Standard VI: Program Resources

Standard 6.0 Program Resources

Standard 6.1 Institutional Financial Support

The budget submitted with our application shows that the University has supported the SLP Department in terms of faculty salaries, supplies and equipment. We have been allowed to hire two new faculty this year, and have posted an ad for an additional new faculty member, with the permission of the Provost’s office. We have been able to purchase clinic supplies and equipment related to research with support from the Department operating budget. To date, we have received sufficient support from the University to grow our program to its current size of 40 students/class in the two year program, and 5-6 students per year in the three year program. Moreover, the University has made a large commitment to the healthcare professions through the building and equipping of the recently opened Center for Healthcare Education, which now houses all health-related programs at SHU. This state-of-the-art building came to us fully equipped with furnishings, IT and lab equipment, some of which was newly purchased. It included an audiology suite designed to allow us to provide clinical audiology services to the public.

Our on-line prerequisite series (OPS) of courses continues to grow; we are now offering two sections of some of our eight prerequisite courses. Our share of the revenue from this program has been cut from 27% to 25%, and there is pressure to place the OPS within the SLP budget, which could result in a loss of this share of revenue. Since OPS fund sharing is our only source of financial support for students (the University does not provide any grants to graduate students) and for faculty development funds above the $1000./year/person provided by the Dean’s office, we are very eager to avoid losing access to this revenue.

Due to the recent information received from Medicare regarding charging fees for student clinical services, we offer all services provided directly from the Department at no charge. Because our students do most practica off-campus rather than in an on-campus clinic, this has not been a great change. However, we do inform clients seen on campus that “donations are gratefully accepted,” and many clients have elected to make a voluntary contribution to the Department. These funds are used to replenish clinical supplies and support clinical activities.

Standard 6.2 Support for Faculty Continuing Competence

Sacred Heart University provides several sources of support for continuing faculty development:

  • Institutional grants:
    • University: There are competitions each year for two internal small grant mechanisms (under $3000) for research (URCG: University Research and Creativity Grants) and for teaching (ACT: Academics for Creative Teaching). SLP faculty have received several of these grants. For example, this year Dr. Douglass received an URCG grant and Dr. Danzak received an ACT grant. In addition the Richard and Barbara Naclerio Faculty Scholars Program provides more substantial support ($12,000) to facilitate the work of emerging academic leaders from among Sacred Heart University's faculty. Dr. Danzak was a recipient of this grant program, as well.
    • College of Health Professions: The Dean’s office provides periodic small grant ($1000) competitions to support initiatives of the College, such as interprofessional education. Several SLP faculty have taken advantage of these opportunities. Dr. Leydon, Dr. Marotto, Prof. Massucci, and Dr. Paul, and have all received funding from College grant sources.

  • External grant support: The SHU Office of Sponsored Programs provides assistance for applications for external funds. SLP’s Dr. Leydon won an award of $75,000 this year from the Connecticut Health and Education Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to purchase FEES equipment. Dr. Danzak was co-author on a $25,000 award won from the “100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund” aimed at supporting a collaboration with Guatemala’s Universidad Rafael Landívar for a student exchange among undergraduates in the health professions.

  • Institutional faculty development: The University, primarily through the Provost’s office, provides multiple opportunities for faculty to engage in professional development on campus. The Office Digital Learning (now called Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation) provides numerous workshops each year and an annual week-long workshop each summer to enhance faculty’s use of technology. Several members of our faculty have taken part in these workshops. The Provost’s office also provides two faculty colloquia each year to bring faculty together around the topic of enhancing teaching and learning.

  • Support for professional travel: The Dean of the College of Health Professions provides $1000 each year to each full-time faculty member for travel and professional development. The Dean also sponsors faculty from each Department each year to attend conferences that focus on College priorities such as Assessment and Inter-professional Education. The Department augments these funds with OPS revenue, upon faculty request.

  • Release time: With a high teaching load (24 cr./year for 10 mo. Faculty; 27 for 12 mo.), SHU recognizes the need for release time to support faculty research and development. Tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply for 3 credits of release time each year, provided they meet the criteria for scholarship release, as stated by the Office of the Provost.

