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College of Health Sciences > Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences > Communication Disorders and Sciences
Overview and Student Outcome Data
About Rush University

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) offers the offers the Master of Science in speech-language pathology (SLP) and the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degrees.

Our programs are ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report

  • AuD ranked #10 in the nation
  • SLP ranked #29 in the nation

Mission Statement

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at Rush University Medical Center has the dual mission of providing outstanding patient care and superior graduate education in audiology and speech-language pathology. Excellence in these endeavors is enhanced by research and service activities.

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Vision Statement

The Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences will be recognized as the clinical center and graduate education program of choice in the state of Illinois and among the very best in the United States.

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  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Excellence

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Program Goals

The programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are based on the philosophy that professional education is optimized by drawing upon the patients, staff and other resources of an academic medical center. The resources at Rush University enrich and enhance faculty and student research and scholarship, and they provide unique opportunities for multidisciplinary collaborations. The clinical skills of Rush students are fostered and developed through didactic courses, clinical observation and instruction, and supervision by practitioner-teachers. The department faculty is supplemented by the expertise of physicians, scientists and other health care practitioners within the medical center.

The goals of the academic programs in audiology and speech-language pathology are to generate and disseminate new knowledge in the communication disorders and sciences and to prepare graduates who:

  • Synthesize contemporary knowledge of speech and hearing science and apply it in the assessment and management of broad spectrum communication disorders
  • Implement evidence-based protocols for the evaluation and treatment of individuals with communication disorders
  • Utilize and contribute to new knowledge in the profession and discipline
  • Function as professional level speech-language pathologists or audiologists in health care and other settings
  • Are eligible for clinical certification from the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Are eligible for state licensure within the profession

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Summary of Strategic Plan

Rush University Medical Center
SUMMARY of Strategic Plan 2009 - 2014

Strategic planning is an important procedure for considering an organization's future direction. It involves a process of assessing the current status, predicting likely future developments and defining the best future course. The strategic planning process culminates in a document that identifies priority goals, the objectives or methods for achieving those goals, performance measures and a projected timeline. The strategic plan document is a "map" for how the organization will plan initiatives and allocate resources.

During 2008, the faculty and clinical staff in communication disorders and sciences (CDS) implemented a multi-step process of strategic planning. Four separate working groups conducted SWOT analyses to evaluate and better understand the department's current situation in the areas of audiology academic, audiology clinical and clinical education, speech-language pathology (SLP) academic and clinical education, and SLP clinical. The working groups conducted their analyses over a period of six months, during which time they reviewed department and Medical Center documents and sought input from the dean, the provost, hospital quality assurance leaders and other sources. Each working group identified two or more goals that were felt to be important to their areas.

The next step was to integrate the working group results with priorities set at the medical center and with future developments envisioned for the discipline. In CDS, the steering committee is the group charged to develop strategic plans and to oversee their implementation. The steering committee met over a six-month period, studying the working group results and reviewing multiple strategic documents from the medical center and from the professions.
The CDS Strategic Plan is a roadmap for the department for the next five years. It identifies innovative goals that incorporate issues that are important to the faculty/staff and that are in keeping with priorities of the medical center and the discipline. It specifies critical areas, including increased use of technology, development of clinical caseloads, promotion of a plan for research and scholarship, updated implementation of the teacher-practitioner model and development of care outcomes plans. No doubt, this strategic plan will be dynamic as it serves as a foundation for meeting the challenges of the next five years.

Rush University Medical Center
Strategic Plan Priority Goals and Objectives - SUMMARY
2009 - 2014

1. Updated technology and best practices will be infused into our clinical services and into our academic and clinical education.

  • Administer all CDS-numbered courses by the university learning management system (LMS) -- both didactic and clinical education courses.
  • Convene annual retreat-like meetings that address CDS pedagogical and clinical education issues.
  • Develop an updated matrix by which to evaluate didactic and clinical teaching and which will be used in faculty/staff performance reviews.
  • Convert paper-and-pencil evaluation forms used in clinical education to electronic format.
  • Assess and inventory our current SLP clinical technology
  • Ensure that the above technology is incorporated into SLP protocols and is implemented in practice
  • Annually identify and update a projected list (3 - 5 years) of new and replacement technology that is needed for clinic (Aud and SLP)
2. Faculty roles as academic and clinical professionals will be reconfigured to provide greater flexibility and creativity within the teacher-practitioner model.
  • Implement a consultative teacher-researcher-practitioner model for academic faculty as appropriate.
  • Develop innovative scheduling and implementation of the teacher-practitioner model in order to facilitate the involvement of clinical faculty in clinical practice research and other projects.
  • Identify courses where TAs are beneficial and develop the list of duties/activities that are specific for each TA.
  • Prioritize funding that would be needed for TAs.
  • All clinical educators obtain clinical education annually in the area of clinical supervision.

