A mathematical model for the allocation of students to clinical practices at Purdue's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

Fatma Sena Aktulga, Purdue University


As one of the best schools that trains speech and hearing pathologists, Purdue's Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department (SLHS) has a master program with clinical practices. In this two-year MS program, SLHS aims to train its students in a number of skills. Those skills are related to therapy and diagnostics of speech, language and hearing disorders of adults and children. They are acquired through clinical practices. Specifically, students go to hospitals, clinics and schools to have sessions with patients. Each visit counts as a credit on the skills related to that patient's conditions and/or disorder. A practice may be associated with only one skill or with a combination of skills. ^ There are many practices available each semester. As a result, SLHS faces, each semester, the problem of how to best allocate its students to practices so that all the requirements of the department are met and so that the students are satisfied with their practice schedule. ^ With this project we aimed to provide SHLS with a decision-support system to design practice assignments. To this end, we created a mathematical model that produces a good match between students and practices for the current semester and a high level planning for future semesters. In addition to the mathematical model, we also designed a graphical user interface for easy management of data and for simplifying the use of the model for people without Industrial Engineering background. This project is the product of the cooperative work of Fatma Sena Aktulga, Dr. Jean-Philippe Richard (at the school of Industrial Engineering at the University of Florida) and Dr. Mary Lou Poole at SLHS. ^




Jean-Philippe P. Richard, Purdue University, Thomas L. Morin, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Education|Engineering, Industrial

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