The Development and Implementation of ALIGN: A Multidimensional Program Designed to Enhance the Success of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Graduate Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders
The critical lack of racially and ethnically diverse healthcare professionals in the field of Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) in contrast to the increasing diversity of the U.S. population may contribute to healthcare disparities and negatively impact healthcare outcomes. It is therefore imperative for transformational programs and practices to be enacted to substantially increase the number of CSD professionals representing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). As training institutions that graduate and contribute to the certification of CSD professionals, universities are fundamental for contributing to this change. Numerous barriers have been identified that limit the number of underrepresented minority students who matriculate in and graduate from speech-language pathology and audiology graduate programs. At Syracuse University, a group of academic and clinical CSD faculty developed a program to specifically address these barriers: the Academic Skill Building and Networking (ALIGN) program. ALIGN implements a multifaceted approach toward facilitating the success of CSD BIPOC graduate students through the integration of academic and professional skill building, peer mentoring and networking, and professional mentoring and networking into the program curriculum. This study described the rationale and development of the ALIGN program, and reported quantitative and qualitative survey results to determine the preliminary effects of this program on an inaugural cohort of ALIGN participants. Overall, quantitative and qualitative data indicated that ALIGN had a substantial, positive impact on academic skills relative to study habits, understanding difficult course concepts, and general learning, and provided crucial support and connection opportunities with fellow BIPOC students.
Lowell, S. Y.,
Lightburn, A. L.,
Desjardins, J. L.,
Riley, E. A.
The Development and Implementation of ALIGN: A Multidimensional Program Designed to Enhance the Success of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Graduate Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 6(3).