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June 5, 2020

A message to our CSD community

We, the faculty and staff of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State, are outraged over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and numerous others. These recent deaths are linked to the disturbingly long legacy of discrimination, prejudice, and racism in our country that has too often gone undocumented and unacknowledged. We are anguished by this injustice. To our Black students, colleagues, and individuals that we serve, we acknowledge your pain, fear, anger, and sadness, and we stand with you. We are deeply committed to promoting justice, equity, acceptance, and inclusion of Black people.

Beyond our individual roles as citizens, we as professionals and future speech-language pathologists and audiologists have the duty and opportunity to directly combat the inequities that exist for Black people, especially the disparities in accessing education and health care services. As a field, we need to improve representation of Black professionals and we need to ensure the delivery of high-quality services to Black individuals with communication needs and their families.

We must be strong agents for positive change. We see these current events as an urgent call to action to break down the barriers that persist in our country and our field. Throughout this summer and fall, we will work to strengthen our efforts and take clear steps to support diversity and equity in our field, by addressing the following key issues:

  1. Recruitment and retention of a diverse student body in Communication Sciences and Disorders;
  2. Expansion of our evidence-based curriculum to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research, deliver high quality services, and support advocacy efforts to improve the lives of Black individuals with communication needs and their families; and
  3. Reduction of disparities in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based, consumer-responsive services to Black individuals with communication needs and their families. 

As we embark on these efforts, we value greatly the input of our students, our colleagues, and the individuals with communication needs that we serve. We are committed to hearing your voices in order to learn and improve. Together we can make a positive difference.

An update

April 2021

As acts of violence continue across our nation, we affirm our commitment to our Black students, faculty and  clients and to the Asian and Asian American members of our department and community.  We support all who are targets of injustice based on race, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. We stand united as we work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our department, the university, the community, and the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology.

Inspired by the key issues identified last summer, we have heightened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by developing standing working groups comprised of faculty, staff and students. We invite you to learn more about these efforts and reach out with any ideas to enhance our commitment.

Our strength as a department comes from embracing our diversity and all that our varied perspectives and backgrounds bring to our community. We look forward to continuing to move forward in this journey with all of our students, faculty, and staff.