Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department
Strategic Plan for the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology 2018-2021
The Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (SLHS) Department is committed to the education of students, both undergraduate and graduate, centered around the belief that all people—across all ages, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities—should be afforded the opportunity to be effective communicators. Our ambition is to prepare qualified, compassionate individuals; inspiring them to become leaders who seek to improve the lives of individuals with communication disorders by recognizing the unique qualities of each client and demonstrating respect for the communities in which they live. It is from here that the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) approached their current Strategic Plan, defined by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) as "a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what the program does and why it does it, with a focus on the future" (ASHA, 2018). For Loyola University Maryland’s Department of SLHS to begin this process of discernment, we collectively examined three key questions: Where are we at present? Where do we want to be? How can we get there? resulting in the following Strategic Plan for 2018-2021.
The Department of SLHS Strategic Plan for the Graduate Program in SLP (2018-2021) and its alignment with Loyola University MD’s Strategic Plan (2017-2022): The Ignatian Compass
As a department in the Loyola College of Arts and Sciences division of Loyola University Maryland, it is critical that our strategic plan be in alignment with that of the University, The Ignatian Compass. Consistent with the University’s plan, the Department of SLHS is deeply committed to educating in the Jesuit tradition. As noted in The Ignatian Compass, through the lens of an Ignatian approach, "we see life and the universe as a gift, calling forth wonder and gratefulness; we give ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as to intellect; we seek the divine in all things" (p. 3).
Both the Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in SLHS are grounded in the four tenets of the University’s plan: Ignatian Citizenship, Ignatian Educational Innovation, Ignatian Culture of Engagement, and Ignatian Institutional Viability and Sustainability. Our Department’s Strategic Plan empowers the faculty with authority and accountability for innovation and excellence, building on our current strengths with ensuring a bright future. Our students and stakeholders are central to our mission: To assist students in acquiring the tools necessary to be discerning and knowledgeable speech-language pathologists who will lead and serve in a diverse and changing world. As noted in the University’s plan, with greater financial stability and vitality, Loyola will be better prepared to serve today’s students and tomorrow’s workforce. And finally, each member of the Department’s community is energized by and charged with the Jesuit call to undertake new opportunities and the constant challenge for self-improvement. Our Strategic Plan gives us a map for distinction, discernment and inspiration. With this plan, as noted in The Ignatian Compass (p. 40), "we begin, as one community, on a new journey."
In December 2016, prior to the creation of the current Strategic Plan, the Department of SLHS underwent an outside program review which provided some of the critical groundwork from which to build a future plan. Subsequently, a planning committee consisting of the Graduate Program Director (GPD), the Director of Program Operations (DPO), and faculty members from the graduate program met in the summer of 2017 to map out the procedures to begin this work with our Department. The process was led by the GPD who provided education on the background and purpose of a strategic plan to the entire faculty, and facilitated the actions necessary to achieve each of the steps delineated by ASHA. Although the process was slow, it was methodical and thoughtful, with all faculty actively involved in each of the major steps, and smaller committees working between meetings to keep the process in motion.
The primary focus of this Strategic Plan is the Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology; however, this does not imply that the Undergraduate Program was ignored as it, too, is fundamental to the Department’s health, status, and spirit. The progression timeline for our work was as follows:
- May 2017: The Vision and Mission Statements of the graduate program were reviewed and approved.
- August 2017: Individual and collective discernment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for the Graduate Program in SLP. These were analyzed by the working committee to determine broad focus areas, which were reviewed at the subsequent faculty meeting in December 2017. In addition, faculty members created their envisioned future statements, which were also compiled and presented at the subsequent full faculty meeting.
- December 2017: Draft focus areas (i.e., the major areas of the program that were of concern and needed to be addressed to enhance the program) were reviewed and developed to consensus. The Department identified the following as their initial focus areas: (a) collaboration, (b) community involvement, (c) curriculum, (d) diversity & equity, and (e) interprofessional education. Issue statements were written collectively for all of the previously noted areas and submitted to the planning committee for analysis.
