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Department Programs

Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPAUD) Department Rhetoric Program

Speech pathologists and audiologists are constantly communicating with clients, caregivers, and other health professionals, but our SPAUD students generally enter the department with little to no experience of the types of communication they will be required to employ in their profession. As evidence-based practice has become increasingly emphasized in our disciplines, students must also become adept at quickly accessing relevant research articles and assessing them for relevance and quality. One advantage of our curriculum is that most of our students take the same courses in a standard progression; thus, we can plan a rhetoric and information literacy program that gradually builds their rhetorical and research skills.

I. Appropriate Goals for Rhetoric Across the Curriculum

Frequency and Variety

In our freshmen and sophomore classes, we require a variety of rhetorical products, including brochures, lab reports, essay questions on tests, scientific article summaries, informal reflections, research papers, and assignments which introduce them to the conventions and style of scientific writing. During these years, we work at introducing students to scientific writing by focusing on particularly elements of APA-formatted articles in different classes and by asking students to analyze the rhetoric of scientific articles.
In our junior-level classes, students become much more engaged with understanding how knowledge is created in our discipline, and they use evidence they gather themselves to write papers in APA format. They also produce more informal writing in response to readings and give at least one oral presentation. In SPAUD 370 (Introduction to Clinical Practicum), our students begin producing many of the descriptive and evaluative reports that will be a major aspect of their clinical work.

During their fourth and fifth (graduate) years, both the frequency and variety of rhetoric they produce and consume increase. Students write research proposals, critiques of scientific studies, evaluation reports and reflective papers on their own process of evaluation, evaluation of clinical tests and interventions, case study reports, and essays relating to disability. They also write short “writing to learn” responses in classes on a regular basis as they learn to describe a client with conventional terminology. Students also give regular oral presentations of case studies or evaluative reports.

Feedback and Revision

We use both formative and summative assessment in our courses. For example, in phonetics lab, students have to read a number of scientific articles and answer questions about both the content and the style of writing. They particularly focus on the methods section of these articles in the hopes that they will use this knowledge in writing their formal language analysis at the end of the semester. Most professors also allow students to hand in drafts of their paper (well ahead of the due date) if they want feedback for revision. We also encourage all professors to use a rubric modeled on the one in the Appendix so that students can recognize what the department deems to be excellent writing.

As a department, we plan to expand students’ opportunities to revise their written work. As mentioned before, many of us allow students to hand in an early draft of large paper assignments, but few students take advantage of this opportunity. Consequently, our SPAUD 311 Child Language Development class now requires all students to revise their initial paper in response to the professor’s comments.

II. Integration throughout the major curriculum

Since SPAUD students generally proceed through our classes in a regular order, we have planned a clear scaffolding of knowledge and skills in our freshmen and sophomore courses that our later classes can build on. In general, the rhetoric assignments of the undergraduate classes focus on introducing students to the reading and writing of scientific articles and APA writing style. Their graduate classes have a greater variety of many small “writing to learn” assignments, informal and formal oral presentations, and longer research proposals.

The following table summarizes the goals that are and will be used to plan and assess our rhetoric program.

Courses, in order taken

Learning Objectives


Freshman Orientation

Instruct students to buy APA manual.


SPAUD 101: Intro to SPAUD

Use writing to clarify thoughts in class.

1-minute quick writes

SPAUD 210: Anatomy and Physiology

Learn about different genres of writing about disorders (peer-reviewed journal, magazine or newspaper article, Wikipedia article, authoritative website, and a commercial website).
Students with great mechanical difficulties in their writing will be identified and a graduate student will work with them in the fall of their sophomore year.

Brochure comparing genres of online writing about a particular disorder

SPAUD 216: Phonetics

Write a methods section
Use linguistic evidence

Two lab assignments in which they read a scientific article and analyze the methods section rhetorically
A formal paper analyzing the language and English dialect of a non-native speaker.


