Mission and Strategic Plan


We strive to support all people who have communication, speech, language, hearing, swallowing, and balance needs through global leadership in education, research, clinical care, and outreach.

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Rooted in the Wisconsin Idea, the UW-Madison Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders employs best practices in inclusive excellence to

  • Provide exemplary educational programs that prepare the next generation of researchers, clinicians, educators, and leaders in the field of communication sciences and disorders.
  • Conduct state-of-the-art basic, translational, and clinical research in the areas of communication, speech, language, hearing, swallowing, and balance.
  • Offer accessible, culturally responsive, evidence-based clinical care for all people who seek communication, speech, language, hearing, swallowing, and balance services.
  • Engage in outreach and partnership activities that directly benefit communities in Wisconsin and beyond.
  • Promote a welcoming and open environment where all can learn, engage, and thrive.

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Program Description

Our department is an internationally recognized leader in preparing the next generation of clinicians and scientists in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD).

Our undergraduate educational program provides students with a thorough grounding in theoretical and applied aspects of CSD. Our Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Audiology (AuD) programs provide training in the highest-quality evidence-based clinical care for individuals with communication, speech, language, hearing, swallowing, and balance needs across the lifespan. Our doctoral (PhD) and MS/PhD programs provide students with the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary to become independent researchers, educators, and leaders in the field.

Our faculty engage in cutting-edge, laboratory and community-based research that has real-world relevance.

Our UW Speech and Hearing Clinic provides comprehensive, affordable evaluation and treatment in the areas of speech, language, and hearing for individuals of all ages.

Across all programs of study, our faculty and students engage in educational and clinical outreach activities for schools, families, and communities in Wisconsin and beyond.

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Operating Principles

  1. We believe that all persons should have access to the highest-quality individualized, culturally responsive, and evidence-based clinical care.
  2. We believe that principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging should guide our academic and clinical teaching, research, and outreach.
  3. We continually expand our knowledge base as the field evolves and adapt our curricula accordingly.
  4. We use innovative pedagogy to foster critical thinking and skills for lifelong learning in our students.
  5. We embody the Wisconsin Idea by sharing our advances and learning with the broader community in Wisconsin and beyond, and by engaging our faculty and students in public service.
  6. We value and support interdisciplinary, interprofessional, and community collaborations.

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Strategic Plan for 2024-2029

The initial strategic plan was created in 2016. The current plan includes measurable outcomes and dates. The identified strategic goals align with the broad university strategic mission to innovate for the public good. Many of the goals and objectives are ongoing on a semester or annual basis. Evaluation of progress toward strategic goals is led by the Department Chair and monitored by the department on an ongoing basis. Success is measured by a ranking system (“initiated”, “progress”, and “reached”), based on clearly identified benchmarks. Progress toward goals is presented at relevant faculty meetings (monthly), and at our department-wide annual retreat (Fall semester). Goals are revised as needed on an ongoing basis to reflect an evolving vision and mission of the Department and the University.

Strategic Goal I – Develop sustainable strategies to equitably support undergraduate and graduate students across programs of study.

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Analyze Enrollment Data

Track enrollment, drop, and fail rates in undergraduate classes across demographic and gender groups. Examine the data for any patterns suggesting inequities (e.g., differences in enrollment or completion rates for first-generation students or students from historically under-represented groups).

Measurable outcome: Generate annual reports and discuss trends and potential problems/solutions at faculty meetings.

Dates: summary report at faculty retreat; ongoing at faculty meetings.

Expand Student Advising

Expand advising scope across all programs of study.

Measurable outcome: Advisors and faculty will attend professional training workshops focused on issues of student retention, mental health, intersectionality, etc.

Dates: Self-reports submitted on an annual basis; review ongoing, at least once a year

Increase Student Research Opportunities

Expand equitable student access to research, especially for historically under-represented groups.

Measurable outcomes: increased engagement with other groups on campus that support UG student research (URS program/McNair program/etc.) and expansion of the honors/FIGs curriculum.

