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EIU Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences

Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences

Ongoing Strategic Plan


CDS Strategic Plan 2020-2025

Eastern Illinois University Mission Statement

Eastern Illinois University is a public comprehensive university that offers superior, accessible undergraduate and graduate education. Students learn the methods and results of free and rigorous inquiry in the arts, humanities, sciences, and professions, guided by a faculty known for its excellence in teaching, research, creative activity, and service. The University community is committed to diversity and inclusion and fosters opportunities for student-faculty scholarship and applied learning experiences within a student-centered campus culture. Throughout their education, students refine their abilities to reason and to communicate clearly so as to become responsible citizens and leaders.

Core values that define and express  “Who we are at EIU”  in the 2012 University Strategic Plan states that Eastern nurtures student success, and we expect our students to achieve their fullest academic and personal potential. Our actions are guided by four core values:  1) We uphold excellence in all we do. 2) We value personal relationships, and we strive to strengthen the personal experience at Eastern for all members of our campus community and all whom we serve.  3) We believe in the accessibility of an Eastern education and the opportunities it creates.  4) We support service to each other and to our community, region, state, nation, and world


College of Health and Human Services Mission Statement (new college, mission developed fall 2018)

The College fosters excellence, with a student-centered approach of teaching and learning through innovative, rigorous, and collaborative experiences, and promotes health and well-being of diverse populations across the lifespan. Students develop lifelong leadership skills through applied learning, community service, and professional partnerships.


Communication Disorders & Sciences Mission Statement (reviewed and revised spring 2019)

The Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences offers a student-centered approach to instruction with emphasis on disciplined thinking.  Rigorous academic and clinical instruction, research/creative activity, and community service are integrated to prepare students to contribute meaningfully to a diverse society.  The department serves the community by providing evidenced-based clinical services to children and adults diagnosed with communication and swallowing disorders.   


CDS Program Goals & Initial Strategies for Strategic Plan (CDS Goals were reviewed and revised in fall 2019 and spring 2020 during self-study for this strategic plan.  The full strategic plan includes initial action plans as well as the strategies included below for goals/focus areas.)


Recruitment & Retention Goals 

To increase the number and diversity of students in the undergraduate program with academic and clinical aptitude to be successful in the major.

To have a strong application pool to facilitate maintenance of the number of graduate students while increasing diversity  of students in the graduate program with academic and clinical background and aptitude to be successful in the graduate program in the face of increasing competition for SLP graduate students in Illinois and near-by states. 

Focus Area 1: Recruitment and Enrollment

Outcome: The department will increase enrollment and diversity in the undergraduate program and number of applications and diversity of graduate program.


Strategy 1: Update and expand recruitment materials

Strategy 2:  Increase Awareness in High Schools about the Careers of Speech Pathology and Audiology & EIU CDS

Strategy 3: Facilitate transfer-friendly recruitment

Strategy 4: Outreach at EIU Events

Strategy 5: Utilize My EIU and coordinate increased communication to potential students

Strategy 6: Update website, social media, wall art to better tell a story of who we are and what we do, that inspires excitement/connection from potential students. 

Strategy 7: Pass CDS Minor that includes core set of required classes for graduate school application

Strategy 8: Investigate options that would be helpful to International Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree

Strategy 9: Continue to discuss and possibly implement direct admit, early admit, accelerated graduate program options. 

Strategy 10: Modify graduate program application procedures to increase applications

Strategy 11: Prioritize some GA funding to attract/retain competitively qualified diverse graduate students

Strategy 12: Continue to monitor and facilitate external GA opportunities in recruitment process

Strategy 13: Develop bilingual volunteer, practicum, and internship opportunities that may attract some diverse students to the program

Strategy 14: Consider resuming exploration of non-certified graduate program option for international students in partnership with China or others for possible long-term planning.


Advising Goals

CDS undergraduate majors will be provided with information about general education, major requirements, as well as the university and departmental honor’s programs.   Advisors will provide information about the intentional choice of minors and electives that strengthen skills related to a desired career path in speech-language pathology or audiology but also provides alternative “back-up” plans if the student chooses not to attend graduate school or builds eligibility to apply to graduate programs in related fields.  Advisors will share suggestions and advice about volunteer opportunities, research and independent study opportunities, and feedback on summer jobs/employment options that are most helpful to building a competitive application for graduate school or other career goals.  Advisors will look for patterns of performance across classes to discuss with the undergraduate student as well as positive information or concerns conveyed by other faculty members about the advisee’s knowledge, skills, or essential functions.   When advisors are notified of scholarship and award opportunities, they will encourage advisees to apply as appropriate.

Admitted graduate students will be provided with resources such as housing and financial information; orientation to the graduate program; academic, clinic & internship handbooks; mental health information for managing the stress of graduate school; and opportunities to learn about classmates, faculty, the university, & community.     Academic, clinic, and essential function advisement, assessment, and remediation will ensure that graduate students meet competencies within the scope of practice for speech-language pathology that meet accreditation and certification guidelines.   Student achievements will be acknowledged with nomination for awards, encouragement to apply for competitive scholarships & awards, and other forms of recognition.  Graduate students will be provided with information about examinations and application procedures required for graduation, the Illinois professional SLP license, the Illinois education support personal SLP license, national certification, as well as employment resources and advice. 

