1 Graduate Program Prioritization Criteria and Questions/Elements 1. History, Development and Expectations of the Program a. Provide, to the best of your ability, a brief description of the program s history including the evolution of the program over the years. Describe specific changes that have been made to the program curriculum, changes to student demographics and the impact of these changes on the program, and efforts to recruit students to the program. If this is a new program, describe efforts to build the program and the progress of these efforts to date. (550) The Communication Disorders program has been accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) since Over the years, the program has added and revised course content and learning outcomes to keep up with the expanding scope of practice and national accreditation requirements. In addition, the department regularly surveys our off-campus clinical supervisors and employers to determine if additional programming is necessary to prepare our students to work in educational and medical settings. New courses have been added to the program in response to these surveys such as dysphagia, literacy, augmentative and alternative communication, and cognitive-communication disorders. Clinical education has also evolved and expanded over the years to the point where we now see approximately 150 clients weekly in our campus clinic, the Center for Communication Disorders (CCD). Students currently are provided with opportunities to work in the areas of craniofacial, literacy, auditory processing, transgender voice, and neurogenic disorders in addition to the more traditional speech, language and hearing developmental and acquired disorders. In terms of recruitment, our department attends the Graduate School Open House each year. The Admission Committee responds to literally hundreds of phone calls and inquiries each year. The number of applications reviewed has increased significantly over the years. We have seen an increase in the number of students who are changing careers as well as an increase in the number of students continuing on to graduate school who do not have their undergraduate degree in communication disorders. Because many of our graduate students come from non-cmd programs and need to take the prerequisite courses, we have had to increase the number of course offerings to accommodate the students. The department has a past history of success in grant writing to recruit minority students. A USDE Grant, The Recruitment of Minority Speech-
2 Language Pathologists to Serve the Communicatively Handicapped, was awarded from From , this grant was followed by a USDE Grant, Promoting Recruitment and Retention of African American and Hispanic Graduates Resulting in Enhanced Speech Services (PRRAAHGRESS). We also received a training grant for recruitment of students who wished to pursue the use of technology in management of communication disorders. Funding from these grants ended in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Currently, our student demographics show that most students are Caucasian females. Due to the fact that the program receives applications from a larger number of highly-qualified candidates than we can admit, we only staff a recruitment booth at the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention when the convention is held on the east coast. The vast majority of our students are Connecticut residents; this is desirable because of the shortage of speech-language pathologists and the greater likelihood that these students will desire employment in the state upon graduation. b. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Issues you might choose to discuss could include visibility of the program, relationships the program has external to the university, changes in the economic support for the program, staffing, etc.) (150) The program is highly visible in the region and especially in Connecticut. As one of only two (soon to be three) programs in the state, it is in great demand. Because of the necessity of external practica placements for our students, we have developed relationships with most of the hospitals in the state, a large number of skilled nursing facilities, and a very large number of public schools. We also have a number of individuals who work in the field who sit on our Advisory Board and a large number of our adjunct supervisors work in the state in various settings. 2. External Demand for the Program a. Using the data provided, review and explain the relationship between the program and external factors that impact the: i. Number of applicants and percentage of applicants accepted Academic Program Applications Accepted Acceptance % Year MS-CMD % MS-CMD % MS-CMD %
3 MS-CMD % MS-CMD % ii. 5-year enrollment trends (450) Enrollments '08 '09 '09 '10 '10 '11 '11 '12 '12 '13 Avg Avg Female Male Total Full-Time Part-Time i. The Admissions Committee reviews approximately applications per year for 45 graduate admission slots for a 17-27% admission rate. This demand for graduate admissions has resulted in a highly-qualified pool of applicants. The average grade point average (GPA) for the 2013 incoming class was 3.65 (on a 4.0 scale). The field of speech-language pathology is highly in-demand in CT (declared a shortage area by the state) and nationally. We have increased our number of admissions from approximately 35 about five years ago to the current number of 45 per the Dean and Provost s requests. A significant number of qualified candidates are turned away each year due to the limited resources of the Department such as on-campus clinic space, faculty recruitment, faculty office space, off-campus clinic site challenges, etc. Please note the discrepancy between department statistics and those provided to us by Institutional Research. ii. Enrollment for the department has increased slightly by design over the last five years. It is important to note that we also limit enrollment numbers by design because of the limited resources described above. There is a shortage of SLPs state and nationwide which is expected to increase. U.S. Labor Statistics project the following: Future trends for the next five years indicate that student interest will remain very strong. Per U.S. Government projections, employment for speech-language pathologists is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population grows older, there will be more instances of health conditions that cause speech or language impairments, such as strokes, brain injuries, and hearing loss. This will result in
