Strategic plan 2023-2028

Approved by the CSD Department faculty on December 09, 2022

Department Mission

The mission of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at WSU is to cultivate future leadership in the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders through excellent teaching, rigorous research, and high-quality services to the university, the community and the nation.

Department Vision

We aspire, as an important department in an urban research university, to increase national recognition as a leading program committed to preparing excellent clinicians, researchers, and leaders within the fields of speech-language and hearing sciences, speech-language pathology and audiology.

Alignment with the University Strategic Plan

Our defining values as a department reflect Wayne State University's strategic plan in the following aspects: student success and teaching excellence, robust enrollment, entrepreneurship, innovation and research excellence, diversity, equity and inclusion, financial sustainability, and community engagement (https://president.wayne.edu/strategic-plan). The 2023-2028 WSU and CSD strategic plans include six strategic focus areas:

  • Student success and teaching excellence
  • Research excellence, innovation, and entrepreneurship
  • Programmatic stability and growths 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
  • Financial sustainability and operational excellence  
  • Alumni and community outreach and engagement

The CSD strategic plan specifies the actions, metrics, and resources to implement the University's strategic goals and objectives. This plan will serve as an active roadmap for the whole CSD department, including research and clinical programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Compare-To and Aspire-To Programs

Our department's progress in scholarship will be measured against our peers' CSD programs identified in the WSU Program Review of our undergraduate and PhD programs in 2021. That is, for benchmarking against peer programs we will use St. Louis University and Bowling Green State University for our undergraduate program, and Bowling Green State University and Kent State University for our PhD program; for benchmarking against an "Aspire-to" CSD program we will use The East Carolina University and James Madison University. Our two clinical degree programs (the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology and the Doctor of Audiology) were not included in that WSU Program Review because they are subject to annual evaluation by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) in Audiology (AUD) and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP).  Both of our clinical degree programs are fully accredited by the CAA.

Accountability

The CSD faculty will regularly evaluate and, if necessary, adjust the strategic plan so that it is an active roadmap for ongoing planning and action toward the goals in the six areas listed above. The goals of years 2023-2028 and the progress toward these goals will be routinely discussed at the CSD faculty meetings. Each October at our faculty retreat we will have a progress report and re-evaluation of our goals and action plan.

1. Student Success and Teaching Excellence

The CSD department at Wayne State University is dedicated to training world-class clinicians and researchers in the fields of speech, language, and hearing sciences, speech language pathology, and audiology to be leaders in the professions and to serve the greater Detroit community and beyond.  Excellence in academics and clinical training is one of our primary goals.  Our learning community will promote collaboration and learning by engaging faculty and students in activities that promote professional and skill development.   Ensuring student success will support our department's mission to prepare future leadership in the field of human communication sciences and disorders.

Our Aspiration:

  • Promote personal and professional growth centered around academic excellence and student-faculty engagement as a foundation for future inter- and intra-professional relationships that are crucial to success in the fields of the speech, language, and hearing professions.
  • Continue to build on existing curriculum and initiatives that support student success and engagement across undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Promote engagement at the departmental and community levels.

Goal 1.  Increase CSD faculty-staff-student engagement

Objectives:

  • Identify opportunities for engagement related to CSD
  • Match faculty to areas of strength and promote participation
  • Continue to actively promote engagement of students across graduate and undergraduate programs

Goal 2. Maintain and improve high-quality undergraduate and graduate education

Objectives:

  • Continue teaching excellence and academic performance for our undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Expand the on-site clinical training programs and facilities in the WSU Speech and Language Clinics and the WSU Audiology Clinic
  • Maximize off-site clinical training opportunities and further enhance and expand relationships with off-site clinical placements and supervisors
  • Provide continuing education opportunities for internal and external clinical supervisors
  • Increase participation of CSD students in faculty research
  • Continue building the intraprofessional and interprofessional aspects of our graduate clinical training programs
  • Maintain and improve high-quality documentation of academic assessments of student learning outcomes, which are used to constantly adjust and improve curricula and teaching delivery and to promote the highest quality undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Continue and enrich offering of Research Day events, Brown Bags and Kopp lectures to students, faculty, and alumni, as well as support students' participation in regional, national and international professional conferences, ­covering topics in state-of-the art research, clinical practice, leadership, entrepreneurship, and professional career development.
  • Provide a workshop or a shadowing opportunity with OT, PT and Vestibular Specialist to the SLP and AuD graduate students. So that they will know when to refer patients/clients to OT, PT and Vestibular Specialist.

