Strategic plan: speech-language pathology

Strategic Plan 2010-2017

 

The program in speech-language pathology has the following strategic plan.

 

Vision Statement

The graduate program in speech-language pathology at The University of Southern Mississippi aspires to be recognized nationally for superior academic and clinical education of speech-language pathologists, provision of clinical services for individuals with communication disorders, and advancement of the development of practitioners and researchers.

 

Mission Statement                                                                

In congruence with the University of Southern Mississippi mission and the College of Health mission, the departmental mission of the program is to educate students to become competent professionals in the field of communication disorders via a variety of instructional models. Activities include developing professionals for a diverse and changing population, utilizing current best practices, advancing knowledge through research, and serving as a resource for the community and profession. Success is evidenced in the eligibility of graduating students for national certification, accomplishments in research, excellence in clinical instruction, and the success of our graduates as professionals.

 

Envisioned Future in 2020

The program in speech-language pathology has developed procedures for ongoing review of academic and clinical policies and activities that ensure excellence of training in undergraduate, masters, and continuing education programs.  A procedure is in place for using objective measures to ensure that clinical services are based on scholarship. The program attracts a number of students from all over the country, and it encourages international students as well. There is both a diverse student and clinical population reflecting world demographic trends. Under the guidance of world-renowned faculty, students will explore both theory and practice in courses that prepare them to meet the needs of an increasingly complex society. The program offers students challenging and often multidisciplinary programs through consortiums with other universities that aid them in realizing their full potential via a variety of instructional methods. The admissions process results in a body of students who demonstrates superior scholarship and clinical competence. Successful graduates of the program are employed in various settings which include research, educational, clinical, and medical settings. Graduates are also active in state and national professional organizations. Financial support for students continues to be expanded through research and education grants, and special programs such as the DuBard School for Language Disorders and the Children’s Center for Communication and Development. These provide students with unique and exciting clinical and research experiences.

Faculty members have the time to pursue research topics of interest, obtain grants, and develop special projects in collaboration with other disciplines and outside agencies, and they are widely published in their areas of expertise. All clinical programs and projects enjoy national and international recognition and support. Consequently, the graduate program has expanded to include a doctoral program in speech-language pathology that achieves national acclaim. As a result of this expansion, faculty have increased in number, and a mentoring program is in place to ensure the successful pursuits of scholarly endeavors by junior faculty. The program is housed in a state-of-the-art facility that affords cutting edge equipment and clinical materials.    

 

Process

The speech-language pathology master’s program’s strategic plan was designed by faculty with input from students, practicing speech-language pathologists and interested members of the community. The faculty began with the previous strategic plan, recommendations from the reaccreditation process, needs expressed by supervisors, and the mission statements and goals for the University, College of Health, and Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. Using those as a basis, the faculty developed goals that addressed programmatic, faculty, and student needs. Also considered and incorporated into the plan, are the needs of professionals within the state and current professional practices. A plan that considered the program’s vision statement and was achievable within a five year time frame was designed. Once the plan was aligned with the institution’s mission, it was reviewed by the Dean and Provost. 

 

Guiding Principles/Values

In order to meet the mission, the Program will emphasize:

·         Academic excellence

·         Clinical excellence

·         Integrity/Ethics

·         Responsivity to the needs of clients and the communities (local, state, regional, national)

·         Research-based practices

·         Interdisciplinary collaboration

·         Diversity

·         Advocacy

 

FOCUS AREA: Clinic Demographics of Adult Clients

Issue: To provide all graduate students with adequate on-campus clinical experiences with adults with communication disorders. This will assure that students have the basic knowledge and clinical skills necessary for placement in an off-site experience.

Baseline data:

For the years 2008-2010, 41% of the students were assigned adult clients during their on-campus clinical experience. Data collection will continue on a regular basis to ensure that the desired outcome of 90% is achieved and maintained.

Outcome

·         Graduate students are given clinical experience in treating at least one adult with communication disorders.