4 increased demand for speech-language pathologists. (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-languagepathologists.htm b. Which employers, institutions and/or communities benefit from this program? Describe how the program meets the needs of the state (e.g., economic, cultural, civic, etc.)? (150) Under supervision by faculty and clinical staff, our students provide comprehensive audiological and speech language pathology services to members of the University community and the Greater New Haven Community. Approximately 150 individuals per week are served, and approximately 4000 hours of services are provided annually. Services include diagnostic evaluations of speech, language and hearing disorders, ongoing therapy to address a wide variety of communication impairments, hearing aid dispensing, consultation to schools, doctors, and social service providers, and consultation and intervention services provided through the New Haven Reads program. Graduate employment rate as speech-language pathologists is 100% in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and rehabilitation centers. SLPs serve the community by diagnosing and treating communication disorders in individuals along the life cycle. In CT, from , speech-language pathology has been listed as a teacher shortage area by the U.S. Department of Education (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.pdf pg. 23). c. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Issues you might choose to discuss could include competition from local, regional, and other institutions.) (100) Given the fact that Sacred Heart University is recruiting students for its first class of CMD masters degree students and is also currently recruiting faculty in our highly competitive field, we need to be vigilant in protecting our program. We need to continue to provide resources for the program and aggressively recruit faculty as the need arises. 3. Internal Demand for the Program a. Using the data provided, please describe how courses in your program serve students in other programs. What percentage of students in your courses come from other programs? Please provide enrollment data for graduate courses offered by your department that are required for other graduate programs. (Some of your discussion in this section may be repetitive,
5 but is important in understanding the internal demand for the program.) (100) Given the courses highly specific nature and the requirement for prerequisites, students from other departments rarely take courses in CMD. b. How is enrollment for your graduate program influenced by enrollment in your undergraduate program? Is there potential for a formal pathway between the two programs? (100) Students who complete our undergraduate program are eligible to apply for the Masters program. Due to the large number of applicants to the program, we are unable to accept many of these students. There is potential for a formal undergraduate to graduate pathway and/or consideration of a fiveyear bachelors/masters program. The undergraduate and graduate programs in speech-language pathology are intimately tied since per accreditation standards, students who have a bachelors degree in fields other than speech-language pathology must complete the 11 prerequisite undergraduate courses as part of their Master s program. This is relevant for approximately one-third of our Master s students. c. How reliant are you on non-program students taking your courses? (100) We are not at all reliant. d. Does the program produce services needed by other parts of the campus (e.g. clinics, testing services)? (100) Yes, the program runs a thriving clinic, the Center for Communication Disorders (CCD) that sees approximately 150 clients on a weekly basis. SCSU employees and employee family members are seen at no cost at the CCD for speech-language and hearing evaluations and treatment. In addition, there have been screening programs, e.g., hearing screening, that have been offered in the past on campus. e. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (100) 4. Quality of Program Inputs and Processes a. Please provide a narrative of how the qualifications and assignments of your full- and part-time faculty align with and support the program. Please include a discussion of the challenges and successes the department faces in providing qualified faculty to meet the needs of the program. In those
6 programs where it is appropriate, please discuss the integration of adjuncts into the program s curriculum. (450) Each faculty member and clinical instructor has an academic/clinical/research specialty area (e.g. child language, phonology, literacy, adult neurogenics, swallowing, audiology), and teaches courses or supervises clinical activities related to that area, thus ensuring that students meet the competency standards set by ASHA. All faculty and staff are highly visible and productive professionals, recognized at the state and national levels for their scholarship, clinical expertise, and leadership. It is a challenge to recruit faculty for our profession, given a recognized and publicized shortage of individuals with Ph.D. s in the field. One of the major contributing factors to this situation is the fact that graduates of masters degree programs are highly sought after by employers and receive starting salaries that are typically equal to or surpass those offered to new faculty members. Although we were lucky to recruit several new faculty members over the past few years to fill some vacated positions,we currently have three open positions/searches and it is unlikely that we will be able to fill all of these positions this year. Last year, although we were initially approved for two searches, one of these was eliminated due to state level budget cuts. Freezing that position last year was critical in terms of hindering our goal of recruiting faculty to meet our needs. The three current open positions will need to be filled in order to maintain the quality of our program. Other challenges we face in addition to the Ph.D. shortage include competition from a new program opening at Sacred Heart University which is also actively recruiting faculty, and the SCSU workload requirements. We regularly rely on adjuncts to supervise in the Center for Communication Disorders due to the high volume of clients and students and the supervision requirements set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The fact that we have only been allocated three full-time clinical positions (non-faculty positions) makes us highly reliant on our adjunct supervisors. Adjuncts follow a specific protocol in supervising students in our clinic and are supervised by our Clinic Director. b. Briefly describe the merits and logic of your curriculum. (250) The undergraduate and graduate curricula are logically sequenced to cover the science of communication, normal speech and language development, and disorders of communication. While the undergraduate courses prepare students with knowledge in normal communication processes, the graduate curriculum focuses on differential diagnosis of communication disorders and their treatment. Students take the courses prior to or concurrently with
