Strategic Plan and Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHS) is fundamental to the basic mission of UNT - recruit, retain and graduate a cadre of highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students in communication sciences and disorders within an expansive culture of learning. At the undergraduate and graduate levels, our mission is accomplished through didactic and research-based courses, clinical practicum experiences and research activities. The preparation of well-qualified undergraduate and graduate students is an integral part of the teaching and clinical responsibilities of a diverse faculty consisting of doctoral professional and Lecturer Faculty, as well as clinically trained professionals. As a result, SPHS is poised to help fulfill the present and next generation of graduate and undergraduate students needed by an ever-expanding profession.
The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences will be known for its excellent training of undergraduate and graduate students in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, and for expert provision of services for populations with hearing and communicative disorders. The speech, language, and hearing services are provided to UNT students, faculty, staff, and the citizens of North Texas. The Department will be especially known for its cutting edge basic, clinical and translational research conducted by its faculty, undergraduate students and graduate students. The Department will foster fruitful relationships with other departments within UNT, the UNT - Dallas campus, the UNT Health Sciences Center, national and international institutions in order to build upon interdisciplinary didactic and research opportunities within its several educational, service and research programs. The educational, service and research activities of the Department will strive to be diverse, relevant and inclusive as a sustainable resource within the UNT Higher Educational system, the State of Texas, and the Nation.
SPHS Academic Plan 2014-2017
Introduction and Background:
The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHS) of the University of North Texas (UNT) is one of eight Departments in the College of Public Administration & Community Service (PACS). The SPHS program stresses excellence in teaching, service, and scholarly activities by its faculty and students. The Department has under its aegis the highly successful UNT Speech & Hearing Center that provides innovative diagnostic and treatment services for individuals with hearing and communication disorders. Affiliations with off-site placement and referral services such as public school systems, with physicians, hospitals, governmental facilities, and private practices yield additional didactic and practicum learning experiences for students. The Department accomplishes its goals by enrolling high-achieving students in its undergraduate program in Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHS), its master’s program in Speech-Language Pathology, and its doctoral program in Audiology. All programs meet national accreditation requirements under the auspices of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. The Department employs up-to-date computing and other technological advances in its teaching, research and service components. The Department is highly integral to the overall direction of UNT – engage in teaching, research and service activities that serve as a “green light to greatness.”
Strategy Area 1. Undergraduate Education
SPHS will provide for its undergraduate students a well-rounded foundation in the scientific study of human audition and communication and concomitant disorders, through creation of a sustainable supportive environment, instructional activities provided by exceptional faculty, and the provision of a learning environment which is effective in the recruitment, retention and timely graduation of students.
The Department will establish teaching labs to complement basic science-based courses in SPHS.
Process: SPHS will work with University officials to locate space for at least one (1) teaching lab for basic science-based undergraduate coursework. Approximately $25,000 will be needed to equip this teaching lab. The space required will be approximately 300 square feet.
Outcome: Opening of this teaching lab no later than Fall 2017 will demonstrate success.
The Department will establish a process for students attending the University of North Texas at Dallas to transfer to the University of North Texas to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology (SLP/A).
Process: The Department Chair and other key Faculty members will team with the Dean and other College and University officials to establish discussions with officials at the University of North Texas at Dallas. Procedures will be established for students who are interested in completing a Bachelors of Science degree in SLP/A to complete core requirements and possibly minor coursework at UNT at Dallas, then seamlessly transfer to the Flagship campus for completion of major upper level coursework.
Outcome: A minimum of ten (10) students will transfer from UNT at Dallas to the UNT Flagship campus to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in SLP/A no later than Summer 2017 to demonstrate success.
Strategy Area 2. Graduate Education
SPHS will provide a superior graduate education program based on scientific knowledge in the basic sciences and clinical sciences that underlie Audiology and Communication Disorders so as to produce a cadre of well-trained professionals to assume academic and clinical positions in the field.
The Department will hire an Assistant Professor with expertise in the area of Child Language Disorders and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is an area of research that is notably absent within the Department.
Process: SPHS will work with officials at the Dean’s level and above to gain approval for this hire, and will conduct a successful search.
Outcome: Employment in this position to begin no later than Fall 2017 will indicate successfully reaching this goal.
The Department will seek intramural and extramural funding to establish teaching labs for graduate students in SPHS programs.