Indicator of success

·         End-of-semester surveys of clinic records show that 90% of students have been assigned at least one or more adult clients.  

Strategies

1.       The clinic faculty will continue to hold ongoing reviews of graduate student caseload variety.

·         Results: Implemented.                                                                

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

2.       By 2011, the clinic faculty will provide public information about services offered for adult clients in the clinic via media presentations, printed materials, and visits to local treatment centers.

·         Results: Implemented via word of mouth and brochure created.

·         Action: Distribute brochure and continue implementation of strategies.

3.       By 2011, the clinic faculty will develop marketing strategies to target the adult population.

·         Results: Implemented via word of mouth and brochure created.

·         Action: Distribute brochure and continue implementation of strategies.

4.       By 2011, the clinic faculty will initiate an adult client referral process to be provided to physicians, rehabilitation staff, assisted living staff, and support groups.

·         Results: Implemented via word of mouth and brochure created.

·         Action: Distribute brochure and continue implementation of strategies.

 

FOCUS AREA: Clinical and Classroom Knowledge

 Issue: The integrating of classroom instruction and clinical experiences can result in students developing appropriate academic knowledge and clinical skills.

Baseline data:

For the semesters Fall 2008 and Spring and Fall 2009, baseline data were collected from both off-campus supervisors and graduating students concerning the integration of academic knowledge and clinical skills in their assigned sites. The results indicated that 78% of supervisors reported that the students demonstrated their ability to integrate course knowledge with their practicum experience.  81% of students reported that they were able to integrate course knowledge into practicum experience at their assigned site.

Outcome

·         Students demonstrate the ability to use knowledge obtained from the classroom curriculum in their clinical practicum.

Indicator of Success

·         90% of clinical supervisors report on student evaluation forms that students provide treatment based on evidence-based practices, and theoretical as well as physical applications.

·         90% of students surveyed report that their classroom experiences prepared them sufficiently for their clinical experience.

Strategies                                                                                  

1.       By 2011, the department chair will be responsible for ensuring that academic faculty and clinic staff continue to remain current in best practices, policies and procedures via continuing education units.

·         Results: Implemented

·         Action: Continue Implementation of strategies.

2.       By 2011, clinic staff will increase the utilization of academic faculty members in clinic according to their specific clinical expertise.

·         Results: Implemented via utilization of two academic faculty members in clinic according to their specific clinical expertise.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

3.       By 2011, the academic faculty members will increase the utilization of clinical supervisors who have specific areas of expertise in subject matter in classroom instruction to at least two occasions each semester.

·         Results: Implemented via guest lectures by clinical supervisors in various courses at least twice each semester.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

4.       By 2015, the clinic staff will develop and implement focused discussion groups at least once per semester which will include both class and clinic.

 

FOCUS AREA: Admissions Process

Issue: Students applying for admission may choose to enroll in other programs if they are not informed early enough in the process. Therefore, an earlier admission decision along with a statement of financial support may increase the probability of recruiting outstanding students that meet or exceed departmental and graduate school standards.

Baseline data:

Baseline data collection is currently underway and will be completed by the end of 2011. For the years 2009-2010, of those invited to the program, 30% of students who met departmental admissions standards rejected their admission invitation. This resulted in students admitted from the alternate list, 21% of whom did not meet departmental admission standards. The majority of students who rejected their invitation reported during interview that their decision was based on lack of financial support and late admission acceptance dates. The data collection process will require a complete survey of students rejecting admission to the program. 

Outcome

·         Students admitted to the program have the credentials necessary to meet departmental standards for admission and which exceed graduate school requirements.

Indicator of Success

·         95% of students admitted to the program meet the requirements for regular admission status.

Strategies

·         By 2011, the curriculum committee will put a plan in place to implement an earlier admissions decision date to the program.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

·         By 2011, the curriculum committee will ensure that 85% of the Graduate Record Examination test scores of admitted students will fall in the 50th percentile or above on quantitative and verbal sections.

·         Results: 72% of admitted students scored in the 50th percentile or above on the GRE.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies to raise this percentage.

