Executive Summary of The Department of Communicative Disorders’ 2017 – 2022 Strategic Plan Report
The 2017 – 2022 strategic plan for The University of Alabama’s Department of Communicative Disorders was completed in August of 2022. The following provides highlights of accomplishments across the core focus areas (research, instruction, clinic, & service). The full report can be accessed on the Department of Communicative Disorders (CD) website: https://cd.ua.edu/overview/strategic-plan-2017-2022/
During the 2017 – 2022 time period, CD worked to enhance cross-disciplinary and community-based research, cultivate community engaged research, enhance departmental research, and address barriers to research. Major accomplishments in each area include:
- Enhance cross-disciplinary and community-based research: CD enjoys open and active research relationships with the Alabama Life Research Institute (ALRI) and the College of Engineering that have produced 17 unique interdisciplinary publications and 22 different interdisciplinary grant submissions
- Cultivate community engaged research: Six new community focused projects were developed and implemented with community organizations that resulted in six scholarly publications and seven different grand submissions that focused on relationships with community service providers, commercial partners, and advocacy organizations.
- Enhance departmental research: Departmental research is highlighted in the Hear Say newsletter that is distributed to our alumni and campus community and clinical and research faculty partnerships were forged through Bama Perks, Play Pals, and the Pediatric Feeding Disorder Clinic.
- Address barriers to research: Four new research labs were established during this time period, new GRA positions were funded, and funding mechanisms were identified through the graduate school and the College of Arts & Sciences to support thesis research.
During the 2017 – 2022 strategic plan, CD focused on 1) responding to the challenges of serving larger number of students while enhancing learner-centered approaches to clinical education, 2) improving undergraduate retention in upper-level courses, and 3) integrating research literature, writing practice, and evidence-based practice into the curriculum. Major accomplishments in each area include:
- Responding to the challenges of serving larger number of students while enhancing learner-centered approaches to clinical education: Increased the number of sections offered for undergraduate classes from 1-2 to facilitate smaller class sizes and CD increased opportunities for participation in undergraduate clinic after the pandemic. Additionally, an increased number of experiential learning opportunities were offered through undergraduate research experiences in CD 350.
- Improving undergraduate retention in upper-level courses: The undergraduate advising process was revamped for improved experience and communication about NSSLHA was expanded with resulting increased participation in the undergraduate population.
- Integrating research literature, writing practice, and evidence-based practice into the curriculum: A variety of writing assignments/activities are used by faculty in our department and include literature summaries, reflection papers, literature reviews with summary and flow charts, intervention summaries, and dialect comparisons. Survey of syllabi reveal that evidence-based practice topics are covered in all disorder focused undergraduate coursework and in all graduate courses, regardless of focus.
Our 2017 -2022 strategic plan focused energy on expanding the clinical offerings to enhance both undergraduate and graduate experiential learning opportunities through 1) improved student educational experience, 2) incorporating new technology, and 3) updating the physical facility. Major accomplishments in each area include:
- Improved student educational experience: Increased access to audiology curriculum for graduate and undergraduate students was achieved through CD 350/260, CD 445, CD 546, and CD 545; An additional clinical faculty was also hired during this time period.
- Incorporating new technology: The CORS observation system was installed, Point and Click (PNC) was purchased and installed and is now the electronic medical record for our facility, and all the student computers were updated.
- Updating the physical facility: A facility assessment committee was created and works in consort with the Budget Committee to recommend and prioritize building maintenance and enhancement needs.
As a member of The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa community, our strategic plan featured goals to enhance service to our broader community. We focused attention on 1) speech, language, and hearing services, 2) increasing visibility of our department within the community, and 3) increasing service-learning opportunities. Major accomplishments in each area include:
- Speech, language, and hearing services: Provide screenings to the campus community across a number of different programs including: OLLI, UA Health Fair, Capstone Village, RISE Center, CDRC, and UA Health & Wellness Expo
- Increasing visibility of our department within the community: Provided more than six different educational presentations to on and off campus groups to promote awareness of Speech and Hearing Services in the Tuscaloosa community.
- Increasing service-learning opportunities: Faculty (clinical and academic) collaborate with campus and community partners to provide experiential service-learning opportunities with Caring Days, AL Head Injury Foundation’s Bright Ideas TBI Camp, and the REU collaboration with UA Engineering.
A complete report of strategic plan, goals, and objectives from 2017 – 2022 can be accessed on the department website: https://cd.ua.edu/overview/strategic-plan-2017-2022/