Focus Area 2:  Advising, Retention, and Student Success

Outcome 1: CDS undergraduate students will be successful in graduate school admissions or alternate career path options and have high satisfaction with advisement and the undergraduate program

Outcome 2: CDS graduate students will have high degree completion rate, national exam pass rate, and satisfaction with advisement and graduate program.


Strategy 1: Update assessment metrics to reflect advising and student success goals

Strategy 2: CDS undergraduate students will develop clinical readiness plans

Strategy 3: CDS undergraduate students will develop graduate school application plans

Strategy 4:  CDS undergraduate students will enroll in intentional minors and electives as “back-up”/alternate plans that also strengthen knowledge and skills in target career pathways for speech pathology or audiology

Strategy 5: Mentoring/Retention Activities

Strategy 6:  Provide resources and suggestions to graduate students regarding stress and anxiety


Curriculum and Academic Education Goals

Use sound pedagogical methods to deliver undergraduate coursework that is infused with EIU’s undergraduate learning goals as well as information about the science foundations of communication, normal communication, and introductory information about the evaluation and treatment of speech, language, and hearing disorders.  Develop students’ critical thinking, competencies in oral and written language, opportunities for applied learning & research experience, opportunities for learning in other related disciplines, and opportunities for learning away from EIU such as study abroad.  Have options that intentionally expand what students can do following an undergraduate degree and options for increased accessibility and flexibility within the undergraduate degree. 

Use sound pedagogical methods to deliver graduate coursework based on standards of professional practice, current literature, and accreditation standards that facilitate students’ knowledge and skills in the prevention, assessment and treatment of the 9 core areas of developmental and acquired communication disorders; provides opportunities for students to understand and apply the scientific bases of the profession and research methodology; as well as develop professional practice competencies

Focus Area 3: Curriculum and Academic Education

Outcomes: Increase out of class (undergraduate) and interdisciplinary (graduate and undergraduate) learning opportunities.  Improve accessibility and flexibility of use of undergraduate degree.


Strategy 1: Revise undergraduate exit survey to reflect goals of undergraduate curriculum and out-of-class learning opportunities (Ramrattan)

Strategy 2: Explore alternate study abroad and therapy abroad options

Strategy 3: Pass CDS Minor that includes core set of required classes for graduate school application

Strategy 4: Investigate options that would be helpful to International Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree

Strategy 5: Investigate new ASHA SLPA certificate, AudA certificate, and hearing aid dispensing license and how it applies to our UG curriculum

Strategy 6: Consider current courses and ASHA recommendations

Strategy 7: Explore online options for 2000-level courses in UG curriculum

Strategy 8: Increase interdisciplinary education opportunities

Strategy 9: Update Graduate Comprehensive Exam

Strategy 10: Facilitate academic teaching discussions and sharing of resources for faculty

Strategy 11: Continue to discuss and possibly implement direct admit, early admit, accelerated graduate program options. 

Clinical Education Goals

The program will deliver effective undergraduate clinical education and experiences to facilitate structured clinical learning through guided observations, clinical shadowing, and the opportunity to provide treatment in order to foster application of basic clinical reasoning, evaluation, and treatment skills.

The program will deliver highly effective clinical education and experiences to first year graduate students which  a) fosters clinical reasoning and other professional competencies*, b) includes a variety of clinical education experiences in different work settings, c)  and includes a variety of populations across the 9 major disorder areas, with experiences using appropriate equipment and resources, in order to acquire and demonstrate skills across the scope of practice in speech-language pathology

The program will deliver highly effective internship experiences to second-year graduate students  in the education and medical setting which  a) fosters clinical reasoning and other professional competencies*, b) includes a variety of clinical education experiences in different work settings, c)  and includes a variety of populations across the 9 major disorder areas, with experiences using appropriate equipment and resources, in order to acquire and demonstrate skills across the scope of practice in speech-language pathology

*note: per ASHA standards professional practice competencies = accountability, integrity, effective communication skills, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, concern for individuals served, cultural competence, professional duty, collaborative practice

Focus Area 4: Clinical Education

Deliver quality clinical education across the scope of practice on campus and during internships using traditional and simulation methods resulting in clinical hour acquisition across the big 9 areas and successful ratings of readiness by internship supervisors and employers.


Strategy 1: Utilize Simucase to enhance clinical teaching as well as experience/clinical hours in low incidence disorders

Strategy 2: Utilize Simulated Patients to enhance clinical teaching as well as gain clinical hours in experiences not readily available in clinic and to practice skills to best prepare for internships

Strategy 3: Develop Tele-therapy option for clinical service delivery

Strategy 4: Refine internship resources 

Strategy 5: Explore options for a variety of new pre-clinical, clinical/research, and internship sites/opportunities.