Process: SPHS will work with University officials to locate space for at least one (1) teaching lab for students in the Doctor of Audiology program, and one (1) teaching lab for students seeking a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. The Department will identify and initiate relationships with potential donors to help fund the purchase of equipment. Approximately $100,000 will be needed to equip these two teaching labs. Approximately 260 square feet of space is needed for an Audiology Teaching Lab; 200 square feet is needed for a Speech-Language Pathology Teaching Lab.
Outcome: Opening of these teaching labs no later than Fall 2017 will demonstrate success.
The Department will seek extramural funding from alumni and external agencies to support students in the research and training activities.
Process: SPHS will work with officials in the Dean’s Office to establish an effective database and processes that can be used to raise funds to support this activity.
Outcome: Raising an amount of $25,000 by Fall 2017 will indicate successfully reaching this goal.
Strategy Area 3. Research and Scholarship
SPHS faculty, graduate and undergraduate students will conduct cutting - edge research of which publications will appear in highly respected refereed journals, resulting in the increase of the receipt of extramural funding, and translation of research to assist the citizens of Texas.
The Department will increase UNT Speech and Hearing Center revenue to generate seed and leveraged funding for faculty research, to allow Principal Investigators to collect supportive data for use in proposals for extramural funding.
Process: The Clinic Director with support by administrative support staff and key clinical faculty will review the fee structure, write-offs, and key opportunities to capture additional accounts receivables. This working group will have as a goal to maximize revenue while simultaneously minimizing expenditures.
Outcome: A minimum of $12,000 of revenue in a fiscal year will indicate successfully reaching this goal.
The Department will establish relationships with donors interested in supporting research.
Process: SPHS will reestablish an Advisory Board, which will have the shared responsibility of aiding fundraising efforts through networking across the North Texas region. Relationships with alumni, private foundations, and industry will be strengthened in support of fundraising.
Outcomes: Establishment of the SPHS Advisory Board, and receiving a minimum of two (2) extramural grants from private sources will demonstrate success.
Faculty in the Department will increase grant and contract writing activities.
Process: Faculty will use intra- and extramural leveraged funding to collect data in support of submitting larger grant proposals to extramural agencies.
Outcomes: At least 50% of the SPHS Faculty will submit a minimum of one (1) extramural proposal each academic year. The SPHS Faculty will secure an increase in funding of extramural grants by a minimum of 20% above 2013-2014 funding by the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.
The Department will establish an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program within the College of Public Affairs and Community Service.
Process: The Department Chair, along with Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Faculty members will work with the Dean and other College officials to propose, design, and receive approval for an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program.
Outcome: A minimum of five (5) doctoral students will begin studies in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program no later than Fall 2017.
The Department will establish relationships with donors interested in supporting scholarships for undergraduates and graduate students seeking their own grant support, and sources of funding to aid students in their scholarly activities.
Process: SPHS will establish an Advisory Board, which will have the shared responsibility of aiding fundraising efforts through networking across the North Texas region. Relationships with alumni, private foundations, and industry will be strengthened in support of fundraising.
Outcomes: Establishment of the SPHS Advisory Board, and receiving a minimum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) annually from private sources will demonstrate success.
Strategy Area 4. Community Engagement
SPHS through the UNT Speech & Hearing Center will provide a series of highly relevant presentations, workshops and seminars for attendance by professional and lay individuals in which state-of-the-art information about hearing and communicative disorders are presented at little or no cost to participants on the UNT Denton Campus.
The Department will increase the number of placements and clinical service contracts with area school districts and other entities.
Process: The Clinic Director and other key faculty will seek out and negotiate contracts for off-site supervision of graduate students enrolled in internship and externship courses, and will seek out and negotiate contracts to provide clinical service to area school districts and other local entities.
Outcome: The Department will increase the number of clinical service contract hours by a minimum of ten percent (10%); the number of off-site supervision sites will increase by a minimum of five percent (5%).
The Department will establish at least one (1) specialty clinic located at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Process: The Department Chair, Clinic Director, and other key faculty will team with the Dean and other College officials to negotiate space, rental and other expenditures, and revenue agreements with the Health Science Center. Graduate students and Adjunct and Full-Time Faculty will provide services at this specialty clinic.
Outcome: The specialty clinic will begin seeing patients no later than Fall 2017 to demonstrate success.