Outcome Measurement:

  • Track student performance and satisfaction in our academic and clinical training programs (in-house Audiology clinic and Speech-Language Clinics) and in off-site clinical placements.
  • Document modifications in curricula and teaching delivery based on academic assessments of student learning outcomes.
  • Employer survey at the end of the graduate programs to document employer satisfaction with student preparation.
  • Document increase in number of programs and activities that engage all levels of students in collaborative research and professional developments.

2. Research Excellence, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

The WSU-CSD research faculty members strive to conduct active research programs and enhance research productivity and impact in the fields of speech-language and hearing sciences. The specific areas include stuttering, speech-language neuroscience, behavior, speech & genetics, aphasia rehabilitation, clinical speech and language development and impairments, cognitive neuropsychology, psychosocial factors in communication disorders, and brain-behavior relationships, hearing & vestibular sciences, tinnitus, bone conduction and fully implantable device, animal auditory models, and central auditory processing.

Our Aspiration:

The goals for the research faculty are to conduct regular research seminar series to enhance interactions with invited speakers, hold regular research committee meetings to cultivate research atmosphere and collaborations, increase research funding and scholarly publications, and provide collaborative learning experiences for students.

Goal 1: Conduct regular Research Seminar Series

Objectives:

1.1 Enhance research discussions among CSD students and faculty

1.2 Increase interactions of faculty and students with invited scientists and

      clinicians who are leaders in the field

1.3 Cultivate a rich research atmosphere for students to develop their research

       knowledge and skills

Goal 2: Hold regular Research Committee meetings

Objectives:

2.1 Enhance CSD faculty research interactions and collaborative 'brainstorming'

2.2 Increase faculty awareness of research opportunities and access to

      technological advances with the aid of the department research director

2.3 Cultivate an atmosphere among faculty for scientific, technological, and

      clinical innovation.

Goal 3: Increase faculty research productivity

Objectives:

3.1 Support development of novel and achievable scientific ideas

3.2 Increase the number of scholarly publications among faculty

3.3 Increase faculty extramural merit-based funding

3.4 Increase faculty patent filing and entrepreneurship        

Outcome Measurement:

  1. Document the number of Research Seminars and Research Committee meetings annually, and their central topics of discussion.
  2. Track the number of scholarly publications, extramural grant submissions, patents and entrepreneurial contributions by CSD faculty annually.
  3. Track the number of presentations at scientific meetings by CSD faculty and students annually.

3. Programmatic Stability and Growth

The WSU-CSD is committed to be a leading program for the preparations of excellent clinicians, researchers, and leaders in the fields of speech-language and hearing sciences, speech-language pathology and audiology. To accomplish these goals, WSU-CSD will continue maintaining the current scales of operations and student enrollment in the BA undergraduate and post-baccalaureate, MA degree in SLP, Doctor in Audiology (AuD), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs. While a BA degree in CSD leads to job opportunities, such as personal care assistant, rehabilitation aide, behavioral therapist, school counselor, substitute teacher, special education teacher, child life specialist, speech pathology assistant, or audiology assistant, the degree allows students to pursue and earn a clinical MA degree in SLP, a clinical AuD degree, or a PhD degree in CSD. The advanced clinical and scientific training will allow students to become independent and licensed Speech-Language Pathologists or Audiologists, clinician scientists, or scientists. While maintaining the current scales of operation and student enrollment, WSU-CSD is also committed to grow and expand its programs and student enrollments. This is to meet the job growth needs in both SLP and Audiology.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rates for SLP and Audiology during 2020-2030 are projected to be at 29% and 16%, respectively. Thus, WSU-CSD strives to further develop its programs and increase its scales of operations.

