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Speech and Language Pathology
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Program Strategic Plan

Our Vision

By 2020, the Program in Speech-Language Pathology will strengthen and deepen our national recognition as a leader in the education of future speech-language pathologists through the integration of research, clinical training, and education in the discipline of speech-language pathology by: training clinicians who dedicate themselves to uphold the highest standards of the profession; training clinicians who have a broad understanding of bilingual/multicultural issues within the field of speech-language pathology; maintaining a faculty actively engaged in regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized research and scholarship; maintaining a model clinical facility to advance the clinical education of students and well-being of individuals with communication and swallowing disorders; and expanding our community outreach efforts and the visibility of our programs and services.


Our Mission

The graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology are dedicated to the advancement of science and art associated with the study of all aspects of human communication, and the prevention and treatment of its disorders across the lifespan. The programs offer advanced education and training in the processes of individual human communication (speech, hearing, language), disorders of human communication, swallowing, and upper aero-digestive disorders, and remedial procedures for such disorders. Graduates are prepared for positions in a variety of professional settings: school systems, community speech and language centers, rehabilitation centers, hospital clinics, private practice, state departments of education, health departments, federal agencies, and colleges and universities.

  • The Masters of Science (MS-SPTH, MS-SPTH-IN, MS-SPBL-DU, MS-SPTH-PF) Program in Speech-Language Pathology aims to facilitate students’ development of the academic and clinical knowledge, skills, and ethical awareness necessary to practice speech-language pathology in increasingly diverse and multicultural societies in local and worldwide communities. Our mission is to educate a scholarly practitioner who is broadly trained across the scope of practice and who is grounded in the research base of our discipline and profession. This degree program leads to professional licensing and, if elected, to the New York State Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities Certificate.   The Bilingual/Multicultural Program focus (MS-SPBL-DU) is for students who wish to develop expertise in working with culturally and linguistically diverse children and adolescents with communication disorders. The Bilingual/Multicultural Program focus satisfies the coursework and field placement requirements for the bilingual extension to the New York State Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD) certificate.
  • The Doctor of Education (EDD-SPTH) Program prepares candidates for professional leadership in clinical, supervisory, and teaching activities. The Program provides students with advanced knowledge and practical skills required for broad professional competence and leadership in speech-language pathology within schools, hospitals, community rehabilitation centers, private practice, or colleges and universities. Programs are individually planned and reflect the student’s previous academic work, professional experience, and educational goals.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy (PHD-SPTH) is designed for individuals primarily interested in research and university teaching in the area of speech-language pathology. The Program emphasizes research work in either basic applied speech science or in basic hearing science. Programs are individually designed and take into account the student’s previous academic work, professional experience, and training goals.

Instruction in the areas of speech-language pathology and audiology includes formal coursework (lectures, seminars, colloquia) and practical training. The formal coursework within each area is supplemented by videotape and live-case presentations by the instructors and by direct experiences with clients within the Edward D. Mysak Clinic for Communication Disorders. Opportunities for clinical and research experiences also exist in the following areas: The Language and Cognition Lab; the Neurocognition and Language Lab; the Speech Production and Perception Lab; the Swallowing, Voice and Neuroimaging Lab, and the Dysphagia Research Clinic. Additionally, students can become involved in clinical research conducted in the Mysak Clinic.


Our Strategic Plan

Informed by our mission and the Teachers College mission and strategic goals, this strategic plan outlines the ways in which the Program in Speech-Language Pathology intends to achieve its vision for the future. Although our vision statement extends to 2020, we recognize that strategic planning is an ongoing process in which the Program’s success and relevance must be assessed regularly to address ever-changing internal and external needs. Accordingly, the Program evaluates and, when necessary, revises the strategic plan each academic year.


Focus Areas 1: Research and Scholarship

Goal 1 Statement: Promote faculty and student engagement in research in speech-language pathology. This goal aligns with Teachers College Institutional Goal 1: Engage in research on central issues facing education broadly defined.

Issues:

Research is central to the mission of Teachers College, department and program. Enhancing a culture of research is important for furthering the mission of the Program, Department, and College, for maintaining the expertise and leadership of the faculty, and for implementing evidence-based practice in speech-language pathology.