3. A comprehensive plan for research and scholarship within the department will be elaborated and implemented.

  • Develop a short-term and long-term research plan, including issues such as resources needed, funded research, faculty recruitment, potential PhD programs and other related matters.
  • Develop individual Web pages/links for faculty researchers in CDS
  • Assess the option of virtual labs

4. Outpatient caseload in speech-language-pathology will be expanded and developed.

  • Describe and analyze current data-based referral patterns (internal and external referrals) and set baselines. Track quarterly.
  • Identify caseloads to be increased. Develop strategies and set targets. Track changes quarterly.
  • Develop marketing plan and materials.
  • Fully develop clinical website.
  • Identify and collaborate with marketing resources at RUMC with whom we can partner

5. The visibility of audiology outpatient services will be increased among RUMC referral sources.

  • Describe and analyze current data-based referral patterns (internal and external referrals) and set baselines. Track quarterly.
  • Identify caseloads and services to be increased. Set targets for increasing patient referrals. Track quarterly.
  • Develop marketing plan and materials.
  • Fully develop clinical website.
  • Identify and collaborate with marketing resources at RUMC with whom we can partner

6. Comprehensive clinical outcome measurement plans for audiology and for speech-language pathology will be developed and implemented.

  • Incorporate Appropriate Care Outcomes (subjective and objective) and Patient Experience Outcomes, as reflected in the RUMC Plan.
  • Develop the process, methodology and timeline for (a) collecting data, (b) analyzing the data and (c) implementation of needed action plans.

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Technical Standards

Graduates of speech-language pathology and audiology programs must possess the essential knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care safely and effectively. Rush University has specified the following nonacademic criteria ("technical standards") that applicants and enrolled students must meet to participate in the education program and the practice of speech-language pathology and audiology.

1. Observation

  • The student must participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the academic and clinical curricula. The student must assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to him or her for examination, diagnosis and treatment.
  •  Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation.

2. Communication

  • The student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and assess non-verbal communications.
  • The student must be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, family and other professionals.
  • Required communication skills include speaking, reading and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.

3. Motor

  • The student must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients.
  • Students must be capable of performing basic diagnostic tests, possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures and execute the movements reasonably required to provide care to patients.

4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

  • The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize and apply the critical thinking skills required of a health care professional.
  • The student must have the capacity to problem-solve in a timely fashion.

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes

  • The student must be able to fully utilize his/her intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment. Prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients is required.
  • Students must be capable of developing mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and others.
  • Students must also be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
  • Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment and motivation are personal qualities which each student should possess.
  • The student must show respect for individuals with disabilities and for persons with different age, ethnic background, race, religion and/or sexual orientation.

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Reference: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2002


The master's (MS) education program in speech-language pathology and the doctoral (AuD) education program in audiology at Rush University are accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, MD 20850, (800) 498-2071 or (301) 296-5700.

CAA accreditation has been extended to 2022 for both AuD and SLP programs at Rush University.

Careers in Communication Disorders

The Department of Communication Disorders at Rush University provides students with the building blocks to a successful future in the field of communication disorders., a career website, recently ranked 200 jobs for 2013. The five criteria, from best to worst, are based on: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies.
#2 Audiologist

#11 Speech Pathologist

A clinical audiologist is involved in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of hearing impairment. Audiologists administer and interpret various tests of auditory and vestibular function, fit hearing aids and other special devices, provide rehabilitative services to hearing-impaired individuals and may develop and manage programs of hearing conservation.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the employment outlook is very favorable for audiologists and is projected to grow 34 percent through 2012 - 2022.

Our AuD graduates have great success finding the jobs that they want both in the Chicagoland area and across the country, some of these places include:

•ENT practice - Philadelphia
•University of Miami
•Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
•Ear Institute of Chicago
•Lake Forest Hospital
•Providence Speech & Hearing Center (Calif.)

Speech Language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist is involved in the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and management of communication disorders associated with speech, voice, language, cognitive and swallowing impairments. Speech-language pathologists work with both children and adults and often function as part of a rehabilitation team. Graduates of the Rush programs qualify for positions in acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, educational settings, university clinics and private practice.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the employment outlook is excellent for speech-language pathologists, and is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Our SLP graduates have great success finding the jobs that they want, both in the Chicagoland area and across the country. Some of these places include:

•Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
•The Pediatric Place
•Barrington Middle School
•Sertoma Speech & Hearing Center
•Swedish American Hospital
•Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital
•Community Consolidated School District 54

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How To Apply

Click here to view the Application Process (pdf).

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