Strategic Plan: 2022–2025

Emerson College Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program will be recognized for the opportunities available to openly discuss issues related to diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice (DEI + SJ) in the SLP field. Its faculty and student body will be representative of the diverse composition of the clients we serve. All of the curricular content and clinical experiences will be aligned with the discussion about DEI + SJ issues. Our graduates will be agents of change that will move the profession forward in the next decades to come.


The CSD Department strategic plan is framed by both the Emerson College and the CSD Department Mission and Values.


  • Emerson College: Emerson College educates students to assume positions of leadership in communication and the arts and to advance scholarship and creative work that brings innovation, depth, and diversity to these disciplines. This mission is informed by core liberal arts values that seek to promote civic engagement, encourage ethical practices, foster respect for human diversity, and inspire students to create and communicate with clarity, integrity, and conviction.
  • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD): Emerson College’s CSD department educates students to become researcher-clinicians and incorporate published and self-gathered evidence to support high quality clinical practice using the central tenets of self-reflection, empathy, innovation, and critical thinking. This mission is informed by core values that seek to promote civic engagement, encourage ethical practices, foster respect for human diversity, and inspire students to conduct their work with clarity, integrity, and conviction.


  • Emerson College: 
    • Respect and equal treatment for all people of all backgrounds, orientations, beliefs, and physical capabilities
    • Appreciation for diverse ideas and the free expression of them
    • Academic excellence in formal settings such as classrooms and libraries and in workshops, internships, labs, studios, and all other collaborative environments
    • Critical and creative thinking that inspires audiences; improves the arts and communication; and advances social justice, global responsibility and environmental sustainability in our institution, communities, nation, and world
  • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD):
    • Civic engagement
    • Ethical practices
    • Respect for human diversity
    • Clarity, integrity, and conviction
    • Self-reflection
    • Empathy
    • Innovation
    • Critical Thinking


The CSD Department strategic plan is aligned with Emerson College five strategies for achieving objectives: Academic Excellence, Civic Engagement, Internationalization and Global, Engagement, Innovation, Financial Strength. The execution of the CSD plan will support not also the department but also the College in achieving their goals and objectives. The plan is divided into five focus areas:

Focus Area #1: Faculty and Staff 

Issue: Having a critical mass of multicultural and multilingual faculty and staff has been shown to be effective in facilitating the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body.

Goal: The department has a diverse group of faculty members with a variety of expertise, experiences, and research agendas. Staff is supported and prepared to lead everyday operations.
Faculty and staff work together to operate, grow, develop, and transform the department.

  • Emerson College Strategy
    • Academic Excellence & Financial Strength
  • Expected Outcome
    • Increase the diversity of the candidate pool for any faculty or staff search
    • Retain current faculty and staff members
  • Indicator(s) of Success
    • Every faculty/staff recruitment process will make an explicit and concrete effort to attract applicants from a variety of cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and linguistic backgrounds.
    • Current faculty and staff members are retained by providing the support systems they need to be successful.
  • CSD Strategy
    • On an on-going/need basis, the CSD Department Chairs and GPD’s will revise all job descriptions/ads to highlight and emphasize commitment to diversity and racial equity. The College Academic Affairs, Office of Internationalization and Equity, and the Faculty Development and Diversity office will collaborate by providing strategy, feedback, and input.
    • On an on-going/need basis, the CSD Department Chairs, GPD’s, and program administrator will monitor, evaluate, propose, and negotiate equitable and fair compensation and work conditions for the department’s faculty and staff members. Both the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the SOC along with the Provost and the faculty and staff union members will be stakeholders in this process.

Focus Area #2: Students 

Issue: The SLP profession is still around 92% a white/female professional. Our professionals need to reflect the broadest social and multicultural diversity of society. Increasing the diversity of the profession begins at the point of recruitment.

Goal: The CSD department has a diverse group of students from a variety of cultural, racial, gender, and linguistic backgrounds.

  • Emerson College Strategy
    • Internationalization and Global Engagement & Civic Engagement 
  • Expected Outcome
    • Increase the number if admitted students that come from a variety of cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Indicator(s) of Success
    • In the graduate programs, 50% of S@E students and 40% of the residential modality students self-identify as other than white.
    • In the undergraduate programs, 25% of students enrolled in the CD major, and 50% of students who applied to the new Health & Social Change (HSC) major self-identify as other than white.
  • CSD Strategy
    • Annually both GPD’s along with the Chair, will revise the current marketing,
      recruitment, and admission practices along with the strategies for retention and support that are geared to the success of minority and BIPOC students. Multiple offices from the College will support the analysis and the identified activities. Annually the increase of the percentage of students that self-identify as other than white, will be analyzed and strategies for improvement will be put into place if needed.
    • At the undergraduate level, multiple offices from the College are supporting the CSD Department's efforts to recruit a diverse pool of students for both majors. The enrolment data documenting the results of these efforts is managed by the enrolment office and shared annually with the CSD department leadership.

Focus Area #3: Curriculum

Student recruitment practices need to be aligned with approaches to improve the quality and quantity of training in the graduate curriculum. The same curriculum will result in the
same results. There is a need to identify curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular offerings that will support minority and BIPOC students.

Goal: The curriculum of the 3 programs of the CSD Department will be current and updated with the most recent trends, evidence and research based information, and accreditation requirements. It will be responsive and flexible to the needs of the students and the community we serve.