The Program values faculty who engage actively in basic and applied research and scientific inquiry, serve as a research mentor and/or collaborator, and contribute to the greater research community both within and outside the discipline of speech-language pathology. Between 2008 and 2013, there have been 61 peer-reviewed publications (including research articles, scholarly reviews, texts, books, and book chapters) and 99 peer-reviewed presentations authored or co-authored by 90% of the full-time tenured, tenure-track, lecturer or clinical faculty in the Program. Although this is a significant achievement, the Program recognizes the need to provide continued support for research, particularly for obtaining external research grant funding.

The Program values research as an essential component of the preparation of speech-language pathologists. Our students understand foundational and emerging theories and research, apply research findings to practice, and, along with faculty, conduct original research in speech-language pathology. The opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty in laboratories and through classroom assignments results in many of our masters and doctoral students presenting at national and state professional meetings. Many of our students take advantage of the opportunity to work in one of our laboratories and are actively involved in research projects with the faculty member heading the lab. We currently have labs in the following areas: The Language and Cognition Lab (Peter Gordon); the Neurocognition and Language Lab (Karen Froud); the Speech Production and Perception Lab (Erika Levy); the Swallowing, Voice and Neuroimaging Lab (Georgia Malandraki) and the Dysphagia Research Clinic (Georgia Malandraki).

Outcomes:

Faculty and students will continue to engage in research in speech-language pathology as evidenced in publications, presentations, and internal and external research grants. Students will demonstrate mastery of research skills and evidence-based practices.

Indicators of Success:

10% increase in presentations and publications of faculty/student research and in funded research.  20% in increase in applications for research grants.  100% of graduates demonstrate adequate research knowledge and skills.

Strategies:

  • Enhance laboratory facilities and research support services to promote faculty and student research.
  • Promote masters and doctoral student participation in ongoing faculty research projects.
  • Increase support for faculty and student presentations at national and professional conferences.
  • Attract highly qualified and motivated students to the PhD Program in Speech-Language Pathology
  • Forge collaborative relationships with researchers across the College to support the varied interests of PhD students.
  • Initiate an interdisciplinary research colloquium for doctoral and masters students.
  • Develop a mechanism to systematically collect information regarding faculty and student research activity.

Focus Area 2: Preparation of Speech-Language Pathologists

Goal 2 Statement: Prepare highly qualified speech-language pathologists. This goal aligns with Teachers College Institutional Goal 2: Educate the current and next generation of leaders in education practice and policy.

Issues:

There are documented national and regional needs for well-prepared speech-language pathologists. Social and economic changes, particularly changes in demographics, raise demands for specific kinds of learning outcomes (i.e., bilingual/multicultural speech pathologists). The professional environment (including professional standards, federal and state regulations, licensing and certification requirements, etc.) is changing rapidly and the Program’s training needs to be flexible enough not only to respond, but also to lead these changes. All these changes require a well-designed model of professional training which integrates academic coursework and clinical training and ensures that all graduates master the required learning outcomes.

Outcomes:

Program curriculum and clinical practice will effectively respond to the changing landscape of professional practice and provide students with a variety of opportunities to learn, practice, and demonstrate their achievement of essential learning outcomes. All students will demonstrate that they meet program expectations prior to graduation. Program graduates will be able to secure positions in the field and demonstrate effective practice.

Indicators of success:

Alignment of curriculum and clinical practice with program learning outcomes and professional standards. 100% of graduates demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes. 95% of graduates find jobs in the field within a year. 100% of respondents evaluate the Program’s training as relevant and effective.

Strategies:

  • Review, revise, and reorganize Program curriculum and Program requirements in light of program learning outcomes and professional standards.
  • Review and revise key Program assessments (particularly, the Comprehensive Exam) based on assessment results, faculty and student feedback, and technological developments.
  • Review and revise clinical training opportunities within the Mysak Clinic and increase oversight of off-campus practicum assignments.
  • Develop a mechanism for faculty and clinical staff to collectively review student learning outcome assessment data and, consequently, make improvements to the Program as needed.

Focus Area 3: Local, National, and International Visibility

Goal 3 Statement: Increase the Program’s research, teaching, and service visibility locally, nationally, and internationally. This goal aligns with Teachers College Institutional Goal 3: Increase TC’s impact—locally, nationally, and internationally.