·         By 2011, the curriculum committee will ensure that the grade point average of 85% of admitted students meets regular admission status.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

·         By 2013, the curriculum committee will ensure that 90% of the Graduate Record Examination test scores of admitted students will be a minimum of 900.

·         By 2013, the curriculum committee will ensure that the grade point average of 90% of admitted students meets regular admission status.

·         By 2013, the department will develop a plan to work in conjunction with funding sources to provide an increase in student financial support.

·         By 2014, the curriculum committee will ensure that 95% of the Graduate Record Examination test scores of admitted students will be a minimum of 900.

·         By 2014, the curriculum committee will ensure that the grade point average of 95% of admitted students meets regular admission status.

 

FOCUS AREA: Curriculum

 Issue: To ensure that the curriculum and educational opportunities provide adequate breadth, depth, and relevance of information for outstanding graduate education and support the scope of practice. Newly hired faculty bring with them new and diverse perspectives and innovative teaching methods in their areas of expertise. Therefore, restructuring the curriculum will result in faculty teaching and/or supervising in their areas of expertise. This will, in turn, result in preparing outstanding graduates with the competencies to serve individuals with communication disorders.

Baseline data

Baseline data collection is currently underway and will be completed by 2011. Data collection will continue on a regular basis as a means of measuring and monitoring progress toward the outcomes listed below. This data collection process will require faculty members to provide current syllabi as well as report additional professional training. 

Outcome

·         Syllabi are consistent with KASA requirements.

·         Each course is taught by faculty with greatest expertise in the course area.  

Indicator of Success

·         100% of the syllabi contain appropriate KASA indicators.

·         90% of the courses are taught by faculty who have demonstrated experience and expertise in their area of instruction.

Strategies

·         By 2011 and ongoing, the faculty will meet annually in May to review and confirm currency of core requirements for the curriculum.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

·         By 2011, the teaching faculty will compile information regarding course content.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

·         By 2012, the faculty will present syllabi that demonstrate that all core requirements have been incorporated into the curriculum.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

·         By 2013, the curriculum committee will meet to ensure that the curriculum is taught by faculty and clinical supervisors with the appropriate experience and areas of expertise. 

·         By 2014, the chairperson will continually monitor and assure that faculty are assigned courses according to areas of expertise.

 

FOCUS AREA:  Research

 

Issue:  Research is an essential component of the Mission statement for the University, College of Health, and the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. In order to advance to a higher level of research activity, the speech-language pathology program will build an environmental foundation for research activities that will yield increased research productivity in the near future and will form a lasting academic culture of conducting research, presenting professional papers, publishing journal articles, and submitting competitive grants.  Additionally, research within the program is essential to providing students with a reference for evidence-based practice.   In order to advance, faculty members will need release time, laboratory space, and a program structure that encourages and enhances research productivity.

 

Baseline Data: 

Baseline data collection is currently underway and will be completed by end of the fall 2010 semester.  Data collection will continue on a regular basis as a means of measuring and monitoring progress toward the outcomes listed below.  This data collection process will require faculty members to provide research activity information on a routine basis to a coordinator of research.  The data to be collected from each faculty member are:

 

1.       Number of presentations at state, regional, and national meetings per year for the last five years.

2.       Number of peer-reviewed publications per year for the last five years.

3.       Number of current active research projects that will lead to presentation(s) and/or publication(s).

4.       Number of competitive research grants submitted in the last five years.

5.       Number of competitive research grants awarded in the last five years.

 

Outcomes

1.       The number of faculty members involved in research will increase.

2.       The number of research presentations at national meetings and the number of articles published in peer-reviewed journals will increase.

3.       The number of competitive grant requests to conduct research will increase.

4.       The number of competitive research grants awarded will increase.

 

Indicators of Success

1.       Effective Fall 2011, the number of faculty members involved in presentations and publications in research will increase by 10 percent per year until a criterion of 90% is reached.

