SLHS Undergraduate Activities update

Letter to SLHS Undergrads from Chair Benjamin Munson

Dear SLHS Undergraduate Students:

You are receiving this message because you have listed Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (SLHS) as your major or minor.  This is a follow up to the message that I sent earlier this summer.  It is my intention to continue to email you regularly throughout the fall semester, so that you can be aware of how the SLHS is coping with the ever-changing covid-19 pandemic, and how our activities fit in with the university's response to it.


Accessing Staff and Faculty During Fall 2020

As summer draws to a close, the SLHS faculty are preparing for a semester in which all undergraduate courses will be held remotely online.  All of the faculty have had additional education and training in online course delivery, either this summer or prior.  I am confident that our online courses will be intellectually stimulating, engaging, and interesting.  We have also developed policies and procedures that make sure that it is easy for you to contact your course instructors and TAs.  Every course instructor and TA will hold two office hours a week.  One of these will be an open Zoom meeting that students can drop into.  In the other hour, students will be able to sign up for individual, 10-minute Zoom meetings with the course instructor or TA.  As always, instructors and TAs will be available to meet outside of these designated hours if the times don’t work for you.  Each instructor will post their office hours on their syllabus.  We will also add them to our department website,, when they are finalized. Although I am not teaching this semester, I will also hold office hours.  I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions. Even if you’re unsure who to ask a question to, I’m happy with being the ‘triage nurse’ for your questions. Selected staff members will also hold virtual office hours, which will be posted on the same departmental website page.  


In addition to this, the department will have a ‘virtual front desk’ (VFD).  From 10am-3pm Monday through Friday we will have a zoom meeting room open for you to ask questions of the staff or student worker. You can go to to open zoom and alert staff that you need a meeting. We will accept one person at a time into the Zoom VFD and will not talk about FERPA or HIPAA protected information (i.e., protected educational or health information). You can also always email to reach staff. We are looking forward to being a resource to you this semester, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 


Preparing to be a Better On-Line Learner


CLA has developed a brief (~4 hour) self-paced on-line course to help you be a better learner in on-line courses. To quote their description of it: "It's called Learning Online 101. Here's the description from an overview document about the resource (Links to an external site.).  It is a self-paced course for students that prepares you for technical and academic success in online and hybrid courses. As we are all thrust into online and blended learning due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, skills that make you successful online learners are more important than ever. The course touches on self-motivation, time management, technical skills, and available student support, which all contribute to greater success in online classes, with advice directly from UMN faculty and students. Learning Online 101 prepares you to meet these challenges and typically takes 2-4 hours to complete."


You can click here to access the site for this course.  While this course is optional, it's strongly encouraged.  It dovetails nicely with a lot of the training that faculty and other course instructors have received to be better on-line teachers.  


Obtaining Clinical Observation Experiences On-Line

In my previous message, I talked about the opportunity to complete clinical observation hours in speech-language pathology and audiology remotely, using the Master Clinician Network (  Students who are registered for SLHS 4402 this fall will participate in MCN through that class.  If you are not registered for SLHS 4402 this fall and are interested in completing observation hours, please fill out this form before Friday, September 11, 2020. 


Undergraduate Research in Fall 2020

We are also working on a resource for you on undergraduate research opportunities this fall.  We will have something finalized in the next few weeks.  Be on the lookout for an email about that in the near future.  


Interacting with your Peers through NSSLHA

Finally, our department’s chapter of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) will be holding a number of on-line events this fall.  They are being organized by the NSSLHA leadership team: Co-presidents Madison Beck and Grace Lenz, Secretary Teagan Wittmann, Event Coordinator Allie Westervelt, and Social Media Chair Erin Hoy.  We thank them all for keeping NSSLHA active during our move online.  The NSSLHA officers have made a flyer describing the Fall 2020 activities.  It is appended to the end of this email.  


In Closing

What I said in my last email is just as true today as it was then: none of us knows how long this will last.  The announcement that the opening of the dorms was delayed two weeks, and that all instruction would be on-line for *at least* (...and they always say *at least*, with asterisks...) two weeks really drives home just how uncertain things are. None of us can control that.  We can, however, always strive to make lemonade when life gives us lemons. I pledge that I will keep making that proverbial lemonade, and to keep your interests in the front of my mind.  Bon Courage.    


Ben Munson

Department Chair


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