7 supervised on-campus practica. Students have frequently commented that a strength of our program is the involvement of the faculty in the clinic. Faculty and clinical instructors work together to merge academic and clinical instruction. Students complete four semesters of coursework and clinical instruction (after completion of the pre-requisite courses), which provides them with both the didactic and supervised hands-on experiences to succeed off-campus. They then complete two off-campus internships, one in the public schools and one in a medical setting such as a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Students typically accumulate more than the 400 clinical hours than are required by ASHA, making them well-prepared for the workforce. c. How dynamic is your program? Please identify and describe what procedures are in place to provide continued, regular evaluation and review (include formal and informal activities). Describe the impact of the review on the program and curriculum (include FAAR data as evidence). (300) Graduates in the field of speech-language pathology are eligible for national certification through ASHA, state licensure and certification through the State Department of Education. Each body has its own distinct requirements; the Master s Program has been designed to fulfill all of these requirements. The major driving force behind the requirements is ASHA which has a series of standards that must be met both on the programmatic as well as the student side. Therefore all programs must submit comprehensive annual reports and must be reaccredited every eight years. Students must demonstrate that they have met all of the standards and pass the Praxis II examination as one of the graduation requirements. The Department must comply with all changes in Standards as implemented by ASHA s Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA). The newest version of the Standards went into effect in January In order to comply with these standards, the Department has been revising its curriculum over the past two years. Some of these changes tie in to the undergraduate program, e.g., as of 2014, a course in statistics is required. In addition, key changes in curriculum have been made, based at least in part, on feedback from alumni, the clinical community, and our advisory board. For example, a separate course in reading was developed, approved by the department, and offered as a special topics elective course beginning in Based on positive feedback from our accrediting agency, students, our advisory board and off-campus supervisors, this course became a permanent elective course beginning in Discussions with the advisory board and the professional community are also very helpful in the ongoing revision of course content.
8 d. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Issues you might discuss could include the quality of your incoming students, or a comparison of your curriculum, courses, assessments, experiences to similar programs. How does your program better serve students than similar programs offered elsewhere?) (200) As previously mentioned, quality of incoming students is especially high given the large applicant pool. Currently, the University of Connecticut is the only other program in the state that offers a masters degree. Southern s program can be distinguished from that of UConn in several ways. The majority of pre-requisite courses and graduate courses at Southern are taught by full-time faculty whereas at UConn, most students will not experience a course taught by a faculty member until they take graduate courses. Further, the clinical experience at Southern within the CCD is richer in that we see a larger and more diverse client population. The two off-campus practica at Southern take place full-time, five days per week, compared to two days per week for UConn students. This gives students a more realistic work experience that better prepares them for the work force upon graduation. Beginning in fall 2014, Sacred Heart will admit its first class for a master s degree in speech-language pathology. This program, however, will not offer students the experience of an on-campus clinic, a distinct disadvantage. An on-campus clinic offers far greater ability to ensure quality control and uniformity for the students. 5. Quality of Program Outcomes a. How does your program use assessment data to ensure quality of student outcomes? Describe the quality of your program outcomes. (e.g., GPA, Student Opinion Surveys, course evaluations, alumni surveys, professional assessment/evaluation, other assignments, participation in groups or organizations that focus on pedagogy or andragogy. Insert a table listing your program outcomes. Note that the table does not count in the word limit). (900 words) [Note: use only tables provided & discuss any remaining information in narrative.] Student Learning Outcomes Table The overall goal of the graduate program in Communication Disorders is to prepare professionals to be knowledgeable, clinically skillful, and capable of applying that knowledge and those skills to diverse clinical settings and situations in a cooperative, compassionate, and ethical manner. General outcomes; Graduates will: 1) Demonstrate understanding of professionalism and professional issues such as standards of ethics, confidentiality, and scope of practice. 2) Demonstrate ability to obtain pertinent case history effectively, accurately, and with minimal expenditure of time.