  • Emerson College Strategy
    • Innovation & Civic Engagement
  • Expected Outcome
    • Develop and offer curricular graduate content in the areas of DEI + SJ Frameworks and Counseling.
    • Develop a curricular mapping of the CSD Department UG offerings.
    • Increase the variety of clinical experiences and opportunities as required by the new content areas of the CAA standards.
  • Indicator(s) of Success
    • A new revised curricular offering for the graduate SLP program. All of the S@E courses are revised and updated to reflect the most up to date changes.
    • The UG curricula (CD and HSC) are mapped and the SLO’s are front-facing and infused in all of the courses. These SLO’s are developed with the input of various stakeholders including a Community Board for the HSC major.
    • Clinical placements and related activities (e.g., Robbins, IPE) include a diverse population of clinical cases, account for the impact of the social determinants of health, and provide ample opportunities to engage in all of the required clinical dimensions (e.g., adults, bilingual/multilingual individuals, and deaf cultural identities among others).
  • CSD Strategy
    • By fall 2023 (residential modality) and December 2023 (S@E immersion) the department will begin the offering of the new curricular content in the areas of DEI + SJ Frameworks and Counseling. The evaluations of the new courses and academic activities will serve as the guidance for continuation, revision, and improvements.
    • By August 2024 the UGPD along with the Office of Academic Assessment will map the curriculum of both of the department’s UG degrees. The new and revised syllabi will make explicit connections to both of the program’s SLO’s. The contribution of the Community Board for the HSC major (e.g. input on SLO’s, community partnerships, program outreach, and student learning opportunities) will be documented as part of the outcomes of this plan.
    • Annually (June 2023, June 2024, and June 2025) the Director of Clinical Education along with the department CDEC, will analyze the type of clinical settings and the type of populations that our student body of both modalities have access to. The information pulled from CALYPSO, will serve as the guidance for decision making (continuation, search for additional placements or discontinuation of the use of placements). The analysis will include opportunities that happen through the efforts of the department's academic and professional events coordinator.

Focus Area #4: Research

Issue: Research methodology and Evidence Based Practice procedures need to be incorporated into the SLP curriculum.

Goal: Emerson College CSD graduate program will be recognized as one that provides ample opportunities for students to engage in research activities and professional presentations.
Research activities will include collaboration between a variety of professions.

  • Emerson College Strategy
    • Academic Excellence & Innovation
  • Expected Outcome
    • Increase the amount of research collaboration and professional presentations between students, faculty members, and students and faculty from other professions.
  • Indicator(s) of Success
    • Faculty and students have a research agenda that includes a variety of perspectives within the SLP profession. These perspectives attract faculty and students from the SLP profession as well as from other professions to collaborate in interdisciplinary research activities. The results of those activities are disseminated in professional presentations at a variety of  conferences.
  • CSD Strategy
    • Annually (January 2023, January 2024, and January 2025) the program faculty showcases their research agenda and activities in the Annual Faculty Research Showcase. The CSD Department research coordinator documents annually the research interests of students. In collaboration with their research mentors, they explore opportunities and ideas for collaboration inside and outside the SLP discipline. The presentations and dissemination of the research results will provide the evidence on the successful implementation. A record of the presentation and dissemination efforts (e.g., newsletter, newspaper, social media) will be kept in the department.

Focus Area #5: Administration

Issue: To effectively operate a graduate speech-language pathology program, strategic planning, financial support, budget, faculty, staff , and facilities should be in place and properly supported. The CSD program has grown tremendously in the past 5 years; from an annual 90 students enrolment to an actual 900 student enrolment. Supports need to be stable and consistent to support the growth and evolution of the program.

Goal: Emerson College CSD program will continue to be accredited by the CAA-ASHA. Its operation will be planned, efficient, and effective. Plans for growth and transformation will be
established, analyzed, monitored, and revisited accordingly.

  • Emerson College Strategy
    • Innovation
    • Financial Strength
    • Academic Excellence
  • Expected Outcome
    • Physical facilities
    • Budget
    • Program assessment
    • Staff and faculty
  • Indicator(s) of Success
    • The CSD department has adequate space dedicated for academic, clinical, administrative, and student activities. This includes and is not limited to the space dedicated for faculty and administrative offices, the Robbins Center, the research spaces, and student common areas.
    • The CSD department has an adequate budget that supports its operations as well as its transformation.
    • The CSD department documents that all administrative (e.g., budget allocations) and academic activities (e.g., curriculum redesign) decisions are based on program assessment results.
    • The CSD department structure is efficient and supports its daily operations as well as its growth and transformation.
  • CSD Strategy
    • By June 2023 the CSD department Chair will have a concrete plan from the College that includes the repurposing of current spaces on the 8th and 9th floor. By December 2023 the Department will have met the current needs for space. Annually (June 2024 and June 2025), the CSD Department Chair will revisit the needs for space and will take them to the College. Communications between the department and the College will be documented for continuity.
    • By 2025 the CSD department Chair along with the Director of Program
      Administration will be able to consistently document the efficient planning process and use of the funds assigned to the department. The planning process will allow the program to perform allocations based on identified needs resulting from the program’s assessment process and to evaluate budget allocations annually. The process will be documented as part of the annual revision of the strategic plan as well as the annual review of the program assessment results.
    • By Summer 2023, the CSD department will have an approved Program Assessment plan. The plan will be shared with all of the department’s stakeholders and the process of implementation will be captured and filed for continuation and accountability. Changes and revisions will be made if needed.
    • By January 2024, the CSD department will present to the College a comprehensive plan for restructuring the key positions of the department (Chair, GPD’s, and program operations) and the connections and interconnections they have with the department operations. The plan will include the intake of all constituents including faculty (academic and clinical) and staff members. A copy of the proposed plan and the modifications will be kept as a working document in the department’s shared drive.