Issues:

The Program is one of the oldest in the country. Its faculty is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. The Program produces outstanding clinicians, and it provides services to local, national and international clients.  It will continue to provide leadership for the discipline and profession through research, teaching, service, and outreach.

Outcomes:

The Program will present a unified profile (research, training, and service) through its website, publications, and other public relations mechanisms. Internal and external audiences will be made aware of Program accomplishments and its vision for the future. This will attract more qualified prospective students and future faculty.

Indicators of Success:

Highly qualified new faculty member; up-to-date and consistent Program profile on website and in print; record of Program research and service activities; prospective students’ and public awareness of the Program’s characteristics, Program’s standing in professional ratings.

Strategies:

  • Hire a highly qualified tenured/tenure-track faculty member.
  • Revise and update information on the Program’s website to include accomplishments, outcomes, and directions for the future.
  • Promote visibility of clinical services, both within Teachers College and in the larger community.
  • Encourage greater faculty participation in community service and outreach.
  • Provide services to the community through the dissemination of knowledge.
  • Advocate for individuals with communication disorders through partnerships with local and state community members and agencies.

Focus Area 4: Diversity

Goal 4 Statement: Promote diversity, global engagement and a culture of inclusion. This goal aligns with Teachers College Institutional Goal 4: Develop a diverse community with shared mission.

Issues:

Diversity of students is one of the Program’s strengths.  Our student population is diverse with respect to racial/ethnic, linguistic, age, and cultural factors. Recent statistics for our program show that of the 132 students enrolled, 49 (37%) self-identified as a racial/ethnic minority and 8 (6%) were international students. This indicates that better than 1 in 3 students (43%) is a person of color or from a non-US nationality.  This is consistent with the TC Diversity Statement: Teachers College is an institution that actively attracts, supports and retains diverse students, faculty and staff at all levels, demonstrated through its commitment to social justice, its respectful and vibrant community and its encouragement and support of each individual in the achievement of his or her full potential. Consistent with the non-discrimination policy of the College, students’ progression through and completion of the program is based on academic and clinical performance regardless of their race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, disability, pregnancy, gender expression or any other criterion specified by federal, state or local laws.

Faculty research interests reflect the Program’s emphasis on diversity. Many of our faculty have strong preparation in linguistics and conduct research related to issues in bilingual/multicultural and cross-linguistic speech and language development. The faculty is engaged in research to promote diversity in speech-language pathology in local state, national, international, settings.

There is a growing need for bilingual speech-language pathology service providers in the US, particularly in large metropolitan areas, because of increased immigration from non-English speaking countries. The need for the Program to become more culturally sensitive and knowledgeable about multilingual issues in the preparation of students has grown in response to these factors. Our curriculum and co-curricular activities are infused with a strong emphasis on multicultural and bilingual considerations. Additionally, as the Program is located in one of the most multicultural urban areas in the country, our students are provided multiple opportunities to work with clients from a wide variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in our on-site clinic, in the NYCDOE school system, and at other external clinical sites. The success of our Bilingual Institute and the popularity of the bilingual extension within our Program have brought regional recognition to the Program.  International experiences in Bolivia, Ghana, and Cambodia enrich students’ understanding of different cultures and enhance their skills in working with diverse populations.

Outcomes:

The Program will maintain student, faculty, and supervisory staff diversity. It will continue to focus on bilingualism and multiculturalism in faculty research, Program curriculum, and other Program activities. All students will continue to be provided opportunities to learn and demonstrate mastery in working with diverse client populations.

Indicators:

Student, faculty, and supervisory staff demographics; evidence of bilingual and multicultural emphases in Program offerings; students’ performance on diversity-related learning outcomes; alumni feedback on diversity-related training.

Strategies:

  • Recruit and retain diverse students, especially from underrepresented and underserved groups.
  • Recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff.
  • Promote inquiry about issues related to bilingualism, multiculturalism, and global perspectives in faculty research and students’ projects, dissertations, and scholarly work.
  • Ensure that Program courses adequately address issues of bilingualism and multiculturalism.
  • Select external practicum sites to include a greater variety of diverse clinical settings and populations.
  • Expand international practice opportunities for students.