- April 2018: Following her attendance at the spring CAPCSD Conference, the GPD presented a proposal to the planning committee to integrate the updated CAA Standards which was approved. The committee aligned the identified focus areas with the CAA Standards of greatest concern to the Department and presented at the May faculty meeting.
- May 2018: The full faculty reviewed the CAA Accreditation Standards and Accreditation Standards Documentation Guidance, then reviewed the merged "problem" Standards with the Issues Statements while identifying other areas of need for the Strategic Plan. The standards/issues were prioritized, and Issue Statements and preliminary Outcomes written. Consensus was achieved through voting.
- August 2018: Full faculty participated via large and small groups to review updated Focus Areas, reduced to 3 key areas (i.e., (a) economic viability and program success; (b) diversity; (c) academic and clinical collaboration). Statements and outcomes, baseline data, indicators of success, and strategies were developed and presented. Each Focus Area was assigned a chairperson who was responsible for refinement and subsequent submission to the GDP and DPO by mid-September 2018.
- October 2018: Department of SLP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 was approved by all faculty and data collection initiated. Bi-monthly assessment of progress will occur by the GPD and DPO throughout the life of the plan.
- October 2019: Department of SLP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021's progress was reviewed by all Departmental faculty and the LCAS Deans. Modifications were made to outcomes 1.1 and 1.2 and were approved for implementation over the 2019-2020 academic year. Updated working groups were established.
The graduate program in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences provides an ASHA-accredited path of study within the Jesuit tradition defined by challenging coursework and faculty mentors who assist students in acquiring the tools necessary to be discerning and knowledgeable speech-language pathologists who will lead and serve in a diverse and changing world. Through academic coursework, mentorship by dedicated faculty members, and clinical experiences across a variety of settings, students will master the professional skills they need to become effective and compassionate advocates for persons with communication disorders.
The Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences will be a recognized leader in graduate education, offering an accredited Master of Science program which is responsive to the needs of the professional and academic communities it serves. The department will prepare qualified, compassionate individuals for careers inspiring them to become leaders who seek to improve the lives of individuals with communication disorders by recognizing the unique qualities of each client and demonstrating respect for the communities in which they live.
Focus Area 1: Economic Viability & Program Success
Strategic Outcome 1.1:
Maintain the fiscal viability and program quality of the Speech-Language Pathology master's program.
Strategic Outcome 1.2:
Create a systematic process to effectively monitor and assess Department compliance with ASHA Accreditation Standards, Graduate Learning Goals, and Departmental Objectives.
Focus Area 2: Diversity
Strategic Outcome 2.1:
Recruit students from underrepresented groups (i.e., males, students who list their race/ethnicity as non-white, bi-multilingual, and non-traditional students).
Strategic Outcome 2.2:
Increase number of opportunities for academic and clinical faculty to engage in training and, subsequently, teaching students related to diverse populations including: age, ethnicity, linguistic background, national origin, race, religion, gender, SES, and sexual orientation.
Focus Area 3: Cross-Over Economic Viability & Diversity (Post-Baccalaureate Program)
Strategic Outcome 3.1:
Evaluate efficacy of an online Post-Baccalaureate Program as means to increase student diversity and stability of program and potentially completing a New Program Proposal.
Focus Area 4: Academic and Clinical Collaboration
Strategic Outcome 4.1:
Create and implement Departmental structure to enhance and support academic-clinical partnerships to ensure that the curriculum reflects current speech-language-hearing sciences practice and education, including faculty exchanges between classroom and clinic related to consultation, research, and teaching.
Strategic Outcome 4.2:
Increase number of collaborating academic and clinical faculty conducting research with clinic population(s).
NOTE: This plan is a living document and may be refined as data are collected and outcomes evaluated.