SPAUD 217: Speech Science

Read current research articles
Revision of writing
Summarize scientific articles

Draft and final summary of a current article in speech science
Reflection paper on God’s design for human speech

SPAUD 218: Hearing Science

Read current research articles
Summarize and compare scientific articles

Comparison of two current hearing-science articles on selected topic

SPAUD 311: Child Language Development

Write a scientific article based on own research.
Write a literature review.
Research skills
Present data from language analysis written in a “Results” format
Oral presentation of data

Scientific article analyzing linguistic data in two drafts. Revision after instructor feedback
Language sample analysis written up as Results section and presented to class orally with visual aids.
“Writing to learn” in class

SPAUD 343: Neuroscience

Use oral rhetoric to explain disorder

Oral presentation and paper

SPAUD 344: Audiology

Think critically and write about disability

“Living with hearing loss” experience and paper

SPAUD 345: Aural Rehabilitation

Write a literature review
Research skills

Long research paper

SPAUD 370: Intro to Clinical Practicum

Learn to write SOAP notes
Learn to write evaluation reports

Many short “writing to learn” assignments in class and as homework

SPAUD 384: Speech Sound Disorders

Learn to write assessment report
Critical Thinking

Case study assessment report
Reflective essay on language and dialect variation

SPAUD 385: Language Disorders

Learn to write assessment report.
Learn to produce a handout for a therapy approach.

Case study and therapy strategy presentation

SPAUD 501: Diagnostics

Critical thinking

Reflective paper on disability
Short “Writing to learn” assignments in class

SPAUD 503: Language Disorders I

Research skills
Learn to critique studies on interventions.

Summary and critique of study on language intervention technique


SPAUD 506: Aphasia

Critical thinking
Revise writing
Learn to evaluate intervention techniques through research and practical experience.
Oral presentation skills

Draft and Final version of Faith and inclusion essay
Intervention technique: paper, handout, and presentation
Weekly 10-minute “writing to learn” in response to readings
“Writing to learn” in class

SPAUD 504: Language Disorders II

Research skills
Learn to summarize articles and critique them.
Learn to write evaluation reports.
Critical thinking about process.

Scientific article summary and critique
Evaluation report and reflective paper that describes decision making and process of evaluation
Intervention portfolio
“Writing to learn” in class

SPAUD 505: Research Methods

Write a literature review.
Write a formal research proposal.
Research skills
Development of research question.
Present research proposals formally.

Annotated bibliography
Research Proposal: 2 drafts
Revision after instructor feedback
Formal Oral presentation of their research proposal

SPAUD 522: Neurocognitive Disorders

Critical thinking

Essay reflection on personal account of traumatic brain injury

SPAUD 523: Dysphagia

Oral presentations of case studies in groups
Writing detailed descriptions of therapy activities

Group presentation of oral case study
Short writing assignments in response to readings
Written description of therapy activities including materials, procedures, and goals

SPAUD 599: Critical Reflections in SPAUD

Critical thinking

Weekly journals about clinic experience
Weekly in-class writing responses to readings
Long research paper
Short oral presentation


Critical thinking about integration of faith and work

Essay on demonstrating their faith in their externships and future career

SPAUD 508: Speech Sound Disorders

Research skills: finding evidence for therapy intervention
Evaluate evidence for therapy interventions

Presentation and Summary of evidence-based intervention approach

SPAUD 510: Fluency Disorders


No writing or speaking assignment

SPAUD 520: Motor Speech Disorders

Oral presentations of case studies in groups.
Write detailed evaluations of motor speech tests.

Group presentation of oral case study
Short writing assignments in response to readings
Written description and evaluation of motor speech tests
“Writing to learn” in class

SPAUD 521: Voice

Oral presentations of case studies in groups
Write detailed evaluations of motor speech tests
Write useful summaries of articles to present to peers working with client

Group presentation of oral case study
Short writing assignments in response to readings
Summarize an article to present to clinical peers
“Writing to learn” in class

SPAUD 512: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Oral presentations in groups

Oral presentations of case studies in groups

SPAUD 524: Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders

Research skills: finding evidence for therapy intervention
Evaluate evidence for therapy interventions

Presentation and Summary of evidence-based intervention approach


III. Faculty awareness and development

The SPAUD Department will make this document available to students and faculty on its departmental website. All faculty will be encouraged to review this document before designing syllabi and preparing assignments.

IV. Assessment

The SPAUD Department will set aside one departmental meeting each year to discuss our rhetoric program and evaluate its effectiveness. We will also look at the section of our general department assessment survey that asks alumni about how well they were prepared for writing in their career.

Revised February 2016.