2.       Beginning in 2011, the number of presentations at national professional meetings and the number of articles published in peer reviewed journals will increase by one per year (relative to the baseline) until a ratio of 1:1 presentation or publication per faculty member per year is reached.

3.       By 2012, at least two faculty members per year will be involved in submitting competitive grants to fund research projects.

4.       By 2014, one or more faculty members will be awarded grants for research projects.

 

Strategies

1.       By Fall 2011, the Department Chair will be responsible for providing research laboratory space for each faculty member actively involved in research within one year of their joining the USM faculty.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

2.       Effective Fall 2010, the Department Chair will finalize a plan for providing release time to conduct research.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

3.       By Fall 2011, the Department Chair or designee will organize a “journal club” type meeting of faculty and students on a regular basis.  The purposes of the “journal club” are to initiate, facilitate, enhance and disseminate research activities.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

4.       By Fall 2011, no fewer than 25% of course syllabi will have options for student participation in research activities such as writing literature reviews or formal papers, and conducting surveys or experimental research projects.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

5.       By Fall 2011, students who have a thesis option will be advised by the research coordinator of the advantages and opportunities for learning that are commensurate with completing a thesis.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

6.       By Spring 2011, the Department Chair will appoint and charge a coordinator of research activities whose duties will include but are not limited to collecting data regarding faculty research activity, to serve as an advocate for research productivity and to submit status reports to the Chair on a regular basis.

·         Results: Implemented.

·         Action: Continue implementation of strategies.

 

FOCUS AREA: Resource Allocations

Issue: The need for systematic assessment of adequacy of current resources and anticipated needs is critical for ensuring that the quality of the program is maintained and future goals are met. The program receives income from both university and self-generated sources such as clinic fees and grants; therefore, evaluating income and spending is paramount to prudent usage of funds.

Baseline Data:  By Spring 2013, baseline data will be collected. Collected data will include monthly detailed reports on expenditures documented via accounting software and detailed monthly reports on acquisitions documented via QuickBooks.

 

Outcomes

1.       Clinic funding will increase.

2.       Resources for academic and clinical use will increase.

3.       New funding sources will be identified.

 

Indicators of Success

1.       Beginning in fall 2013, reports summarizing income and expenditure details will be completed by the end of each semester.

2.       Beginning in fall 2013, recommendations regarding budget changes will have been reported by the end of each semester.

 

Strategies

1.       By fall 2013, the office manager will conduct monthly monitoring of reports concerning income and expenditures of the department to ensure best utilization of funds.              

·         Computer software has been purchased and set up.

2.       By fall 2013, clinical staff will conduct monthly monitoring of reports concerning income and expenditures of the clinic to ensure best utilization of funds.    

·         Computer software has been purchased and set up.

3.       By 2014, the department chair will make recommendations for budgetary changes and identification of any additional funding sources based on these reports from the office manager and clinical staff in light of program needs.

 

Mechanism for Regular Evaluation of the Plan

·         Review the mission, strategic goals, and strategic objectives annually and update as necessary.

Mechanism for Regular Evaluation of Progress in Meeting the Plan’s Objectives

·         Academic and clinical faculty feedback (e.g., semester course and clinic evaluations by students, survey of employers who hire prior students, exit surveys by graduating students) will be provided by the university and clinic director and will then be reviewed annually by the department chair.

·         The curriculum committee will review the curriculum annually by May 31st.

·         Progress across all objectives will be reviewed by faculty members annually by May 31st.

·         Progress will be discussed and documented in the department chair’s annual meeting with the college dean.

·         Progress will be summarized and reported in the annual report due to the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology by February 1st.

·         Annual reports will be posted as a link on the departmental website for dissemination to all interested parties by August 31st.

This plan has been reviewed by departmental faculty members, as well as outside sources such as off-site clinical supervisors and university alumni. Any suggested changes, additions, subtractions, or comments are encouraged. Please see Mary Schaub(Mary.Schaub@usm.edu) or Jennifer Salgo Corie (Jennifer.Salgo@usm.edu).