exactly complicated (thorough counseling process included).. It will likely become easier with time. I really do wish I had more practicum hours in my first two years. I just hope that programs aren't churning out technicians with too much emphasis on clinical hours and none on research since we aren't 'Phd's"..
     
  21. skypt123

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    I don't see Arizona School of Health Sciences on there. I'm kinda sad about that. :(
    I can sincerely say they are a GREAT school, and I made the best choice going there. What an oversite!!! Ah well, it will be #1 in my heart.:love:
     
  22. EdemaKNN

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    I would love to hear all about ASHS because I'm applying for next fall. I really enjoy what I have learned about the program, talking with one of the faculty really helped too. However, an insiders perspective would be great!
     

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