Excellence is not a new concept for Baylor’s department of communication sciences and disorders (CSD). CSD claims a long and distinguished history of educating students through a combination of academic and practical experience, while serving the speech-language and audiological needs of the community. With the opening of the department’s new facilities in the renovated Cashion Academic Building this fall—thanks to the generosity of an anonymous $10 million gift—CSD now has the opportunity to push the boundaries of excellence to a new level.
“There’s an excitement in the air, and the faculty, staff and students are thrilled with the new opportunities made available to us,” said Dr. Michaela Ritter, interim chair and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders.
One of the greatest benefits offered by the Cashion Academic Center is space, particularly as CSD continues to see impressive growth in its graduate program. Currently, the graduate program includes 56 students, and this number is expected to reach 100 in the next five years. Not only will this growth demand additional faculty and classroom space but it will also require an increase in clinical space. Graduate students are required to complete 400 hours of direct clinical contact with clients. The growth of the graduate program naturally results in more opportunities to aid those in need.
“Presently we see about 150 children and adults in the clinic each week with a waiting list of 200 to 300 at any given time. Can you imagine in ve years? We will be able to serve 300 or more,” Dr. Ritter said. “Nationally, there is a shortage of speech-language pathologists, and we will lead in helping to eliminate this shortage.”
The additional space provided by the move to Cashion has also allowed for a Graduate Lab with computers and table space for graduate students to complete the studies and documentation that accompany their classes and clinical work. In addition to this, a Research Lab for faculty has been developed. Previously, CSD faculty members each had a small space to conduct research, but the new, larger facilities on the second oor of Cashion will allow for greater collaboration and research activity. There are new rooms for group therapy and counseling, and the space that had existed for therapy has doubled. A new voice clinic will also be opening soon in collaboration with Baylor’s School of Music.
Despite a lack of space in the past, CSD faculty, staff and students have always maintained a level of excellence with leading-edge technology and a dedication to serving others. The additional space and resources provided by Cashion give an already successful department the opportunity to thrive.
“We are so appreciative of the new facility and the exceptional opportunities it provides. The new space is a key toexpanding our graduate program and increasing our services to the community at large,” Dr. Ritter said. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide excellence in teaching and research that is life changing in order to make a signi cant difference in the lives of individuals and improve their quality of life. We are thankful beyond measure for this magni cent gift of space and opportunity.”