Chair’s Message

Message regarding Black Lives Matter

Jun 04, 2020
Dear CSD community,

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN is a horrific display of racism in our country, only the latest part of a long history of racial oppression and ruthless display by police of inhumane treatment of Black people. While we wish that our academic and scientific institutions are exceptions, we must instead recognize that racism can be found here in our own institution, in Madison and throughout much of our society.

When I watched the footage of the murder of Mr. Floyd, I was shocked to see life being taken away so carelessly in the public space, I was flooded with sadness, grief, anger and many other emotions. Racism must be named and addressed. The protests we are seeing in Madison, around the USA and worldwide convey many of these emotions. Although our words may be comforting, action is more important than words. We must stand with our communities of color in demanding equality for all people, regardless of race, creed, sex, religion or color. It is our civic duty to make equality, education, opportunity, and personal safety a reality for all.

It is even more difficult for us to gather in this time of Covid-19 when health and safety concerns permeate every action that we take. As our community is mourning with our country for the inequality, the loss of human life and the inherent racism that permeates much of our society, there are things we can do. CSD has formed a faculty committee who will devote energies to creating space for conversation, to advancing equality and inclusive excellence and supporting all of our students and colleagues of color. I invite you to send me ideas and suggestions for areas in which you especially want to see us focusing on.

Regarding the city of Madison, I highly urge you to follow and get involved in the work of local organizations. Some of the most effective are:
Boys and Girls club (
Justified Anger movement (

This Sunday June 7th there will be a peaceful march from Library Mall the state capital, gathering starting 5:30pm in Library Mall. If you are not comfortable being in a crowd, please join the discussions online, reach out to people of color to provide support.

The following google document has some excellent resources to help promote and deepen work in the anti-racism space:*6lMTvZ5TRmrYZTv4YS55MA

Ruth Litovsky
Chair and Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Message regarding Covid-19

Dear CSD community,

I hope you are all doing well. These are extraordinary times and we are all pulling together to keep sane, safe and healthy.

We are currently on spring break. Our leadership at UW has been communicating with faculty, staff and students. They have done a terrific job under the circumstances to support our community as best as possible.

When students return from spring break, we will be moving all instruction to online formats. Our professors and instructors are working diligently to ensure a smooth transition and continuation of our instruction. We aim to keep the online teaching going until further notice. We will be able to assess students and enter final semester grades.

Students are strongly encouraged not to treat this time period as a ‘vacation’ from learning, but rather to find ways to engage with their professors and classmates and to make this time period a valuable and meaningful learning period. Any students who are too ill to study should connect with their instructors to make arrangements.

Undergraduate students will continue to have access to our advisors via e-meetings. They are being contacted by our advisors to provide information on how to maintain their connection with us for the purpose of advising. Campus advising networks are working on student facing information, and their goal is to have information on website for students, with broad and general advice about how to connect with advisors and career services staff

Our clinic is also gearing up for limited provisions, and possible closure. In that event, our students will be provided with guidance about their clinical hours. Our clinic director and staff are doing everything possible to make decisions using best practices for safety and educational continuity.

Our research programs are also entering a phase in which human subject testing is pretty much coming to a halt. Some critical care of animals in our animal facilities will continue, and we are following guidance from central campus regarding these issues. Students who are employed in labs are invited to connect with their lab directors to figure out ways in which they might be able to continue working remotely. All graduate students will continue to be funded.

I want to let you all know that we are doing everything possible to continue offering education and maintain a sense of community. We will be sending out emails about staying connected.

I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and the people around them.

Do something for yourself, go for a walk or run, call your family and friends, eat some good food, practice yoga, be silly, be kind. If you are able, donate to organizations that are taking care of those in need.

Warmest wishes for a healthy spring.

Please email me if you have any questions or concerns,

Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.

To all of our Friends, Colleagues, Students, and Alumni,

Welcome to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CS&D) at the University of Wisconsin Madison! We are committed to advancing the mission of the university, along with that of our field, which embodies research and clinical care in conditions involving speech, language, hearing, voice and balance. We integrate our educational mission through state-of-the-art teaching in the classroom, clinical training and bench-to-clinic research findings. The CSD department embodies the Wisconsin Idea, bringing our presence and know-how to local and statewide communities, and providing  clear career pathways for professional service in the field.

We have five outstanding educational programs. We teach hundreds of undergraduate students each semester, many who major in CSD, and others who are interested in learning more about our field. Our student clinicians are being trained to become Audiologists in the AuD program and Speech Language Pathologists in the MS SLP program. These students are on their way to becoming professional clinicians at a time when our profession is one of the most highly rated professions nation-wide. Our PhD students are receiving world-class research training in laboratories that are typically funded by extramural agencies (such as the NIH), often receiving individual pre-doctoral grants, publishing their research findings in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at national and international conferences. Finally, we have a successful post-baccalaureate program for students with undergraduate degrees in areas other than our field, who want to apply to AuD or MS SLP programs.

The special ambiance of scholarship that has characterized our department for over five decades continues to be vibrant. Our faculty publish an impressive number of papers and book chapters in highly-cited peer-reviewed venues, and most of our faculty are funded by ongoing research grants from NIH. Together, our faculty have had over 200 publications in the past five years, along with edited books, book chapters, and many invited presentations at national and international conferences. This remarkable productivity is a true testament to the vibrant intellectual atmosphere of our department.

We are proud to have such an extensive network of Friends, Colleagues, Students, and Alumni. Over the years, our department has received generous donations from many individuals who have been part of our department and/or who are currently members of our faculty and staff. Private sources of funding for academic departments have become increasingly important to our mission at UW-Madison. Like other departments at the university, we ask our friends and alumni to consider joining in our efforts and to participate by making donations to the department. All contributions at all levels are incredibly important. We use donations to help support research, faculty/staff continuing education, replacement of clinical equipment, upgrades to classroom technologies and student scholarships. Our department is clearly strong and not missing a beat, but we want to ensure that we continue to be leaders in the field in the 21st century and beyond.

On Wisconsin!

Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair