Underrepresentation of students from diverse backgrounds entering communication sciences and disorders programs: an investigation into the university student perspective
Richburg, Cynthia M.
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Richburg, C. M. C. (2021, December 1). Underrepresentation of students from diverse backgrounds entering communication sciences and Disorders Programs: An investigation into the university student perspective. ASHA Wire. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-21-00010
Purpose: This study investigated university students' knowledge of and attitudes toward the professions of communication sciences and disorders (CSD), with a goal to determine if there were any differences between responses received from minority students compared with responses from White/Caucasian students. The survey collected information about the experiences and exposure that university students have to these professions and professionals before and during their undergraduate years, along with possible reasons male students and students from diverse backgrounds are less likely to enroll in CSD programs. Method: Surveys were distributed via Qualtrics and hard copy over 12 weeks of a fall semester to a sample of over 4,000 undergraduate students at a middle-sized public research university in southwest Pennsylvania. Responses were obtained from a total of 524 students. Results: In this group of university students, more students reported having obtained information from their high schools regarding speech-language pathology than audiology. More females than males were aware of CSD professions prior to entering college, and non-White students reported knowing less about both the degree programs and professions of audiology and speech-language pathology than their White peers. Neither the non-White group nor males reported much interest in pursuing CSD degrees or professions. Conclusions: Non-White students and males reported being exposed less to CSD professions (thus knowing less) than their White and female counterparts, but overall interest in these professions appeared to be lacking for the non-White and male students within this study. Additional research from a larger group of minority and male students nationwide is needed to determine if CSD is universally not attractive to these groups.
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