Leader for State’s Sole Doctoral Audiology Program
When Assistant Professor Laura Smith-Olinde joined the College of Professional Studies, the national progression was toward a clinical doctorate in audiology for speech pathology professionals. She worked to spearhead the creation of a doctor of audiology program at UALR. She coordinated research to establish the need for the program, submitted paperwork indicating the intent to submit a proposal for the program to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and shepherded the process to obtain approval in 2004. This program is the only one of its kind in the state of Arkansas.
Dr. Smith-Olinde also played a major role in developing a research-focused doctoral program in communication sciences and disorders, which accepted its first class in fall 2006. With a strong vision and commitment to educating excellent audiologists, her service transcends from Arkansans with hearing impairments to audiology faculty and graduate students around the nation.
â€śOne to three of every 1,000 babies need intervention for hearing loss,â€ť Dr. Smith-Olinde said. â€śAbout 40 percent of those over age 65 have significant hearing loss, and at age 80 and up, that number goes to 70 percent. By identifying folks with hearing loss, we are helping families communicate effectively.â€ť
In addition to her responsibilities on the UALR faculty, Dr. Smith-Olinde has served as a consultant to the Infant Hearing Program at the Arkansas Department of Health and liaison to the Universal Hearing Screening and Intervention Advisory Board. She earned her bachelorâ€™s, masterâ€™s and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University. She was recognized with the Arkansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association Audiology Award in 2001 and is a member of the Acoustical Society of America and the International Society of Audiology.