* The speech pathology courses at Charles Sturt University commenced 20 years ago
* Over 500 graduates from the degree courses, with 94 per cent of graduates hailing from regional, rural and remote Australia
* At a special forum the inaugural academic and leader for the discipline, Professor Lindy McAllister, will reflect on the discipline’s history and the future for speech pathology at CSU
The first speech pathology and therapy degree in Australia to be offered outside a metropolitan area celebrates 20 years on Friday 30 November, demonstrating the continuing need for training allied health professionals for regional and rural Australia in the regions.
To celebrate the occasion, Charles Sturt University (CSU) is holding a one-day forum addressing the future needs of speech pathologists and therapists in modern Australian society, particularly those living and working in regional, rural and remote areas.
“We will address what we will need in working with many different communities, including Aboriginal, migrant and isolated communities who may need to use digital technologies to work with us,” said event coordinator Dr Catherine Easton (pictured left) in the CSU School of Community Health in Albury-Wodonga.
“We will also welcome our much-loved friend and colleague, Professor Lindy McAllister, who was the first academic appointment and discipline leader for speech pathology and therapy at Charles Sturt University in 1998.”
Professor McAllister is now a Professor Emerita at the University of Sydney. In her keynote speech, Professor McAllister will recall the progress of the CSU speech pathology courses.
“We wanted to develop a degree to lead the world in its use of the World Health Organisation’s framework, The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health,” she said.
“We also wanted our graduates to have the special skills needed for rural practice; how to work in teams, health promotion, educating others such as parents, teachers and communities, and developing new services.”
Professor McAllister was instrumental in creating a sense of ‘community’ among the CSU staff and students, most of whom were from outside Albury and living away from home.
“Importantly, we showed that a rurally-based speech pathology degree was viable and would produce competent, flexible graduates who could work across a wide range of practices and settings,” Professor McAllister said.
In addition to Professor McAllister’s keynote address, the day-long program will also investigate the professional and cultural competencies that speech pathologists need, particularly those working in rural and remote communities.
“Participants will include our past graduates, many of whom now hold ranking positions in public and private practices and departments across Australia, particularly in rural and regional areas,” Dr Easton said.
“Their input into these sessions will be important as we continually seek to improve our degrees and our links with the profession.”
The 20th anniversary celebration is from 9am to 5pm on Friday 30 November in the main Learning and Teaching hub at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.