Our Mission and Strategic Plan

The mission of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Maine is to promote excellence in academic and clinical education, scholarship and service.

In the context of exploring and presenting human communication processes and disorders, the educational mission is accomplished through:

  • Fostering the development of independent and cooperative learning.
  • Nurturing critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Modeling professionalism.
  • Providing opportunities to apply knowledge to clinical processes and practices.
  • Engaging in research and scholarly activity.

In the context of contributing to the knowledge base in communication sciences and disorders, the scholarship mission is accomplished through:

  • Conducting research in communication sciences and disorders.
  • Publishing and presenting research in scholarly journals, books and at professional conferences.
  • Teaching students to access and use existing research.
  • Involving students in scholarly investigation and presentation.
As communication sciences and disorders professionals, our departmental service mission is accomplished through:
  • Providing the highest quality educational and clinical opportunities for the students of Maine.
  • Serving as an academic and clinical resource for the professional and private communities.
  • Collaborating with state agencies and governing bodies concerned with the welfare and service for individuals with communication disorders.
  • Supporting the mission of the Albert D. Conley Speech and Hearing Center.

Approved 01/17/07


The Strategic Plan of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is shown below:

Goal 1: Enhancement of the educational mission of the department in training students the following strategies are undertaken or planned:

a.  The department will continue to review and revise the curriculum annually to remain consistent with current ASHA standards for knowledge and skills acquisition and scope of practice.

– The department will continue to offer courses that cover the lifespan promoting the development of critical thinking and problem solving through integration of theory into clinical practice. It is planned to increase the concentration of offerings in autism, normal aging, dementia and literacy in keeping with demographic trends statewide and nationally.

– The department has made and will continue to make a significant effort to infuse issues in diversity and international cooperation along with evidence-based practice into the curriculum.

– Courses will continue to incorporate independent and group activities to promote cooperative learning and professional conduct

b.  The department will continue to offer a variety of clinical practicum opportunities working with individuals across the lifespan.

– Our on-campus clinic will continue to attract a number of different types of clients with communication disorders.  Additionally, we have acquired a number of contracts with preschool programs and local schools and developed specialty clinics in fluency, accent reduction and family-based treatment with the goals of increasing the visibility of the clinic locally and nationally and to provide special opportunities to students in specific areas.  We plan on expanding our specialty clinics to include clients with neurogenic disorders.

– The department will continue to maintain and establish clinical practicum sites that offer a variety of experiences for students in working in medical settings, school-based settings and community programs.  Most recently our Clinic Director, Judy Stickles, has worked with practicum supervisors in Canada to establish sites for our Canadian students.

c.  The department will continue our colloquium series and/or workshops on topics in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

– It is planned to continue to bring local, national and international speakers to give presentations on a variety of topics in Communication Sciences and Disorders to the University of Maine with the goal of increasing the visibility of the program and to provide additional educational opportunities for students.

-Students have been and will continue to be actively encouraged to attend and participate in the colloquia and/or workshops, which occur once a semester.

d.  The department plans on continuing to engage students in research.

– Departmental faculty will continue to supervise students in dependent research projects.

-The department will continue to offer opportunities for students to participate in faculty research.

-The department will continue to integrate research into courses and clinical practice.

e. The department plans on continuing to upgrade technology to enhance student learning

-The department has made a considerable effort to provide current technology to students to enhance learning. Faculty incorporate digital technology in all of our courses.  A grant was written and funded to build a student resource room and lab with computers, software and other technology for student use. All of the equipment in the clinic has been updated.


