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Updates on Justice, Equity, and Anti-Racism Work in SLHS

September 2, 2020
Some of the things we've been doing relate to individual activities:
  • Dr. Peggy Nelson is representing our department in a newly formed coalition of chairs of Big 10 universities (and some Big 10-like universities, like Colorado) with the purpose of coordinating and maximizing the impact of individual departments' efforts on 'diversity, equity, and inclusion'.
  • Marilyn Fairchild and Rachel Ayers attended a CLA diversity summit a few weeks ago--what is anticipated to be the first of many.  This will make sure that our department can share our ideas and also learn from other departments' successful initiatives.
  • Dr. Benjamin Munson continues to work with a group he met at a recent virtual town hall on anti-racist activities in speech-language pathology and audiology (  This group is forming as a grass-roots group to lobby and influence institutional structures in our discipline to become anti-racist.  They have a number of irons in the fire.  
Some of the actions have been institutional:
  • Under Dr. Liza Finestack's leadership, we have thoroughly (and we mean thoroughly--hours and hours of Zooms!) overhauled MA, AuD, and PhD admissions.  In addition to removing the GRE requirement for the MA and AuD, we thoroughly revised the requirements for letters of recommendation and personal statements (including a now-mandatory diversity statement).  We have developed rubrics for the evaluation of these that we hope will result in a system that highlights the unique accomplishments of people who fall outside of the mold of our profession as it is currently configured. 
  • A subgroup of us (Drs. Sarah Angerman, Finestack, Munson, and Becky Lulai) have begun reviewing the feedback received on the Google Form.  One of the outcomes of this  is the need to develop better systems for soliciting, receiving, and acting on student feedback throughout their program.  This system needs to have multiple layers of security and anonymization, with structures in place to ensure the department responses to the student comments in a timely and substantive fashion.  
Lastly, some of these activities represent plans moving forward.
  • Our next step will be to convene an alumni and community board.  This board would have many potential functions.  It would be a board that would provide input on the current clinical needs, trends, and climate.  This board would include people who could serve as mentors to and advocates for our students of color.  It is a board to whom we could highlight our progress in achieving our strategic plans.