Land Acknowledgement

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.

Social Justice Taskforce

Every student, faculty and staff member needs to be mobilized for us to put social justice in the forefront of our departmental decision-making process. For this reason, a Social Justice Taskforce has been formed at the UW Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences (SPHSC) to enable us to deploy the necessary resources to move our department toward a more diverse and equitable future. We owe it to our students, our clients, and our society to do this work.

The vision of this taskforce is for social justice to be the driving force in decision making in SPHSC, touching every program and Department stakeholder.

The mission of this taskforce is to enact change, with urgency, in response to the priorities of students, staff, faculty, and the SPHSC 2019-2024 Strategic Plan, to address systemic inequities in our programs, in our field, and in our society. The taskforce is asked to elevate and coordinate both ongoing and yet-to-be initiated work, placing social justice at the forefront of the Department and providing unprecedented access to SPHSC decision-makers and leaders to drive change. The 3 areas of focus are 1) education, 2) research and 3) clinical practice.

Strategic Objectives of the Social Justice Taskforce

  1. Cultivate a culture of awareness, compassion, humility, and activism in SPHSC.

  2. Recruit, admit, support, retain, and graduate undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students that represent the clients, patients, and individuals served in the field of Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD; i.e., a diverse student body).

  3. Hire, support, retain, promote, and place into leadership roles faculty and staff that represent the clients, patients, and individuals served in the field of CSD (i.e., a diverse faculty and staff).

  4. Transform SPHSC systems to address institutional racism, oppression, inequity, and bias, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral curricula, research, clinical service delivery, hiring practices, admissions, student progress procedures, recruitment scholarships, and others.

Diversity & Inclusion

Through the lens of the Social Justice Taskforce, the SPHSC Department is committed to building and sustaining a multicultural community that fosters equity, diversity and inclusion. We believe that this is achieved by intentionally creating opportunities for involvement, participation and growth for each individual, and by nurturing a positive institutional climate through professional development, education, policy and practice. In line with our strategic objectives, our goal is to create a community that encourages participation and connection, and that values each individual's unique contribution, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, spiritual practice, geography, mental and physical status, and age.

The SPHSC Department supports diversity through initiatives such as:

  • Launching a mentoring program for incoming master’s students from historically marginalized backgrounds

  • Curating ongoing discussions on social justice topics amongst faculty, staff, and students at our monthly faculty meetings as well as monthly student-centered Nexus meetings

  • Reinforcing a systematic, holistic admissions process for student selection that utilizes an equity-focused rubric that emphasizes Department values.

  • Working with the UW Graduate School to provide GSEE scholarships to our students.

  • Holding monthly affinity spaces for students, staff, and faculty with shared identities and experiences.

  • Providing ways to engage with the community in diversity efforts that improve health and education outcomes for all.


Our Ongoing Work

While there is still so much more to be done in our department as well as in the field of CSD, we are proud of our faculty / staff / student effort on the social justice work that we have engaged in thus far (for example):

  • Developed and implemented a bias reporting process

  • MS application requires a statement relating to serving individuals with culturally / linguistically diverse backgrounds

  • GRE eliminated from the previous and upcoming MS & PhD admissions cycles

  • Executed a half-day workshop on cultural humility with an external facilitator, supported by a UW Diversity and Inclusion Seed grant

  • Holding quarterly social justice townhall meetings with minutes for accountability / transparency

  • Continuing monthly student-centered Nexus meetings

  • Established ongoing monthly staff / faculty discussion on social justice issues

  • Established ongoing monthly affinity group spaces for students, staff and faculty

  • Established a holistic mentoring program (known as CHARM – Connections through Holistic Academic Relationships for Mentoring) for graduate students of historically marginalized backgrounds)

  • Centered bilingual, multicultural, and community-engaged perspectives and approaches in hiring plans

  • Hosting listening sessions for undergraduate and graduate students to share their experiences and provide feedback

  • Developing metrics and aligning expectations for faculty engagement with equity activities in annual reports


Here is an example list of topics that we discussed in our monthly faculty meetings as well as student-led Nexus meetings:

  • Intersectionality; the complexity of identity

  • Microaggrression, macroaggression (systemic gatekeeping, policies) and microinterventions

  • Exploring cultural responsiveness

  • Systemic racism in higher education

  • Cultural humility in clinical settings

  • Radical listening sessions from BIPOC students / staff / faculty

  • Inclusivity, accommodations, gendered language and accessibility

  • Power, privilege, and positionality

  • The role of CSD in the criminal justice system

  • “We need to talk about Anti-Asian Hate”


Our departmental webinar series has also addressed important topics in the past few years and you can watch them here:


Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action (Executive Order 31)

The University of Washington, as an institution established and maintained by the people of the state, is committed to providing equality of opportunity and an environment that fosters respect for all members of the University community. This policy has the goal of promoting an environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. To facilitate that goal, the University retains the authority to discipline or take appropriate corrective action for any conduct that is deemed unacceptable or inappropriate, regardless of whether the conduct rises to the level of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. We invite faculty, staff and students to carefully review the full text of this policy for complete information.

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a protected veteran. This policy applies to all programs and facilities, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs, employment, and patient and hospital services. Any discriminatory action can be a cause for disciplinary action. Discrimination is prohibited by:

  • Presidential Executive Order 11246 as amended,
  • Washington State Gubernatorial Executive Orders 89-01 and 93-07,
  • Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
  • Washington State Law Against Discrimination RCW 49.60,
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,
  • State of Washington Gender Equity in Higher Education Act of 1989,
  • Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended,
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975,
  • Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 as amended,
  • other federal and state statutes, regulations, and
  • University policy.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action compliance efforts at the University of Washington are coordinated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA).  You may contact EOAA for more information.

Disability Accommodations

Consistent with federal and state law, the University of Washington (UW) and the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences (SPHSC) are committed to ensuring that otherwise qualified students with disabilities are provided with access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment.

The Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) is the contact point for students with permanent or temporary disabilities interested in requesting reasonable accommodations due to the effects of a disability. DRS establishes a student’s eligibility for disability accommodations and works collaboratively with faculty and staff to coordinate and implement these accommodations. It is the policy and practice of the UW and the SPHSC Department to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Students who believe they have a disability, for which they wish to request reasonable accommodations, should contact DRS to start the process for documenting their disability and determining eligibility for services prior to the start of their academic program where possible. While this process can be started at any time, reasonable accommodations may not be implemented retroactively, so the timeliness in requesting accommodations is very important. The University does have policies regarding the type of documentation required in order to diagnose different disabilities and a process for requesting accommodations.

For questions or to learn more about the process for establishing services please contact the DRS office directly:

Disability Resources for Students (Seattle)

011 Mary Gates – Box 352808, Seattle, WA 98195-5839

206 543-8924 (Voice); 206 616-8379 (FAX) (email); (testing center email) (website)