  • Prizes and recognition: SHU awards several kinds of recognition of faculty each year, each of which includes a cash prize of $1000:
    • Faculty Scholarship Award
    • Annual Faculty Scholarship Award: Won by Dr. Paul 2016
    • Annual Teaching Excellence Award
    • Annual Service Learning Award
    • Excellence in Digital Pedagogies Award
    • Global Engagement Award: Won by Dr. Danzak: 2017

Standard 6.3 Physical Facilities

The University has demonstrated strong commitment to the health professions through their construction of the Center for Healthcare Education, which opened in July of 2017. The building was custom-designed to meet all contemporary standards of accessibility and use for the health professions. It houses an SLP laboratory with six therapy rooms, all of which contain audio-visual capture, high tech teaching tools in every lab and classroom, a shared cadaver laboratory, as well as anatomage (virtual cadaver) table, and a custom-built audiology booth. The building was constructed in collaboration with faculty from all health professions, who worked with architects over an 18 month period to design spaces that meet the needs of each program.

Standard 6.4 Program Equipment and Materials

The Department was given an initial budget of $50,000 to purchase basic supplies and equipment during its first three years of operation. This fall, the Department moved out of “new program” status into regular budgeting. In this system $10,000 per year is allotted to supplies and equipment purchase. So far, this level of funding, supplemented to some degree by funds derived from client donations and an equipment grant, has been adequate to support our supplies and equipment needs. Current holdings include:

Decisions about purchase of equipment and supply are made by faculty request to the Chair or DCE. Whenever funds are available, these requests are granted. When there are too many requests to be covered by the budgeted $10,000/year, discussion among faculty is used to set priorities, decide what purchases can be put off for a year or two, and whether the budgeted amount can be supplemented by clinical donations or OPS funds.

Standard 6.5 Technical Infrastructure

Primary sources of technical infrastructure at SHU include:

  • Library: When the program was begun, the library purchased $50,000 worth of books, databases and subscriptions to support the study of SLP. The library maintains a satellite branch at the Center for Healthcare Education that is staffed by a librarian who is available to assist students and present on library usage to classes. He also assists students and faculty with database searching and bibliographic software such as Zotero.

  • Information technology: This department provides technical assistance for maintenance and use of computer equipment and assists with the digital projection equipment in each classroom. They provide workshops for faculty to increase their understanding and use of digital teaching, lecture capture, and audiovisual materials. In addition, the College shares a simulation specialist with the College of Nursing, who assists with training and use of the high tech mannequins, anatomage table, and video capture of student performance in laboratories (including the SLP lab).

  • BlackBoard is a virtual learning environment that can be accessed from any location with an internet connection. Blackboard offers a course management system that allows instructors to post information, assignments, assessments, grades and additional content to students.

  • WebEx is a conferencing tool that allows students and faculty to connect in real time. WebEx combines desktop sharing through a web browser with video conferencing. It can be used to hold virtual classes on days when the campus is closed due to bad weather, or if an instructor needs to be off-campus during class time. As many as 60 participants can take part in a WebEx session, and instructors can record sessions for later viewing, if some students are unable to attend at the scheduled time.

  • Office 365 provides applications and cloud storage to allow users to access their documents from anywhere with an internet connection, work from multiple locations, share documents with selected others, and edit shared documents.

In addition to these resources, each SHU faculty member receives a new leased computer every three years from the University. All classrooms contain digital presentation equipment. This extensive and well-supported network of digital resources assists our program in meeting our mission and goals by eliminating frustrating glitches and delays and allowing work to proceed smoothly. The new resources provided by Office 365 facilitate the faculty’s ability to work on shared material and address the need to prepare documents (like this accreditation report) with input from multiple contributors.

Standard 6.6 Clerical and Technical Staff Support

The Department is supported by a full-time Administrative Assistant (AA) and 2-3 work-study students each semester who provide additional clerical help. Each year the Dep’t. AA and Chair meet to discuss workload and make sure the AA does not feel that the workload is overwhelming. The University uses Partnering for Performance for staff evaluation. This process allows the Chair and AA to review the goals from the previous year, discuss performance and set goals for the coming year in order to ensure that the AA has opportunities for continuous improvement.