Mission and Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan (2018-2023)



The mission of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is to provide the highest quality student-centered learning environment where undergraduate and graduate students gain the theoretical knowledge, clinical expertise, and life-long learning skills to prepare them for professional careers and advanced study in speech-language pathology, audiology, and related fields. The faculty and staff are dedicated to:

  • Fostering knowledge and skill acquisition through critical thinking, inquiry and reasoning, and communicating in multiple modalities (e.g., verbal and written).
  • Promoting an understanding of social, political, ethical, and multicultural issues that impact learning, research, and clinical service delivery in local, regional, and global communities.
  • Supporting student clinical preparation through innovative and collaborative clinical services, on campus and in the global community.
  • Encouraging and supporting civic engagement and leadership in campus life and the broader community.
  • Providing high-quality speech-language-hearing services to community members.


The Western Washington University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) is a nationally-accredited clinical training program that prepares individuals to think critically, communicate clearly, and collaborate effectively to support the needs of people with hearing, speech, and language disorders and differences locally and globally. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of audiologists and speech-language pathologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2022.

In five years, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will:

  • Build our clinical training programs and expand our clinical services;
  • Explore opportunities for increasing funding for graduate studies, and graduate and undergraduate research;
  • Diversify our student and faculty body;
  • Expand inter-professional collaborations to explore research and clinical interests of faculty and students; and
  • Infuse topics of diversity throughout the undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Our department strives to uphold our mission and vision by following Western Washington University’s four goals to advance Western. The goals are:

  • Provide a transformative education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and based on innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity.
  • Advance a deeper understanding of, and engagement with, place.
  • Foster a caring and supportive environment where all members are respected and treated fairly.
  • Pursue justice and equity in its policies, practices, and impacts.


In keeping with the mission of Western Washington University and the College of Humanities and Social Science, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders has identified the following priorities as being critical for the continued advancement of our program:


CHSS/CSD Goal Alignment

CSD Strategic Objectives and Measurable outcomes

CHSS Goal 1: Expand the capacity of students, faculty, and staff to create knowledge, think critically, and communicate effectively.


CSD Goal 1: Advance educational excellence by supporting evidence-based academic and clinical teaching, and engagement in high-impact research.

  1. Continue to build the AuD program through the development of education and research programs.
    • Increase AuD cohort size to 12 students by AY 2020-2021.
    • Recruit a third Clinical Educator for the AuD program by AY 2018-2019
    • Recruit a NTT faculty member for the AuD Program by AY 2019-2020.
  2. Encourage and support interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty in other departments and colleges to promote translational research on an ongoing basis.
    • Facilitate communication between CSD faculty and faculty in related/complementary disciplines in 2018-2019 AY (Computer Science, psychology, behavioral neuropsychology).
  3. Expand clinical programs to include collaboration with related disciplines.
    • Develop a clinical inter-professional education experience for graduate students in SLP and AuD by 2020-2021 AY.
  4. Review and revise the undergraduate writing labs by 2018-2019 AY to incorporate more writing into required undergraduate courses and eliminate 2-credit labs.
  5. Review and revise the undergraduate and graduate curricula to create more opportunities for faculty to pursue professional leave/research during 2019-2020 AY.
  6. Investigate the feasibility of developing an augmentative alternative communication (AAC) track in the CSD graduate program by Spring 2023.
  7. Investigate the feasibility of developing an aural rehabilitation track in the CSD graduate program by Spring 2023.
  8. Investigate the feasibility of expanding services and supports for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families by Spring 2023.
  9. Provide opportunities for Clinical Educators to pursue continuing education in evidence-based practices/pedagogy in clinical supervision in 2018-2019 AY.



CHSS Goal 2: Pursue excellence by assembling, supporting, and retaining a diverse and engaged community of faculty, staff, and students.


CSD Goal 2: Promote diversity and inclusion through recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff.

  1. Recruit and support diverse faculty, staff, and students.
    • Increase diversity in the undergraduate CSD major by 5% by AY 2020-2021 through targeted outreach to incoming freshmen.
    • Increase diversity in the undergraduate CSD major by 5% by AY 2020-2021 through targeted outreach to students with a major interest in related areas (psychology, modern and classical languages, linguistics, sociology, education, special education).



CHSS Goal 3: Through course offerings and scholarly pursuits, advance a deeper understanding of local, state and global communities and promote the mastery of skills for intercultural communication and cooperation.


CSD Goal 3: Strengthen Communities locally and globally. 


  1. Increase clinical services to nonverbal children and adults and to individuals whose communication efforts are facilitated when using AAC devices (ongoing).
  2. Increase clinical services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and their families (ongoing).
  3. Seek funding to develop an augmentative alternative communication (AAC) specialty clinic by AY 2020-2021.
  4. Expand parent education and collaboration with educators in the kindergarten through 12th grade school settings (ongoing).
  5. Offer consultation/training to faculty in the College of Humanities and social sciences to support educational access for students with disabilities at Western (AY 2018-2019).
  6. Expand the onsite hearing aid and cochlear implant clinics (ongoing).
  7. Develop tele-medicine service-delivery, using advanced telecommunication systems to assess, diagnose, and treat communication disorders by Spring 2023
  8. Increase campus and broader community awareness of and access to clinical programs through community outreach (ongoing).



CHSS Goal 4: Promote contextual awareness, personal responsibility, ethical conduct, and social justice by fostering introspective, respectful environments that support diverse thought, experiences, and cultures.


CSD Goal 4: Infuse diversity throughout the academic and clinical curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate level.

  1. Foster a department climate that welcomes and affirms the diversity of individuals, groups, cultures, and ideas.
  2. Engage in ongoing department curricular review to develop course content that reflects and respects diversity and inclusion.
    • Review and revise course syllabi in the Spring of 2020 to include multiple avenues by which students can demonstrate competence across subject areas. 
    • Add graduate level content in course in social, political, cultural aspects of communication disorders by AY 2020-2021.
  3. Provide clinical opportunities for students to explore, discuss, and experience delivery of services to culturally, linguistically, and neurologically diverse populations on an ongoing basis.



CHSS Goal 5: Enable the entire university community to pursue a transformative education by expanding access to experiences in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences.


CSD Goal 5: Attract and support through diverse sources of funding outstanding undergraduate and graduate students for the AuD program and the SLP program.

  1. Seek additional sources of funding to support clinical graduate students on an ongoing basis.
  2. Seek funding to support undergraduate research on an ongoing basis.



Mechanism for regular evaluation of the plan

  • Review the mission, strategic goals, and strategic objectives annually at the Department Retreat and update every four years as necessary.

Mechanism for regular evaluation of progress in meeting the plan’s objectives

  • Faculty/clinical educator feedback will be reviewed annually with department chair or clinic directors.
  • Curriculum review will be conducted annually during spring quarter.
  • Progress across all objectives will be reviewed by all departmental members annually at the faculty/staff retreat.
  • Progress will be discussed and documented in the department chair’s annual meeting with the college dean.
  • Progress will be summarized and reported in the annual report to the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.

Accreditation Standards (CAA)
1.3 The program develops and implements a long-term strategic plan.

The plan must be congruent with the mission of the institution, have the support of the university administration, and reflect the role of the program within the community. Components of a plan may include long-term program goals, specific measurable objectives, strategies for attainment, a schedule for analysis, and a mechanism for regular evaluation of the plan itself and of progress in meeting the plan's objectives. The plan and the results of the regular evaluation of the plan and its implementation must be shared with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and other interested parties.

Reviewed and updated 09/24/2018