9 3) Demonstrate flexibility in assessment practice in order to accommodate the needs of low functioning, difficult-to-test and culturally-diverse clients. 4) Demonstrate ability to interpret test data and present recommendations accurately to the level of comprehension of the client. 5) Describe assessment procedures, preliminary findings and recommendations to clients/families in a manner appropriate to their educational and cultural backgrounds. 6) Describe the functioning of a team approach to early intervention, education and rehabilitation, including familiarity with multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary service models in a variety of settings. 7) Develop and use interview and assessment protocols appropriate to the age, education, cultural background and communication concerns of the client/family. 8) Demonstrate clinical integration skills needed to describe and interpret test results and observations, synthesize case history information with other findings, evaluate etiologic and prognostic factors to make appropriate recommendations and referrals. 9) Write clear, cohesive and complete clinical reports that include a pertinent case history, accurate interpretation of test data and proper recommendations using appropriate professional style. 10) Identify opportunities for collaboration regarding client services with families, educators, medical and other professionals and engage in collaborative intervention. 11) Demonstrate understanding of state and federal regulations governing the delivery of communication services. 12) Coordinate client treatment services directly and through consultation. 13) Identify sources of support for clients in the community, and serve as client advocate to obtain needed support. Specific outcomes; Graduates will: 1) State in detail the typical stages of communication, speech, and language acquisition including age ranges and stages for specific structures and functions and demonstrate knowledge of cultural variations, as appropriate. 2) Describe the functional communicative challenges and pathogenesis associated with specific speech, language, and hearing disorders and related conditions. 3) Demonstrate knowledge and use of instrumental technology to diagnose and treat the broad range of communication and swallowing disorders. 4) Evaluate and choose testing procedures and materials with regard to appropriateness of use with people presenting a range of communication disorders and cultural backgrounds. 5) Correctly administer standardized tests and non-standard assessments and modify a diagnostic protocol based on client response style and ability. 6) Collect, transcribe, analyze and interpret communication samples from clients at various developmental levels in various aspects of communicative function. 7) Use multiple baseline and other single subject experimental designs to evaluate treatment effectiveness. 8) Write appropriate long-term goals and short-term behavioral objectives, based on assessment data. 9) Identify and present activities at a level appropriate to the age needs, interests, ability and cultural and linguistic background of a client. 10) Sequence objectives using task analysis to achieve specified goals. 11) Communicate expectations, directions in a coherent and logical manner. 12) Use clinical time effectively, pacing activities appropriately to maximize time on task. 13) Use appropriate reinforcement and feedback strategies to maximize client performance.
10 14) Develop and implement strategies for generalizing targeted communication and swallowing skills into functional contexts. 15) Demonstrate the ability to manage challenging behavior. 16) Develop and introduce augmentative and alternative communication strategies in an intervention program, when appropriate. 17) Assist individuals and families to prioritize their goals for outcomes of treatment using a client-guided model. 18) Train and supervise support personnel. Course Information Survey AY 08/09 AY 09/10 AY 10/11 AY 11/12 AY 12/13 Statement SA/A SA/A SA/A SA/A SA/A Methods of instruction have helped me understand the subject matter. 95% 93% 93% 85% 89% Reading the assigned material has helped me understand this subject. 88% 82% 88% 82% 87% Exams and out-of-class assignments have helped me understand the subject matter. 89% 86% 92% 86% 91% Number of exams & other graded assignments has been sufficient to evaluate my progress. 88% 81% My experiences in this class make me want to learn more about this subject. 92% 88% I would rate the quality of instruction in this course as high. 95% 90% I would rate the overall quality of this course as high. 93% 91% This course helped me meet the learning goals. 97% 89% 93% This course evaluated how well I met those learning goals. 95% 84% 89% My experience in this course helped me appreciate this subject. 96% 89% 91% The instructor provided regular feedback on my performance in this course. 91% 77% 84% The instructor had high standards for student achievement. 98% 95% 95% The instructor encouraged me to take responsibility for my own learning. 98% 96% 96% '08 '09 '09 '10 '10 '11 '11 '12 '12 '13 Avg ing Avg Students GPA