Goal 2: Enhancement of the research mission of the department the following strategies are undertaken or planned:

a. Research faculty are assigned half-time responsibility to research throughout the regular 9-month academic year.  Active mentoring by peer committees and the department chair has encouraged the development of research programs and progress in publications, presentations and programmatic research activities. The department will continue to support faculty in maintaining and upgrading research labs, providing technical support and in funding travel and expenses for national and international conferences.

b. Efforts to secure intramural and extramural grant funding to support research activities will continue.  The department faculty have been quite successful in securing intramural funds.  All four tenure track faculty have obtained intramural funding.  Faculty will continue to purse extramural grant funding. Two faculty submitted AREA grants to NIDCD, which were not funded.  One faculty member recently received a fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to support release time for grant writing.  It is planned to pursue other grant opportunities through different sources, such as foundations, in the future.

c. The department will continue to provide research assistantships to attract graduate students with an interest in research to our program and assist faculty in making progress in their research. These students work directly with faculty in research and scholarly activity.  The department will continue to support travel expenses for students who present or co-present research at conferences.

d.  Collaborative relationships with other universities, state and federal agencies have been and will continue to be pursued in the coming years to foster research opportunities. The department currently has research collaborations with Mt. Desert High School and the University of Missouri.

e.  Students will be continue to be taught how to access, understand and apply research within the classroom and clinical settings.


Goal 3: Enhancement of the service mission of the department the following strategies are undertaken or planned

a. The Conley Speech and Hearing Clinic has long constituted a significant public service to the state of Maine.  Through on-campus clinical services in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, as well as the development of contracts and specialty clinics, the clinic continues to enhance the services provided to the public.

b.  Departmental faculty continue to play a role in the Maine Speech-Language-Hearing Association and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Activities include participating in the administration of the organizations along with planning conferences.

c.  The departmental faculty continue to play a role in advising state agencies regarding issues related to Communication Sciences and Disorders.

d.  The departmental faculty will continue to engage in service activities in the state, nation and internationally. For example, one faculty member provided hearing screenings for all Special Olympics Athletes in the state games and international games in China.

e.  The departmental faculty will continue to engage in service to the profession through activities such as serving on professional committees, editorial review boards and consulting.


Goal 4:  Enhancement of the program function through improved administration, technical resources, and space in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

a.  The department is funded through complex budgets including a departmental operating budget, hard money salary lines, revenue accounts from clinical activities and endowment and various grants.  The University of Maine supplies hard money to support 5 ½ faculty lines.  The endowment interest and clinical revenue that have been generated are sufficient to cover 3 part-time lines and we will increase one part-time supervisor’s hours next year. The current faculty and staff are sufficient to run the department and provide excellent undergraduate and graduate training.  The operating budget, clinic revenues and endowment interest also contribute to covering costs of materials for the clinic, labs, student rooms, courses and faculty activities (e.g., travel expenses).  However, the department has the potential to grow as the number of students interested in the program has grown over the years.  The department chair is currently working with the Dean to secure funding for another tenure-tract line in the area of normal aging/dementia or autism.  Another clinical administrative assistant will also be pursued in response to the growing number of clients in our clinic.

b. The department space is clustered in two buildings within close proximity of each other, Dunn and Corbett Halls. In Dunn Hall, all full-time and part-time faculty have individual offices, adjunct faculty are assigned to offices as they are freed up from regular faculty (e.g., sabbatical). Additionally, the department has three research laboratories, the speech clinic (five clinic rooms with accompanying viewing spaces, a waiting area and office space and a student workroom), the audiology clinic and waiting area/office space.  A student resource room/computer lab and conference room are housed in Corbett Hall. The department currently teaches graduate courses in Dunn Hall in classrooms that are adequate in size and have up-to-date technology. While the current space is adequate the department is growing and increases in space would be welcome for more faculty offices, clinic rooms, student workroom, and storage.  The department Chair is currently working with the Dean to secure more space in response to increased numbers of students and clients in our program.

c. The department is upgrading equipment and technology on an ongoing basis. The department currently has up-to-date technology in faculty and staff offices, student computer lab (purchased through an Instructional Technology Grant), faculty research labs and the audiology clinic. The speech clinic has outdated recording equipment and a goal for the upcoming year is to seek sources of funding to upgrade the clinic recording equipment for the speech therapy rooms to seek grant funding to buy new equipment.  The departmental website is constantly being updated to disseminate information about the program to the public thereby increasing our visibility as a recruitment and marketing tool. We have also engaged other publicity sources to cover stories about our program and will continue to purse these opportunities in the future.

Approved October, 2009