Our Aspiration: 

  1. To increase WSU-CSD undergraduate and post-baccalaureate enrollment by adding new CSD course(s) designed for high schoolers, community college students, and undergraduate non-major students at WSU.
  2. To maintain full enrollment and explore increases in enrollment in the SLP (M.A.) and Audiology (Au.D.) programs, and to increase enrollment in the Ph.D. program as faculty size allows.
  3. To improve our funding situation through research grants and student scholarships to attract high-caliber students and increase enrollments.
  4. To establish/explore combined AuD/PhD and SLP/PhD programs, an online SLP program, two Assistants Certification Programs, a bilingual SLP certificate program, and offer American Sign Language courses.
  5. To pursue fundraising to build a state-of-the-art vestibular and balance laboratory, and to develop infrastructure for tele-education, tele-practice and simulations.
  6. To constantly update our website contents and enhance the website communications with our audiences.
  7. To increase our faculty size by filling the tenure-track lines.

Goal 1.  Increase student enrollment to WSU-CSD undergraduate and                       

      post-baccalaureate programs

Objectives:

3.1.1. Develop online or hybrid CSD courses and offer them to WSU non-majors and qualified high school seniors

3.1.2. Develop new courses as needed to meet General Education requirement

3.1.3. Explore and establish CSD-Start program and articulation agreements with high schools and community colleges to enhance enrollment

3.1.4. Increase recruitment of out-of-state students

3.1.5. Involve alumni and CSD graduates at targeted schools in efforts to recruit new and transfer students

3.1.6. Participate in WSU-CLAS recruitment events and offer tours of CSD department

3.1.7. Increasingly use social media to advertise our undergraduate and graduate programs

3.1.8. Increase opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research activities (for example, attending research seminars and poster events and participating in research projects); increase student exposure to clinical experience

Goal 2.  Maintain and improve recruitment to WSU-CSD graduate programs

Objectives:

3.2.1. Increase visibility of our CSD graduate programs regionally and nationally

3.2.2. Provide strong support for student applicants during the admissions process

3.2.3. Continue to strengthen cutting-edge clinical training programs with improved infrastructure

3.2.4. Increase funding for student scholarships, stipends or paid student research assistantships

3.2.5. Increase publicity of our research conducted by the current graduate students

Goal 3. Grow new programs and enhance departmental infrastructure

Objectives:

3.3.1. Launch a combined AuD/PhD program to train high-caliber clinician-scientists to meet the high-education needs in the Audiology program locally and nationally. Per the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA), there is a shortage of audiologists with a PhD degree who are able to conduct innovative research. The AuD/PhD program incorporates research and clinical experiences, prepares scientifically oriented audiology clinicians and fosters student interest in pursuing PhD degrees and faculty-researcher careers.

3.3.2. Explore the feasibility of developing a combined MA-SLP/PhD program to train high-caliber clinician-scientists to meet the high-education needs in the Speech Language Pathology program locally and nationally.

3.3.3. Establish a bilingual SLP certificate program to enroll and train bilingual students to clinically serve a diversified population; then extend to different languages and to the Audiology program; explore possibility to extend to global educational initiative.

3.3.4. Explore two Assistants Certification Programs to provide Audiology Assistants and Speech-Language Pathology Assistants (SLPA) the opportunity to become certified practitioners.

3.3.5. Explore a 3-year online SLP program to enroll non-traditional students.

3.3.6. Offer American Sign Language courses to meet such need of students of CSD and other departments.

3.3.7. Pursue fundraising to develop infrastructure for tele-education, tele-practice and simulations for both SLP and Audiology programs.

