Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Lars G. Björk


Within the past decade little research has been conducted in the United States to examine the preparedness of beginning speech-language pathologists; the seminal article used for this research study comes from the United Kingdom (Horton, Byng, Bunning, & Pring, 2004). Literature from the past few decades indicates that there may be deficiencies in the way that beginning speech-language pathologists are being trained clinically.

The review of the literature suggests that the field may lack a clear and broadly supported learning theory or framework for the clinical supervision and training of speech-language pathology graduate students. The literature further supports the importance of work-embedded learning and problem-based learning, as well as suggests a theoretical framework that may be utilized for supervision and clinical training in the future.

The purpose of this exploratory phenomenological study is to understand and describe how speech-language pathology graduate students perceive their clinical training and supervision obtained during graduate school prepared them for their first externship placements. The literature suggests that a framework for the transfer of theoretical knowledge into the clinical setting is often not present in graduate academic programs (Horton & Byng, 2000b). Models of highly effective practices that are grounded in adult learning theory and empirical research regarding clinical training and supervision should be taken into account. In this way, department-level leaders may be able to design more effective models for clinical training and supervision. The data from participant interviews conducted for this study were organized into two over-arching themes: supervision and clinical experiences.

The data in each theme were further organized into more specific categories. The theme of supervision includes five categories: a) most helpful supervisor characteristics, b) least helpful supervisor characteristics, c) differences in supervision, d) feedback from supervisors, and e) working with different supervisors. In addition, the theme of clinical experiences includes four categories: a) differences between in-house experiences and externship experiences, b) significant aspects of clinical training, c) limitations of clinical training, and d) limitations of clinical coursework.