Strategy 6: Increase interdisciplinary diagnostic opportunities

Strategy 7: Facilitate clinical teaching discussions and sharing of resources for faculty


Community Service and Outreach Goals

The EIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic serves as a community resource as well as a resource to EIU students by providing thorough evaluation, treatment, and other related services for individuals with communication disorders at a free or reasonable cost while training CDS student clinicians

The Autism Center provides timely diagnostic evaluations; provides consultations with families, school personnel, or other individuals or entities; provides education about autism and effective services; and acts as a resource for information, support, and specific intervention services.

The STEP program focuses on providing support and skill development in three main areas to help improve success in EIU's regular college classes, majors, and campus life. Students in STEP receive services to develop executive functions, social interactions, and problem solving skills necessary for academic, social, and campus living success at EIU as well as success after earning a degree from college.  


The CDS department through the special events/alumni committee fosters continued relationships with alumni and acts as a resource for alumni and other (local) SLPs

Focus Area 5: Community Service & Outreach

Outcomes: Increase awareness, types, and interdisciplinary nature of services provided in the S-L-H clinic/Autism Center/STEP program.  Foster new and continued engagement with alumni.


Strategy 1: Increase awareness of Services at the S-L-H Clinic & Autism Center (lead- Becker)

Strategy 2: Explore community support programs

Strategy 3: Explore potential collaboration with faculty in other disciplines for Autism diagnostics and resources

Strategy 4: Refine recruitment, application, and acceptance processes for the STEP program (Fahy)

Strategy 5: Refine supports and skill building for various aspects of success at the university and beyond

Strategy 6: Meet with DORs reps, better understand funding options, criteria, process for STEP students

Strategy 7: Foster engagement with alumni

Strategy 8: Manage donations and prioritize spending of donated monies.

Strategy 9: Develop the third prong of the Autism Center (consultations and education)   

Strategy 10: Refine and determine how many extra dx will be done for the autism center


CDS Faculty Goals

CDS faculty will provide excellent academic and clinical teaching within a supportive student-learning centered and culturally sensitive environment.  Faculty will strategically contribute to service for the department, university and profession; contribute to applying/disseminating scholarly knowledge of professional practice or instruction; and focus on developing and maintaining expertise through professional development (to meet assignments and department needs).  Faculty will meet retention, tenure, and promotion/advancement criteria.   Faculty achievements will be acknowledged with nominations for awards and other forms of recognition.   

Focus Area 6: Faculty (teaching, service, scholarship)

Outcomes:  CDS faculty will continue to excel at academic and clinical teaching and student mentoring while intentionally developing areas of professional expertise, service leadership, and applied research to meet personal and department goals.


Strategy 1:  Mentor new faculty and plan for transition of duties of retiring faculty

Strategy 2: Increase number of faculty with doctoral degrees and the proportion of tenure-track positions

Strategy 3:  Develop faculty career plans that facilitate personal goals, growth and satisfaction, as well as department priorities

Strategy 4: Work within Clinical Education and Curriculum/Academic Education committees to facilitate teaching discussions

Strategy 5: Support and facilitate faculty scholarship goals

Strategy 6: Support and facilitate faculty university and professional service goals


Program Administration Goals

Program administrators will perform duties listed in EIU position descriptions, duties required for program accreditation, as well as other duties as needed for the good of the department and EIU, in a positive, forward-thinking, organized, and timely fashion.  Program administrators will serve as a resource for faculty and students.   Program administrators will facilitate a positive, collaborative, teamwork environment between all program staff and students. Administrators will seek input/feedback about programmatic issues and will regularly communicate with other administrators, faculty, students, and other constituents.   Program administrators will have active roles in service at the university and the profession to stay updated and informed of issues within the university and profession.

Focus Area 7:  Operational Excellence and Administration

Outcomes: Administrative duties will be refined, feedback processes considered, and budget management discussed and made transparent to improve operational excellence.


Strategy 1: Budget review, discussion, and priorities

Strategy 2: Review and update administrative position descriptions/responsibilities as needed

Strategy 3: Discuss development of feedback opportunities by faculty regarding performance of administrative duties

Strategy 4: Review electronic and paper student records and assessment data storage and update procedures

Strategy 5: Develop regular review and updating of website processes with faculty assigned to lead in various areas

Strategy 6: Consider decisions with faculty career plans in mind.  Facilitate faculty career plans as possible in relations to department needs, goals, and planning

Strategy 7:  Discuss formation of new standing committee for Recruitment and Undergraduate Advising given the high priority of these areas within the strategic plan.


Accountability and Ongoing Processes for Strategic Plan

The program conducted a self-study while developing the current strategic plan.  CDS faculty will regularly evaluate and adjust the strategic plan so that it is an active roadmap for ongoing planning and action toward common goals and objectives. It will guide committee objectives.   At each monthly faculty meeting, the short-term objectives will be posted in the meeting agenda and the faculty will discuss progress toward the objectives. Each year at our faculty retreat we will have a progress report and re-evaluation of our objectives and action plans in relation to our original self-study, new data, and new developments. 


Related Pages

Contact Information

Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences

600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2712
(217) 581-7105t

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