3.3.8. Pursue fundraising to build a state-of-the-art vestibular and balance laboratory to enhance clinical training, clinical services, and research for the Audiology program.

3.3.9. Enhance website quality and updates to better communicate with our audiences, including current and prospective students, faculty, supervisors of clinical placements, alumni, and donors.

Goal 4. Increase number of CSD faculty members

Objectives:

3.4.1. Fill tenure-track Ph.D. faculty position in Child Language for our SLP program to meet CAA standard, decrease part-time faculty/instructors, increase CSD scholarly strength and research productivity, and increase recruitment of new Ph.D. students

3.4.2. Fill tenure-track Ph.D. or AuD/Ph.D. faculty position in the discipline of Audiology to meet CAA standard, decrease part-time faculty/instructors, increase CSD scholarly strength and research productivity, and increase recruitment of new Ph.D. students

3.4.3. Pursue endowed chairmanship/professorship opportunities to increase faculty size

Outcome Measurement:

  1. Increased undergraduate student enrollments and quality of students admitted.
  2. Increased scholarships for students.
  3. Increased student participation in research activity.
  4. Enhanced reputation of WSU-CSD programs.
  5. Increased number of faculty members to meet the need of increased student enrollments.

4. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is dedicated to supporting the rights and identities of our students, faculty, staff, and individuals we serve. The WSU-CSD Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee was formed in the fall of 2021 to support this mission and accomplish our department goals.  To bring our plan to fruition, the committee will focus on creating a healthy environment for faculty, students, and the communities we serve, enhancing the CSD curriculum to include an increased study of cultural and linguistic diversity, and improve our implementation of equal opportunity employment.   The WSU-CSD Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will continue to engage in an ongoing dialogue, promote active listening, and reflect cultural humility. We commit to acknowledging and respecting differences among individuals within our department as well as across Wayne State University, the community, and our profession. The committee will solicit input from all faculty and staff members of the department. In addition, the committee invites students enrolled in our BA, MA, AuD and PhD programs to participate.

Our Aspiration:

1. To continue our DEI Committee activities to make annual recommendations to the                   Chair and faculty concerning DEI-related issues and policies.

2. To promote and measure faculty and student learning in multicultural and linguistic                   diversity.

3. Promote social justice within the department, CSD professions, and community.

4. Create, nurture, and sustain an inclusive culture.

Goal 1: Further enrich a healthy environment that robustly embraces and enhances faculty and student diversity, equity and inclusivity

Objectives:

4.1.1. Continue the growth of the WSU-CSD DEI Committee by meeting monthly to review current and historical topics, encourage dialogue, and promote ongoing positive change.

4.1.2. Promote engagement in WSU-CSD DEI activities through department organizations such as Wayne State University Student Speech-Language & Hearing Association (WSSLHA) and Student Academy of Audiology (SAA).

4.1.3. Ensure WSU-CSD Department is safe and welcoming for all individuals.

4.1.4. Increase enrollment of diverse and underrepresented populations in CSD programs by improving outreach and relationships with K-12 schools.

4.1.5. Identify successful practices at other institutions for recruiting a higher number of qualified underrepresented students to our CSD programs.

4.1.6. Continue to provide the multicultural issues course to the graduate program

4.1.7. Include diversity, equity and inclusion statements within course syllabi.

Goal.2:  Enhance study of cultural and linguistic diversity, equity, and inclusion in CSD programs

Objectives:

4.3.1. Provide annual cultural competence training and professional development opportunities to assist curricular innovation and infusion of diversity into course content and teaching strategies.

4.3.2. Broaden class offerings to include focus on intercultural engagement, diverse histories, and cultural competence.

4.3.3. Annual review of course offerings to build a more inclusive curriculum.

4.3.4. Implement evidence-based practices to remove barriers that may pose difficulties for diverse and underrepresented populations.  

Goal 3:  Continue to follow hiring guidelines of the WSU Office of Equal Opportunity and ASHA standards

Objectives:

4.4.1. Design a robust support structure within our department to ensure the inclusion and success of diverse faculty and staff. 

