MS in Speech-Language Pathology Executive Summary

The following is the executive summary of the 2020-2025 strategic plan for the Minnesota State University Moorhead Speech Language Hearing Sciences department, which includes the accredited Speech-Language Pathology Masters of Science graduate program and the Speech Language Hearing Sciences Bachelors of Science undergraduate program. During a two-day strategic planning retreat, the program reviewed assessment data and revised long-term goals. Objectives for 2020-2021 were update at subsequent department meetings. The purpose of these meetings were to do the following:

  • Align department’s goals with the university’s strategic priorities,
  • Meet the mission and vision of the department, and thus,
  • Continue to meet the standards of the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for the accredited Master of Science degree education program in speech-language pathology.

Summary of the Long-Term Goals

Student Achievement

Two strategies of the university are to focus on student achievement/students’ return on their investment and to be indispensable to the region. These priorities align with the mission and vision of the department to recruit and retain high quality students, to provide high quality rigorous courses, clinical experiences and faculty-mentored research opportunities. Also, the program’s mission, vision and program objectives are to meet the regional workforce needs of the area and to serve the region through the MSUM Speech-Language & Hearing Clinic by providing state-of-the-art assessments, interventions, technologies and resources.

Several long-term goals focus on these areas.

  • One of the program’s long-term goals is to recruit and retain high quality students by offering state-of-the-art education in academic and clinical settings (on- and off-campus) with current resources. Some objectives related to this goal include successfully running the Regional Assistive Technology Center, upgrading iPads for student clinicians, purchasing necessary clinical equipment and upgrading clinical materials. Technology and materials are used in the classroom and in the clinic to serve the needs of the students and the clients.
  • Another long-term goal involves expanding telepractice. To meet the needs of the pandemic, the MSUM Speech, Language & Hearing clinic transitioned to fully online clinic last spring and through the summer. Our objective this year is to provide a hybrid model. We are seeing approximately 60% of our campus clients via teletherapy and 40% face-to-face on campus. This is in addition to our contract with Red Lake Schools, which is always 100% teletherapy. In addition to the enthusiastic participation and good outcomes we are getting from clients seen virtually, our students are now being sought by employers because of their teletherapy skills. The program will continue to explore teletherapy options beyond the current pandemic to meet the needs of clients, regional needs and to enhance the employment options for our graduates.

Diversity and Inclusion

Another priority of the university is “to build our organizational capacity to achieve equitable educational outcomes for all students, recognizing that achieving equity will require changing our systems, policies, practices, assumptions, and campus climate”. To address this priority, the department has several long-term goals and annual objectives.

  • One long-term goal is to recruit and support students from underrepresented groups at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Objectives to meet this goal include promoting the program and associated profession to regional high schools with diverse student populations. In addition, the program is exploring the designation of a departmental scholarship for a student from an underrepresented group.
  • Another related goal involves building the cultural competency of our students and future professionals through the curriculum and clinic. One objective is to apply for a Dille grant to fund phase one of the SLHS Community Engagement for Diversity and Inclusion Project. Part of this would involve bringing in guest speakers of underrepresented groups.
  • To address our mission of serving individuals affected by communication disorders in a diverse society and with our vision of collaborating between departments in our college, the program continues to develop and offer interdepartmental study abroad opportunities for SLHS undergraduate and SLP graduate students.

Community Development/Engagement

Long-term goals related to community partnerships and collaborations also align with the university’s priorities of focusing on student achievement and being indispensable to the region. These goals focus on strategically planning the opportunities for students to be active in the community and to collaborate with students and professionals in related professions.

  • One long-term goal related to this area involves exploring Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Interprofessional Practice (IPP) opportunities for our students. An objective to meet this goal is to continue the collaboration with the University of Mary’s Occupational Therapy program and the University of Jamestown’s Physical Therapy program.
  • There are also goals to collaborate with other departments at MSUM to benefit students’ learning. One objective is to explore a counseling certificate in collaboration with the Counseling department at MSUM.
  • Other goals involve collaboration with organizations outside of MSUM in order to provide opportunities for students and to serve the community/region and the sharing of knowledge and skills with community professionals. A few objectives related to these goals include participation in the Assistive Technology Clinic at Essentia in Detroit Lakes, providing speech/language and hearing evaluations at the North Dakota Department of Health’s Cleft Palate Clinic in Fargo and the collaboration with the University of North Dakota’s Communication Disorders program to provide the annual spring symposium.