Communication Disorders

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Dr. Ralph Belsterling (chair) | Nancy Carlino | Dr. Denise Joseph | Dr. Samantha Procaccini | Dr. Robert Skwarecki | April Wright 


The communication disorders program provides students with a broad understanding of the scientific bases of normal speech and hearing processes and the diagnostic and rehabilitation procedures necessary to work with individuals who have communication problems. This degree is the first step in becoming a certified speech language pathologist (SLP). SLPs work with patients of all ages and disorders, such as stuttering, stroke, swallowing, motor speech, developmental disability, congenital abnormalities, traumas and accidents, hearing impairment, fluency and voice disorders. They are employed in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, public and private schools, outpatient clinics, home-care companies, early intervention programs, research labs, governmental agencies and other services. At this time, career opportunities are excellent.

The objectives of the program are:

  1. To gain the theoretical knowledge which prepares the student for entry into an accredited master's program in this field;
  2. To gain knowledge about the basic acoustical, anatomical and neurological development of normal speech, language and hearing;
  3. To understand the etiology and characteristics of various communication disorders;
  4. To develop skills in the assessment and treatment of these disorders;
  5. To demonstrate a foundational knowledge of a wide variety of therapeutic instruments and procedures; and
  6. To demonstrate the principles and practices of ethical professional behavior.


The B.S. in Communication Disorders (CMD) is a pre-professional degree program. Students, therefore, should be aware that they are preparing for future graduate training before employment as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is possible. It is important to maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher because few graduate schools will accept less. Cal U's own graduate program is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). No accreditation is available for undergraduate programs.

Clinical Experience

Faculty believe that students should experience hands-on clinical contact early in their program of study. The Department of Communication Disorders provides contact with clients by having undergraduate students assist in:

  • the department's Learning and Language Center, a preschool program;
  • the University Speech and Hearing Clinic; and
  • the University Audiology Clinic.