4.4.2. Review and strengthen the importance of diversity and inclusion in the job ad and the expression of diversity.

4.4.3. Implement evidence-based strategies to enhance recruitment/retention of underrepresented faculty and staff through advocacy, personal support, mentoring and professional development.

Outcome Measurement:

  1. Retention rate of diverse and underrepresented student populations.
  2. Increased enrollment of diverse and underrepresented student populations.
  3. Increased participation in relevant continuing education opportunities.  
  4. Increased participation on DEI Committee.

5. Financial Sustainability and Operational Excellence

Our Department's mission and vision requires solid financial support and operational excellence to be realized. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is committed to achieving the financial sustainability and operational excellence in our department in order to meet the needs of our students, faculty, staff, and individuals we serve. The WSU-CSD Recruitment/Enrollment, Research Growth, Clinical Development, Budget, Research Engagement, Community Outreach, and Fundraising Committees will support this mission and accomplish our department goals. The committee will solicit input from all faculty and staff members of the department. 

Our Aspiration:

1. To maintain financial sustainability and operational excellence by growing programs with increased student enrollment, extramural research funding, and private and foundation donations.

2. To work with corporate and community entities to generate financial interest for the CSD department mission while raising the awareness of speech, language, swallowing and hearing disorders and CSD programs.

3. To establish and implement a comprehensive marketing plan in coordination with the development office and CLAS.

Goal 1:  Growth of existing programs and launch new programs/initiatives to increase student enrollments and tuition revenue

Objectives:

5.1.1. Support the goals set in Programmatic Stability and Growth (3.1-3.4) to increase student enrollments, graduation rates and tuition revenue. 

5.1.2. Promote increasing student enrollment and fundraising activities through CSD Alumni, CSD Leadership program, Wayne State University Student Speech-Language, Hearing Association (WSSLHA) and Student Academy of Audiology (SAA).

Goal 2:  Increase extramural research funding and revenue through research excellence, innovative, forward-thinking, and impactful science, among research faculty

Objectives:

5.2.1. Set up a research committee in our CSD department to support research publications and grant proposals. 

5.2.2. Encourage research collaboration among research and clinical faculty.

Goal 3:  Explore the feasibility and possibilities of revenues from clinical services; exercise entrepreneurship and professional growth.

Objectives:

5.3.1. Increase funding from research grants, clinical grants and donations.  

5.3.2. Promote individual professional growth and success among faculty members and staff.

Goal 4:  Increase scholarship and philanthropic revenue through working with the Development Office and the college, and reaching out to potential donors and mission-based foundations

Objectives:

5.4.1. Encourage grant proposals and fundraising activities to increase funding for student scholarships. 

5.4.2. Promote outreach to potential donors and mission-based foundations for increasing philanthropic revenue.

Goal 5:  Work with corporate and community entities to generate financial interest for CSD's mission while raising the awareness of speech, language, swallowing and hearing disorders and CSD programs

Objectives:

5.5.1. Increase the awareness of speech, language, swallowing and hearing disorders through open house, community service and public education events.

5.5.2. Promote our CSD programs by demonstration of educational, clinical and research contributions that our programs bring to people in Michigan and beyond.

5.5.3. Emphasize the urgent needs of the CSD department for funding student scholarships, community services and professional education.

5.5.4. Develop more feasible ways for donors to make donations and share resources.

Goal.6:  Maintain stable and healthy financial and administrative operations for CSD programs; facilitate faculty and/or students' participation in professional conferences, academic training, and other professional advancement events.

Objectives:

5.6.1. Hold regular budget committee meetings and review the financial needs, department resource spending and the corresponding outcome measurements. 

5.6.2. Provide financial incentives or reimbursements for faculty and students to participate in professional conferences, academic training and other professional advancement events. 

