University communication sciences and disorders (CSD) programs play an important role in both recruiting diverse faculty and students and attending to student and faculty mental health. The latest issue of Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups contains two forums from Special Interest Group (SIG) 10, Issues in Higher Education, focusing on these specific areas. Both of these topics are crucial to ensuring that future audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are happy, healthy, and responsive to the needs of a culturally and linguistically diverse nation.
Supporting Diversity in Communication Sciences and Disorders
The first forum, “Supporting Diversity in Communication Sciences and Disorders,” opens with two articles that focus on recruiting, supporting, and retaining students from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. First, Mohapatra and Mohan present a model for a diverse and inclusive CSD training program. This model was developed using other health-related academic training programs with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
Next, Girolamo and Ghali look at a student-led initiative to support minority students in their CSD program. The authors highlight the importance of “recognizing students as capable partners in rethinking equity and inclusion” (p. 768).
The forum concludes with a reflection from Mishra, Núñez, and Tyson—three faculty of color in CSD programs—reviewing obstacles that diverse faculty members meet. The authors hope that this article will serve as a call to action that will spur the beginning of tough conversations in higher education programs so that universities will (a) acknowledge the unique challenges faced by faculty of color and (b) develop ways to support them.
Mental Health and Well-Being: Considerations for Students and Faculty in Higher Education
The second forum, “Mental Health and Well-Being: Considerations for Students and Faculty in Higher Education,” spotlights student and faculty mental health in graduate CSD programs. The forum opens with an article from Beck and colleagues focusing on stress levels and levels of perfectionism in students enrolled in CSD and social work programs. The authors point out that students in these programs are prone to burnout and maladaptive perfectionism due to working in clinically oriented helping professions.
The next articles also review stress and perfectionism in undergraduate and graduate CSD programs. First, Beck discusses using a short mindfulness practice, which has been shown to lower perceived stress and the negative aspects of perfectionism while raising self-compassion. Next, Roos and Schreck look at the role that factors such as peer support, faculty relationships, minority status, technology, and individual health behaviors play in CSD students’ stress.
The final two articles focus on faculty, in terms of both the role that they can serve for students and the importance of maintaining their own mental health while balancing that of the student. Roos and Schreck return for an article on the many roles faculty play: as advisors, as mentors, and, unintentionally, as gatekeepers. They also acknowledge that faculty need more institutional support and training to properly serve students while managing their own stress. In the final article of the forum, Roos and Borkoski look at the stress and burnout that faculty face, focusing on strategies to improve faculty well-being.
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, a peer-reviewed scholarly review journal, focuses on publishing articles that bridge research and practice. Access to Perspectives articles is a benefit of affiliation with one of ASHA’s 19 Special Interest Groups, but the articles in this forum will be available via free access for all for the next 2 weeks. Check out the Perspectives home page, or learn how to join a SIG to get access to hundreds of peer-reviewed articles a year.
We’d like to thank SIG 10 editor Tim Brackenbury and Perspectives Editor-in-Chief Patrick Finn for the work they did to bring you these timely forums. You can read them both in the August issue of Perspectives, or check out the individual articles below.
Explore the Forums
Beck, A. R. (2021). A review of mindfulness and communication sciences and disorders students. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 795–805. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00294
Beck, A. R., Zosky, D. L., & Verticchio, H. (2021). Stress and perfectionism in communication sciences and disorders and social work students. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 783–794. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00293
Girolamo, T. M., & Ghali, S. (2021). Developing, implementing, and learning from a student-led initiative to support minority students in communication sciences and disorders. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 768–777. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00299
Mishra, A., Núñez, G., & Tyson, C. E. (2021). Faculty of color in communication sciences and disorders: An overdue conversation. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 778–782. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00176
Mohapatra, B., & Mohan, R. (2021). A proposed framework for increasing racial and ethnic diversity in communication sciences and disorders academic programs: The REAP model. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 755–767. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-20-00285
Roos, B. H., & Borkoski, C. C. (2021). Attending to the teacher in the teaching: Prioritizing faculty well-being. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 831–840. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-21-00006
Roos, B. H., & Schreck, J. S. (2021a). A review of microsystem factors related to stress in undergraduate students studying communication sciences and disorders. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 806–817. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-21-00008
Roos, B. H., & Schreck, J. S. (2021b). The role of faculty advising, mentoring, and gatekeeping as social support for undergraduate communication sciences and disorders students. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(4), 818–830. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_PERSP-21-00007