Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan

Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Vision Statement

The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine will serve as a center of excellence and innovative clinical service for people with communication, cognition, and swallowing impairments. We are a dedicated program whose goal it is to provide high quality educational programs for the BS, MS, and PhD degrees offered through its academic program; and a committed cohort of research-driven faculty whose goal is to advance the scientific foundations of speech-language pathology and audiology.

Mission Statement

To serve the needs of the community, while promoting excellence in academic and clinical training, and to increase collaborative research efforts to achieve institution-wide goals.

Strategic Plan

  1. The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and UNR Speech and Hearing Clinic will serve the needs of the community in a competent, efficient, evidence-based manner. This will be achieved through the following:
    • Ensure all Clinical Supervisors are adequately trained in the area of supervision of graduate student clinicians, as recommended by ASHA
      • Baseline: All clinicians amass continuing education units to maintain licensure and certification. The national certifying body for Speech-Language Pathologists recognizes clinical supervision as an area of specialty and has begun the process of requiring CEUs specific to supervision for all who supervise students and clinical fellows.
      • Timeline for Completion: When CAPCSD releases its training modules for Clinical Supervision training in April of 2017, all in-house faculty who supervise will participate. Additionally, the modules will be made available through the University for all community-based supervisors at no charge in the summer of 2017. The University will not mandate this specific training, but will mandate CEUs in the area of clinical supervision for all community-based supervisors. This will be monitored by the Clinical Director as externship placements are considered on an annual basis.
      • Resource Allocation: CAPCSD training modules are free for University members
    • Ensure that all Graduate Student Clinicians demonstrate expected clinical competencies, assessed through formative and summative feedback and in-person competency exams
      • Baseline: At this time, all SPA graduate students who do not complete a thesis must pass comprehensive examinations to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in speech pathology. Clinical skills are demonstrated through practical/clinical experiences during each treatment period. However, clinical experiences are limited to the cases to which each student is exposed. Development of a generalist clinical skill set would be preferred.
      • Timeline for Completion: Beginning in the spring of 2017, at the end of each practicum cycle, all graduate students will demonstrate in-person clinical competencies to members of the faculty. Performance of the clinical skills will ensure each student applies knowledge to skill and is ready for the next level of clinical skill acquisition.
      • Resource Allocation: All faculty and supervisors will participate as part of their summative feedback and clinical grading of the graduate clinicians.
    • Ensure that all service is provided with the three tenets of Evidence-Based Practice through academic and clinical training opportunities
      • Baseline: The use of the Evidence-Based Practice decision-making process is ongoing, and will continue in academic coursework and in clinical experiences. EBP is used uniformly, but is not always noted in documentation.
      • Timeline for Completion: References to the use of EBP will be highlighted in each academic course taught in all semesters, as evidenced by references to EBP on graduate syllabi. This will be monitored by each faculty and ensured by the Chair. References to EBP will also be included in documentation of clinical services, and will be monitored by each clinical supervisor.
      • Resource Allocation: No additional resources necessary.
    • Ensure efficient documentation of clinical training hours and clinical documentation by implementation of a web-based tracking system (e.g. CALIPSO)
      • Baseline: At this time, documentation of clinical hours is tracked on paper and accuracy of reporting is the responsibility of the clinicians. An online tracking system would be preferred to increase efficiency and accuracy of hours reporting.
      • Timeline for Completion: The Clinic Director will participate in an online training webinar regarding a web-based tracking system in January of 2017. The department will purchase an institutional license & implement student charge for the use of software for the fall 2017. Faculty and staff will be trained in the summer of 2017 on the use of the technology.
      • Resource Allocation: Annual Institution Fee of $500, paid through clinic revenue. Annual student membership fee of $85, paid through clinic lab fees.
  2. The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and UNR Speech and Hearing Clinic will increase collaborative research efforts with involvement of graduate and undergraduate students and allied health disciplines (e.g. Social Work, Nursing, Psychology, Special Education, Gerontology, etc.), and increase extramural funding for projects. This will be achieved through the following:
    • The faculty researchers will establish and maintain relationships with students in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, offering research experiences that will enhance training and increase focus on future doctoral-level education and research
      • Baseline: At this time there is no central recruiting strategy.
      • Timeline for Completion: During the spring 2017 semester, all faculty with active lines of research will advertise opportunities for research Assistants in a central location within the department (e.g. Research Board) and actively recruit RAs within the program.
      • Resource Allocation: No additional resources necessary
    • The faculty researchers will establish and maintain relationships with University of Nevada, Reno colleagues and programs to include and expand interdisciplinary professional relations
      • Baseline: There is one student-driven interdisciplinary project in process.
      • Timeline for Completion: Inclusion of interprofessional education in undergraduate courses in the Nursing, Social Work, and Speech Pathology programs are in development for the spring 2017 semester. A student-track is in development for the annual speech and hearing conference in April of 2017. Evaluation of progress will occur in August 2017.
      • Resource Allocation: No additional resources needed.
    • The faculty researchers will seek out funding opportunities for innovative research projects
      • Baseline: There are no grant funded research projects in progress
      • Timeline for Completion: Evaluation of progress will occur in August 2017.
      • Resource Allocation: No additional resources are needed.
  3. The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and UNR Speech and Hearing Clinic will increase the inclusion of innovative academic and clinical technology within its training of graduate students. This will be achieved through the following:
    • The faculty will increase the use of educational technology in the classroom to support academic outcomes (e.g. Canvas, web-based teaching, hybrid courses, etc.)
      • Baseline: Currently the department has no graduate courses that are taught in a hybrid fashion. Not all courses house the curriculum on the Canvas platform.
      • Timeline for Completion: By the fall of 2018, all graduate level courses will house curriculum on the Canvas platform in an accessible manner (e.g. ADA compliant documents).
      • Resource Allocation: No additional resources necessary. Faculty will rely on WebCMS assistance to ensure ADA compliance.
    • The faculty will increase the use of clinical technology in the clinic to support treatment outcomes and clinical training outcomes (e.g. Kay Pentax rigid and flexible endoscopy equipment, sEMG swallowing biofeedback, SmartPalate system, telepractice, etc.)
      • Baseline: The department has state-of-the-art technology for endoscopy procedures and sEMG biofeedback. The department has SmartPalate systems in place for 4 faculty at this time. The department is beginning to provide services via telepractice (fall 2016). The faculty are dedicated to increasing the use of technology in all areas.
      • Timeline for Completion:
        • sEMG: During the spring 2017-fall 2017 semesters, in addition to its intended clinical application, the sEMG biofeedback tool will be in use for undergraduate research projects, graduate theses, professional manuscript development, and collaborative research efforts with the Computer Science Department at UNR.
        • Telepractice: The Clinic Director and Chair will determine the most appropriate platform after investigation of all available platforms. Investigation of telehealth platforms will be conducted over the spring and summer semesters of 2017 and a decision made for the fall 2017 treatment period.
        • SmartPalate: Clinical application of the SmartPalate system was investigated during the summer and fall 2016 with 4 clients in the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Over the course of the spring, summer, and fall 2017 treatment periods, the faculty who have SmartPalate technology will recommend the tool when clinically appropriate, train and demonstrate the technology to all graduate students in the Practicum courses, and educate undergraduates in the Methods course regarding the tool.
      • Resource Allocation: Unknown costs associated with investment in the telepractice platform, to be determined. No additional costs associated with the sEMG and SmartPalate tools.