Outcome Measurement:

  1. Increased enrollment for CSD undergraduate and graduate programs.
  2. Increased tuition revenue for CSD undergraduate and graduate programs.
  3. Increased operational funding and resources for CSD department, faculty and students.
  4. Increased research funding and resources for CSD department, faculty and students.

6. Alumni and Community Outreach and Engagement

Support from our alumni and community is vital for the healthy, robust, and successful operations in all the programs of the department. Thus, WSU-CSD is committed to engaging and maintaining a strong relationship with our alumni as well as with the community. To achieve the goals, WSU-CSD will continue offering CEU events, Kopp lectures, workshops, and other professional events to our alumni and community, updating our alumni with new accomplishments of students and faculty by disseminating newsletters, reaching out to local high schools and community colleges for increasing enrollment, and providing services to the community.

Our Aspiration:

  1. To work with corporate and community entities to generate financial interest for the CSD department mission while raising the awareness of speech, swallowing, hearing and balance disorders and CSD programs
  2. To engage our alumni and local community centers by holding professional CEU events and workshops, communicating via newsletters, and giving educational seminars at local community centers and to encourage more alumni to participate in the clinical training and mentorship of our current students
  3. To reach out to local high schools, community colleges, and non-CSD departments within and outside of WSU through in-person and virtual informational sessions and workshops

Goal 1.  Continue CEU events, Kopp lectures, workshops, and other professional events with participation of alumni and community partners. A large percentage of licensed audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the state of Michigan participate in providing clinical training of our Doctor of Audiology graduate students, many of whom are WSU CSD alumni.

Objectives:

6.1.1. To show appreciation to our community preceptors for their valuable part in WSU SLP and Au.D. clinical education

6.1.2. To foster and maintain relationships with alumni and community clinicians

6.1.3 To continue graduating excellent clinicians and researchers who are willing to participate in the clinical training and mentoring of current students

Goal 2.  Update our alumni with regular newsletters, via email and CSD website, about new developments in students' academic and clinical accomplishments in CSD programs and SLP and Audiology clinics, students' campus life, faculty research, technology and funding, student and faculty spotlights, and campus events.

Objectives:

6.2.1. To foster and maintain relationships with our alumni to encourage continued collaboration in their participation in the clinical training/mentorship of our current students

6.2.2. Encourage financial support of the department's technological, academic, clinical, and research goals

Goal 3.  Reach out to local high schools, community colleges, and other departments within and outside WSU by presenting and introducing our CSD programs and mission, to attract more students to the CSD professions.

Objectives:

6.3.1. To bring awareness to the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology in in high school students in order to foster interest in the fields as students decide on a career path

6.4.1 To increase enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs thereby, increasing tuition revenue

Goal 4.  Enhance CSD department impact by having our faculty and students to give seminars centered on speech, swallowing and/or hearing and balance disorders to local communities such as nursing homes and community centers

Objectives:

6.4.1 To bring awareness to communication sciences and disorders and provide information to potential patients who may benefit from speech-language pathology and/or audiology assessment and/or treatment

6.4.2 To provide education and treatment options to those who are living with various communication disorders and bring awareness to the need for financial support of clinical training and research in these areas

6.4.3 To encourage financial support of the department's work in training clinicians who can assess and treat various communication disorders and researchers who would bring new scientific knowledge the fields to improve patients' quality of life  

Goal 5.  Reach out to and work with corporate and community entities to generate financial interest for CSD's mission while raising the awareness of speech, swallowing and hearing disorders and CSD programs

Objectives:

6.5.1 To raise awareness of the significant impact communication disorders may have on individuals with the goal of encouraging a financial investment in the education of future clinicians

Outcome Measurement:

  1. Track revenue generated by tuition brought in through recruitment efforts for growing the programs; track financial investments to the department from alumni, corporate, and community donors.
  2. Track the number of alumni and community clinicians who are preceptors for current graduate students.
  3. Track the number of students who apply and are accepted to CSD programs through various recruitment efforts.