To help increase the relatively low number of American Indian professionals in the field of communicative disorders, Kansas University and Haskell Indian Junior College will launch a new program this fall.
Funded by a four-year grant of $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Education, the KU department of speech-lauguage-hearing and Haskell staff will assist students making the transition from Haskell to KU to train as speech-language pathologists or audiologists. Kim Arthur Wilcox, associate professor and chair of the KU speech-language-hearing department, is director of the "Native American Training Program."
Marvin L. Hunt, administrative assistant in the KU department and coordinator of the project, said the American Speech-Language-Hearing Assn. reports that American Indians are underrepresented in the professional areas of communicative disorders.
"THE PROGRAM we are beginning is one of only a few such programs in the United States which help Native Americans remain in school and become professionals," Hunt said. "Given the heterogeneity of Native American language and culture, there is pressing need for native language professionals with skills to diagnose and treat communicative disorders."
Specifically, the KU-Haskell program is designed to encourage students at Haskell and other American Indian schools to enter the communicative disorders field as professionals and to retain them while they attain baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
This fall, KU speech-language-hearing faculty and Haskell instructors will present a course, Introduction to Communication Disorders, to sophomores on the Haskell campus. The course is designed to familiarize Haskell students with the professional options in speech-language pathology and audiology.
BEGINNING IN the spring semester 1993, American Indian college students interested in communicative disorders, including Haskell students in transition to KU, will enroll in a seminar, Survey of Communication Disorders, for three university credit hours.
"The transition from Haskell to KU or other larger university settings has proven to be a difficult or impossible step for many American Indian students,'' Hunt said. "We will encourage the students who transfer to KU to enroll each semester they are here in one-credit hour course, Native American Seminar. That seminar will provide a structure for the students and give them an opportunity to meet regularly.
"In addition, faculty mentors will meet several times a month with the students outside seminar time. The seminar allows the students to talk together about their concerns and problems, and to get help in course work from faculty and tutors,'' Hunt said.
STIPENDS FROM the grant will pay for tuition, room, board, books and other expenses for the Haskell students transferring to KU. Funding also is provided for tutors and guest speakers.
In November, KU and Haskell faculty will attend the National Indian Education Assn. meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., to inform Indian educators about the training program and to recruit college junior, senior and graduate American Indian college students for the KU program.