Standard III.B Curriculum (Academic and Clinical Education) in Speech-Language Pathology

Standard 3.0B Curriculum (Academic and Clinical Education) in Speech-Language Pathology

3.1B The curriculum (academic and clinical education) is consistent with the mission and goals of the program and prepares students in the full breadth and depth of the scope of practice in speech-language pathology.

  • The academic and clinical education curriculum is designed to prepare students for the full scope and depth of practice in speech-language pathology. This curriculum is summarized in Appendix 5 of our Student Handbook. 

  • Information on practicum experiences for the graduate program can be found in both the Student Handbook and the SHU SLP website.

  • Students’ progress through the curriculum will be monitored by means of the KASA section of the electronic documentation provided in the CALIPSO system, which appears in Appendix 15 of the Student handbook.

  • Course Descriptions for proposed graduate courses can be found in Appendix 5b of our Student Handbook and will be placed on the SHU SLP website once CAA approval for the program is obtained.

  • Tentative Course Syllabi are posted on the CAA website for all proposed courses for the graduate program. These syllabi have not yet been posted on a public website, since they continue under development and will be revised as new faculty are hired and begin to teach these courses. As new faculty refine the syllabi for the courses they teach, these finalized syllabi will be posted on the Blackboard site for each course. (NB:Issues of cultural and linguistic diversity will be infused into every course in the curriculum. Topics infused within each course are highlighted in yellow in the course syllabi.)

  • Practicum sites that have agreed to provide field placements for SHU SLP students are listed by description. Contracts that have been signed are also provided.  Appendix VI-B, updated from our Candidacy application, gives additional detail on these sites.

3.2B Academic and clinical education reflects current knowledge, skills, technology, and scope of practice. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated. The diversity of society is reflected throughout the curriculum.

Current knowledge, skills, technology, and scope of practice are reflected in the course content of the curriculum.  Issues of cultural and linguistic diversity will be infused into every course in the curriculum. Topics infused within each course are highlighted in yellow in the course syllabi.

The Knowledge and Skills required for certification are aligned to our curriculum in Appendix V-B of the Candidacy Application.

The following procedures will be used to insure that the curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated:

  1. The Department Chair and Director of Clinical Education will attend CAPCSD each year to keep abreast of developments in academic programs.
  2. The Department Chair will annually review ASHA Scope of Practice documents on the ASHA website to search for new elements that need to be added to the curriculum
  3. The Department Chair is a member of SIG 10 and monitors its publications and meetings for new developments in academic programs and requirements
  4. An annual faculty retreat will focus on evaluating and revising the academic and clinical curricula.
  5. A Department Curriculum Committee will meet regularly to monitor and revise the curriculum as the program develops.

In addition, the following ongoing assessment activities will be used to monitor the curriculum:

  • Institutional program evaluations: Recent NEASC recommendations include departmental-level evaluations of student outcomes; the University is working with each department and Blackboard to develop an on-line system of outcome rubrics that will be used by faculty across the University to assess overall outcomes of each academic program.

  • Student course evaluations: Each course collects students’ evaluations through Blackboard. These are distributed to Instructors and Department Chairs. They contribute to faculty evaluations, and are used in curricular review and revision, which is carried out on an ongoing basis by the Department Curriculum Committee.

  • Exit interviews and questionnaires: Each graduating class will, prior to graduation, take part in a focus group to discuss their impressions of the program’s strengths and weaknesses. Both open-ended discussion (recorded by themes) and questionnaire data will be collected.

  • Alumni questionnaires: Every three years, the SHU Alumni office will be enlisted to provide a list of addresses of SLP Alumni. These individuals will be sent a questionnaire seeking their input on the strengths and weaknesses of their preparation for practice.

  • Employer input: Through input from our Community Advisory Board (listed below), which consists of the representatives of the largest and most likely employers of our graduates in the area, we will use both surveys and focus group meetings to assess the degree of preparation of our graduates for medical and educational work settings.

A Community Advisory Board will meet biannually to discuss needs of community employers and their evaluation of SHU graduates. Agendas from the first two meetings are available:

3.3B The scientific and research foundations of the profession are evident in the curriculum.

  • Students will be admitted to the SHU SLP graduate program only upon verification of completion of the SHU SLP undergraduate/post-baccalaureate coursework, with a GPA in these courses of no less than 3.2 and no grade below C.

