Strategic Plan

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program

Executive Summary, 2023-2024

The Master of Science in SLP program at Lewis University enrolled its first class of graduate students in the summer of 2020, and is preparing to graduate its third cohort in May 2024.  Annual reviews of program development and execution by the Council for Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) have been positive, and the program will apply for full accreditation in February 2024.  A site visit is expected in Fall 2024, and a decision on full accreditation status will be rendered in Spring 2025.

The MSSLP Program continues to be administrated by Dr. Tina Veale, founding Program Director and tenured Professor of Speech-Language Pathology.  Coordination of Clinical Education placements in 2023-24 has been the shared responsibility of three (3) clinical professors, Kristin Scavo-Smith, Tammy Basel and Sarah Wu.  The SLP faculty has grown to nine (9) full-time members.  Four (4) tenure-track, doctoral level academic faculty and five, full-time master's prepared clinical faculty deliver the curriculum.

The MSSLP student body has remained robust in terms of composition upon admission and outcomes at graduation.  The Class of 2023 was comprised of 35 students, including 12 (34%) who were bilingual, and 17 (49%) who were from diverse racial or ethnic groups.  Their outcome data revealed that all students passed the SLP comprehensive examinations,100% of test-takers passed the Praxis examination, and 100% of the class graduated on time from the program.  The Class is 2024 is comprised of 39 students, of whom 8 (21%) are bilingual, and 12 (31%) are from diverse racial or ethnic groups.  We look forward to the successful program completion of 38 of these students in May 2024, and 1 in August 2024 for an expected 100% graduation rate.  Final outcomes data are pending upcoming assessments.

Over the past year, the MSSLP Program has fine-tuned the six (6) semester curriculum.  One change involved reorganizing delivery of clinical practicum, right-sizing the credit hours of the two, 8-week first-year rotations to two (2) credit hours each, and those of the two, 16-week second-year rotations to four (4) credit hours each.  Other curricular changes included adding a preparatory course to the research capstone sequence to allow students more guided support in preparing their final research projects, and changing the second capstone project to focus on a case review and grand rounds presentation of a client from the educational or healthcare setting with complex needs, including communication or swallowing disorders.  The two (2) capstone projects, one with a research focus and the other with a clinical focus, allows for measurement of several program learning objectives and university graduate student learning outcomes, thereby strengthening program assessment as well as program curricula.  These changes were orchestrated without increasing the overall time to degree completion, which remains at six (6) semesters, or the required credit hours, which remains at 73.

In 2023-24, we added a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and Sciences (B.S. in CSD) to the offering of the Speech-Language Pathology unit.  Dr. Carol Szymanski is the undergraduate Program Director.  This program offers a standard four-year track, and an accelerated track for approved students.  The accelerated track will allow for completion of the master's degree in SLP in four to five semesters, rather than six.  The MSSLP Program expects greater stability in future graduate admissions given this popular undergraduate degree program.  Additionally, the program will submit an application for candidacy for a Master of Science degree delivered via distance learning in July 2024, with a projected launch in 2026, pending approval of the program application for candidacy by the CAA.

Submitted by Tina K. Veale, Ph.D.
Administrative Director, Speech-Language Pathology
September 2023

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