Framed within our vision, the current 2022-2025 Strategic Plan has provided a framework to all of our activities and operations. These are all geared towards the goal of being recognized by the students and our internal and external community for the multiple opportunities available to openly and respectfully engage with content and topics related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice (DEI + SJ) in the SLP field. Our efforts in recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff continue to be aligned with our plans to have a human force body that is representative of the diverse composition of the clients we serve.
Through the past year we have been working consistently to examine our current curricular practices, revising course mapping and assessment results, and creating innovative venues to support achievement of the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). From the basic and introductory courses all the way through clinical placements, co-curriculars, and interprofessional experiences, our program’s outcomes are aligned with the discussion about DEI + SJ.
We continue to provide a solid academic and clinical program that supports our graduates in becoming agents of change that will move the profession forward in the next decades to come. We also prepare them to face the challenges that come around proposing and implementing changes. We invite them to think outside the box without losing sight of the violently changing world they will be working in.
A closer look at our plan and our daily activities reveals steady and solid advancement towards reaching our established goals. The program has been successful in recruiting and retaining faculty from diverse backgrounds. In addition, concrete efforts and intentional activities have resulted in an increased representation of underrepresented groups across staff positions. All of these efforts in turn have supported the program in the process of providing experiences that support students in learning to work with multilingual/multicultural populations in culturally-responsive ways.
Within the recent legal decisions and frameworks, we continue to work on intentional recruitment and retention activities that can support a steady increase of the diversity of our student body. 50% of students enrolled in S@E self-identify as BISOC (Black, Indigenous, or Student of Color) and/or Hispanic. 19% of the residential program students (Boston campus) self-identify as BISOC and/or Hispanic. We recognize that there are many opportunities to continue increasing these numbers but at the same time, we celebrate that they represent a step in the right direction towards achieving the goal of growing diversity in the SLP profession.
Emerson College CSD program leadership has been and will continue working in close collaboration with the College leadership and other partners in keeping up, planning, and adjusting plans if needed as more challenges around higher education arise each day. The post COVID era, generative AI, new legal frameworks, the decreasing college-age demographic, and changes in the perception of the value of higher education are some of these challenges. We recognize that all of our planning and operations need to be framed around the constant changes and challenges in higher ed.
As the SLP profession continues to grow and evolve we aim to keep flexible and be proactive in everyday operations and planning processes. The CSD Strategic Plan provides enough flexibility to be responsive to the needs of our faculty and staff, students, and clients as well as to be responsive to market trends and the unexpected turns that higher education may continue to take in the near future. Framed and aligned with the Departmental Statement on Racial Equity as well as the Program’s SLOs, mission and core values, the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan will continue as the guiding force of our daily operations.