Dates: ongoing; 10% increase in number of students engaged in research by 2029; at least one new FIG and at least one new honors course proposed by 2029

Increase Student Outreach Involvement

Increase student involvement in outreach activities designed to promote the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders, focusing especially on schools/institutions with large enrollments of students from under-represented populations.

Measurable outcome: sustain and expand student involvement in ongoing programs such as Reach Dane, the Wisconsin Idea Task Force, and the El Paso-Madison collaboration.

Dates: ongoing; 10% increase in capacity across outreach programs by 2029

Strategic Goal II – Align programs of study with the department’s mission and the evolving scope of practice in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

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Evaluate & Update Curricula

Evaluate and update curricula for our professional programs (AuD and MS SLP) to reflect evolving scope of practice

Measurable outcomes: Aud and MS SLP curriculum committees will generate actionable plans that will be presented to the faculty for discussion and approval.

Dates: Approval at the department level by 2024, approval by the college by 2025

Enhance Content Related to Cultural & Linguistic Diversity

Amplify content related to cultural and linguistic diversity across all coursework and all programs of study

Measurable outcomes: Continuous infusion of DEI content across all programs and proposal of new coursework in the UG curriculum

Dates: New UG course proposed by 2025; reports and recommendations on DEIB content to faculty at faculty meetings (ongoing)

Expand Online Course Offerings

Expand online course offerings, especially in the UG and the Capstone curricula

Measurable outcomes: Add new online summer courses; develop an online post-baccalaureate (Capstone) program

Dates: Ongoing, with goal of developing an online version of all courses required for the Capstone certificate reached by 2027

Develop Sustainable Hiring Strategy

Develop a sustainable hiring strategy to support the long-term health of the department

Measurable outcomes: Successful hire of additional faculty, including senior and mid-career academic faculty, and teaching faculty.

Dates: Ongoing, with first hire by 2026

Building & Facility Improvements

Improve student learning and community spaces in Goodnight Hall to foster collaborative academic and social engagement.

Measurable outcomes: Successful Instructional Laboratory Modernization (ILM) applications and allocation of internal funding to remodel and update classrooms, clinic, community, and resource spaces in Goodnight Hall

Dates: Ongoing, with at least three spaces remodeled by 2029

Strategic Goal III – Capitalize on the department’s world-class research enterprise to drive new research innovations, collaborations, and entrepreneurship across all programs.

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Modernize Research Infrastructure

Invest in research infrastructure in Goodnight Hall, to promote research, grant applications, and collaborations between members of CSD faculty, other units on campus, and private foundations/industry

Measurable outcomes: 30% increase in number of grant applications and collaborative projects initiated by CSD faculty through L&S

Dates: 2029

Increase Student Support

Expand student support across all graduate programs (MS SLP, AuD, and PhD), with a particular focus on needs-based support

Measurable outcomes: Setting of market-based stipend rates, expanded TA support, and creation of needs-based scholarships for graduate students across all graduate programs

Dates: Market-based increase in stipends and at least a 10% growth in the number of graduate students funded by TAships by 2025; at least one needs-based scholarship awarded to a graduate student in MS SLP and AuD programs on an annual basis by 2029

Promote Mentorship Training

Promote mentorship training for faculty and graduate students

Measurable outcomes: Increased participation in mentoring training and professional talks/seminars in the department focused on responsible mentoring, especially of first generation students, and students from under-represented groups

Dates: ongoing, with self-reports submitted annually, and monitoring of opportunities on an annual basis at a faculty meeting

Expand Research Visibility & Public Engagements

Expand visibility of our research enterprise to the public and engagement with alumni and potential donors

Measurable outcomes: consistent posting of research accomplishments and awards (new grants, lab highlights, student achievements) on our department website as well as social media (Facebook, etc.).

Dates: ongoing, with monitoring and reporting annually at a faculty meeting