• Provide Access to Learning and Ideas
• Make Recruitment, Retention and Graduation a Major Priority
• Practice Accountability
• Work in a Collaborative Spirit
• Foster a Milieu of Diversity
• Stay Connected and foster Engagement within the Community
• Make Excellence a Hallmark of SPHS Endeavors
• Promote Sustainability of Resources
• Inspire Service of Faculty and Students
Departmental research, and academic strengths and collaborations lie in the following areas: (1) Neurogenic communication disorders and analysis of discourse with Linguistics and Physics, (2) Autism Spectrum Disorders with initiatives in the College of Education and College of PACS, (3) Basic, clinical and translational studies of tinnitus and hyperacusis with Biological Sciences, (4) Chemical/Noise pollution and hearing conservation with Biological Sciences, College of Engineering and College of Music, (5) Cochlear implants and FM Systems with Engineering and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, (6) Hearing aid technology and economic trends within the hearing aid industry with Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, and Music, (7) Voice and motor speech disorders with Physics, and (8) Speech perception and production in bilingual speakers, and speech acquisition in typically developing children with the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, SPHS offers four areas (hearing aid technology/economics, voice disorders, translational research in tinnitus, and prevention of music-induced hearing loss) that are unique to UNT within the five state regions of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico.
The UNT Speech and Hearing Center, under the aegis of the Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, provides clinical training to graduate and undergraduate students, and serves as a resource for clinical research. The Center provides for over 6,000 patient visits per year, and 80% of the patients are non-UNT students, primarily from the North Texas community, but some patients travel as far as from southern Oklahoma. The Center serves as a strong ambassador and community interface for the University. The Center houses many specialty clinical programs that provide unique training to students and research opportunities for both faculty and students. These include:
• Tinnitus and Hyperacusis Clinic - only program in Denton, Collin, and Wise counties.
• Newborn Hearing Diagnostic Testing – a physician referral site for testing the hearing of babies who fail their hospital newborn hearing-screening test.
• Cochlear Implant Program – only program in Denton, Collin, and Wise Counties to help deaf patients who do not benefit from traditional amplification.
• Augmentative Communication Clinic – a cooperative program with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Dallas Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Clinic, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
• Voice Evaluation Clinic – physician referral site for specialized assessment of voice disorders.
• Autism Treatment Program – collaboration with other Campus programs and research initiatives.
• Programs for Adults and children with Neurogenic Communication Disorders – assessment and treatment of individuals who have communication disorders associated with traumatic brain injury, and dementia.
• Hearing Aid Dispensing – a specialty resource for patients with various hearing problems.
The UNT Speech & Hearing Center provides also clinical outreach services to community agencies through contractual agreements that employ student clinicians in training. These include audiology services for Lewisville ISD, Plano ISD, and the Denton State Supported Living Center. These on-site and community-based programs align the Center with the overall UNT strategic plan to enhance institutional reputation, community engagement and advancement, and provide opportunities for the community to directly experience the teaching, learning and research missions of the University. The clinical programs and clinical service agreements generate graduate assistantship funds to support a significant number of students.
The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHS) at the University of North Texas (UNT) is well positioned, both locally and nationally, as UNT strives to meet its four bold goals: (1) Provide the best undergraduate education, (2) Provide superior graduate education, (3) Become a national leader among universities, and (4) Establish UNT as a nationally recognized university in a global society. SPHS is a UNT sustainable resource that ranks second in the State of Texas in the number of enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. We produce an average of 55 undergraduate students, 36 graduate speech-language pathology (SLP) students, and 9 graduate audiology (AuD) students annually. In order to practice in the profession, post-graduate students are required to pass a national professional examination. Over the last five-year period, SPHS students achieved a 100% pass rate, compared to a national pass rate of 94%, as well as 100% employment within one year of graduation. Service, teaching, and research in SPHS is undertaken by 29 professionals that hold either the degree of Ph.D. (n = 10), Au.D. (n = 3), or MS/MA (n = 16) degree. A national accreditation council accredits the graduate SLP and doctoral AUD programs. Program accreditation and the passing of a national examination allows our graduate students to obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence required for employment in most professional settings.
The fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology are expected to continue to grow faster than average through the year 2018. Members of the “Baby Boom” generation are now entering middle age, when the possibility of neurological disorders and associated speech, language, swallowing, and hearing impairments increases. In addition to increased job openings, a number of opportunities for speech-language pathologists and audiologists will occur from the need to replace those who leave the occupations due to retirements that were put on-hold during the 2007-08 economic downturn. Since hearing loss is associated with aging, rapid growth in the population of age 55 and over will cause the number of persons with hearing impairment to increase markedly. Employment in educational services will also increase along with growth in elementary, secondary and higher education milieus, with mandates such as “No Child Left Behind”, “IDEA”, and “Race to the Top” initiatives. The ideas posited provide assurance that the Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences will continue to be an important entity of the processes underlying the nation’s best higher education provided by the University of North Texas.