  • Students in the graduate program will be required to successfully complete a course on Research and Evidence-based Practice

3.4B The academic and clinical curricula reflect an appropriate sequence of learning experiences.

3.5B Clinical supervision is commensurate with the clinical knowledge and skills of each student, and clinical procedures ensure that the welfare of each person served by students is protected, in accord with recognized standards of ethical practice and relevant federal and state regulations.

3.6B Clinical education obtained in external placements is governed by agreements between the program and the external facility and is monitored by program faculty.

Practicum sites with which we currently have agreements are listed, along with copies of the relevant contracts that have already been signed. Additional contracts for the remaining sites are in the process of review. Additional clinical sites will be added, under the leadership of the Director of Clinical Education Professor Sprengelmeyer, as the program grows.

  • Letters of support from agencies that serve our clients are provided.

  • Chapter 6 of the Student Handbook provides information on policies and procedures for clinical practicum hours, placement in clinical supervision levels and practicum sites, as well as evaluation of clinical practica by students. A form for student evaluation of clinical practica is found in Appendix 13 of the Student handbook.

  • The rubric for evaluation of students in practicum can be seen in Evaluation of Student in Clinical Practicum Scoring Rubrics of the Student Handbook.

  • Students will be evaluated within each practicum experience by their clinical supervisors, using the forms found in Appendix 14c and 14d in the Student Handbook.

  • Criteria for determining students’ clinical levels for supervision purposes, for level of supervision and for evaluating students in practica can be found in Chapter 6 of the Student Handbook.

  • Clinical faculty will make regular visits to each clinical site to provide support for both the student and the site supervisor. Policies for Supervision can be found in Chapter 5 of the Student Handbook.

  • Students will provide feedback on their experience at each practicum site on the “Evaluation of Practicum Site by Student” form in Appendix 13 of the Student Handbook.

3.7B The clinical education component of the curriculum provides students with access to a client/patient base that is sufficient to achieve the program's stated mission and goals and includes a variety of clinical settings, client/patient populations, and age groups.

Sacred Heart University is located in Fairfield County, CT, a culturally and economically diverse community which includes the largest city in Connecticut, Bridgeport; multiple smaller cities and towns, such as Fairfield and Stamford; and smaller, more rural communities in the lower Naugatuck Valley.  According to the most recent U.S. Census data, 34.7% of the population of Fairfield County is non-white, 20.1% is foreign-born, and 27.7% speak a language other than English in the home.  The Clinical Faculty of the Speech-Language Pathology program at SHU has secured contracts from a wide variety of sites throughout Fairfield County and beyond, in order to give the students experience in a multitude of settings and with client/patient populations throughout the lifespan.  Diversity of clinical populations is documented in Appendix VI-B: Clinical Populations, updated from our Candidacy application.

Students will complete five clinical practicum throughout the course of their graduate studies, beginning with the first semester they enroll in the program. The SHU Academic Calendar will be followed for both academic and clinical aspects of the program. Clinical sites for each student will include at minimum, two sites that focus primarily on adult populations and two sites that focus primarily on child populations.  The Director of Clinical Education will review each student’s current and planned clinical sites each semester to ensure that adequate knowledge and experience is being achieved with a variety of communication disorders throughout the lifespan and with a culturally diverse population.  If a student’s clinical plan is deemed to be lacking a particular diagnosis or clinical population, the student’s future clinical practicum sites will be modified in order to meet all expectations and requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence.

The Distribution of client ages, clinical populations served by SHU students, along with other information regarding clinical education, will be tracked using automated reports available in the Calipso software.

CALIPSO tracks age groups in two ways.  First, the supervisor checks on the Clinical Performance Evaluation which age groups (young child, child, adult, older adult) the student evaluated or treated.  Tracking of the four age groups is then displayed on the Cumulative Evaluation and as a line item on the My Checklist.  Additionally, students track experience with the nine disorder areas (“various types of disorders” ) with both children and adults as displayed in the attachment.

CALIPSO tracks diversity by having each supervisor answer yes/no to the following question:  “Did this experience include patients from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds?”  This information appears on the clock hour form. Calipso also contains a feature that tracks and reports aspects of cultural diversity.