11 How the above general and specific outcomes are measured: The Department of Communication Disorders uses a variety of assessment tools and methods to measure student and program outcomes in order to continuously improve the quality of the program: 1) Students are required to have a GPA of 3.0 or better in program academic and clinical courses in order to graduate. The departmental GPA has averaged higher than 3.8 over the last six years. 2) Students are required to obtain a passing score on Praxis II, the ASHA National Examination. The Communication Disorders program has a 100% pass rate for the last five years. 3) Meetings are held with the Advisory Board to solicit feedback on the preparation of students with respect to accomplishment of the knowledge and skills presented in the program. The Board is made up of employers and program alumni. Members of the Board reported that students are showing increased competence in the area of language and literacy since a course on literacy was added to the curriculum. Some members of the Board suggested increased curriculum on pediatric dysphagia; therefore, a guest lecturer regularly presents on pediatric issues in the dysphagia class. In response to employers requests for increased opportunities for medical education, a new hospital orientation program was developed. Feedback from students thus far has been very positive. 4) Exit surveys are completed by students prior to graduation. Over the past four years, students have consistently cited several strengths of the program. They reported the faculty was caring, highly knowledgeable and up-to-date in their fields, the clinical experiences provided opportunities to work with a diverse group of clients, and the coursework covered a wide range of topics. 5) Course evaluations are completed by students each semester. On average, between approximately 85% up to 97% of the students agree or strongly agree on all parameters of the student survey including that classes are worthwhile and intellectually stimulating, instructors are available and their points are made clear. Overall, students rated the quality of instruction as very high. 6) Surveys from consumers of services offered by the Center for Communication Disorders are collected and evaluated at the end of every semester. Clients report being highly satisfied with the services provided by graduate clinicians and are impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of the clinical instructors. 7) Feedback is gathered regarding acquisition of knowledge and skills from supervisors from off-campus hospital, rehabilitation and school student intern placement sites.
12 8) All graduating students complete a knowledge and skills area (KASA) tracking form. All knowledge and skills areas, as presented on the KASA form, are verified as having been completed for each course by the instructor of the course. Adequate completion of the KASA form is documented by the graduate director. b. Is there anything else you would like us to know? (Issues you may choose to discuss could include preparing your students for employment or further scholarly pursuits. Where possible provide data driven examples, e.g., number of students who pass the licensing exam). (300) In addition to the two measures reported above (100% pass rate for Praxis II and approximate average 3.8 GPA) employment rate is 100% over the last five years for all students who desired to be employed and sought employment. Completion rate within expected time frame is 91%. Statistics for the most recent three years are reported on our CMD website per requirements of our accrediting body. The two full-time off-campus practica following four on-campus practica ensure that graduating students are wellprepared for the work force and confident candidates when they seek employment. 6) Size, scope and productivity of the program a. How many credit hours does the program generate? (table) Credits Generated AY 08/09 AY 09/10 AY 10/11 AY 11/12 AY 12/13 Total Academic Credits 1,540 1,694 1,692 1,830 2,156 Major Credits 1,522 1,673 1,641 1,824 2,117 Total Students b. What degrees or certificates are awarded? (This is a simple list of degrees and will list only one degree or certificate unless you are one of the programs approved to report your data in combination)(in table form with item c) Master of Science b. How many degrees or certificates have been awarded (five year data)? AY 08/09 AY 09/10 AY 10/11 AY 11/12 AY 12/
13 d. Using the data provided, present and discuss the record of the graduate faculty in research/creative activity. (200 words) Publications Type of Publication Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New 1 1 Book, Chapter in Textbook-New Journal Article, Academic Journal Journal Article, Professional Journal Other 2 15 Professional Presentations Presentation Type Lecture Oral Presentation Paper Poster Professional Conference Participation Role Attendee Other Contracts, Grants and Sponsored Research Type Contract Grant For a relatively small department, we are quite prolific. Most faculty members present annually at national or international conferences such as American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, American Academy of Audiology Convention, International Congress on Cleft Lip/Palate and International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference. Over the past 5 years, Department faculty has produced an average of 9-10 publications annually in well-respected, refereed journals. In addition, an average of 23 annual local and national professional presentations were made, and 4-5 grants were awarded annually. Professional expertise is found in a broad variety of areas with faculty conducting and presenting research on such areas as written language disorders, aphasia, multicultural issues, multi-lingualism, central auditory processing disorders, phonology, cleft palate/lip, cochlear implants, child language disorders, etc. Faculty often collaborate with each other as well as with faculty from other departments and universities.