Message from the Dean

June 11, 2020

The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders strongly believes that Black lives matter and denounces police violence toward black Americans. We stand with our students, faculty, staff, and clients in working toward a more equitable future. The School supports the latest ASHA position statement entitled Response to Racism.

The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders has made client access to services and student access to the academic programs a priority. In the last two years, and in conjunction with the MSHC, Inc. Board of Directors, the Client Assistance Program increased its aid to the Memphis community by more than 60%, from $18,000 to $50,000. These funds go directly to support client and patient access to speech, language, and hearing healthcare.

Additionally, the School has made recruiting and graduating students from underrepresented populations into the professional programs a priority in its recent strategic plan (2019-2024). Toward this end, the CSD faculty have modified the admissions procedure to a more holistic approach that reduces emphasis on GRE and focuses on writing, data analysis, and relevant experience (in or out of school). This process continues to be honed. Three other initiatives are already in place: Targeted recruitment in the Memphis area of prospective students, establishing support for first generation graduate students, and creating scholarships/awards for students from underrepresented populations.

More can be done. This summer the School will establish a task-force to develop actionable plans for fall recruitment. Students and practitioners from the community will be invited to participate. We must do better. Our Black colleagues matter. Our Black students matter. Our Black patients and their families matter.