Student representatives join the DEI committee to bring student perspectives and input to the committee's efforts.

They serve as full committee members and are part of subcommittees to contribute to various, ongoing projects. In addition, the students are leading the charge in improving communication between the faculty and HESP students (in all degree programs), specifically related to issues involving equity and inclusion.

The DEI committee is working with HESP faculty and students to develop a student survey to determine the need and scope for anonymous reporting of issues related to diversity and inclusion in the department. Should the survey indicate that students believe there is a need for such a mechanism, the committee will work to develop and implement it within the department.

The DEI student reps will be hosting anonymous Student Feedback Forums to provide an opportunity for HESP undergrad and graduate students to have open, small group discussions about issues related to diversity and inclusion. Topics or issues can be submitted anonymously for group discussions in a confidential manner. Keep an eye out for announcements re: dates and times of these sessions.

The Cultural Leadership Initiative Student Organization (CLISO) was designed to help future speech-language pathologists and audiologists achieve the highest level of multicultural competence. By joining CLISO, you take additional steps to recognize and discuss cultural variables and dimensions of diversity encountered in our clinical practices. The club aims to achieve the following primary goals:

  • Bringing together members of both organizations to discuss current pitfalls and successes in cultural competence within clinical practice

  • Creating culturally specific and cross-cultural experiences through open discussions and guest speakers

  • Bringing your diverse values and experiences into learning environments and sponsored events

  • Maintaining a focus of inclusivity of diverse backgrounds within the organization

  • Becoming a resource for students, faculty, and patients


To improve diversity in our graduate programs and ultimately, our professions, the HESP Admissions, and Financial Aid Committee is looking to recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds who bring unique perspectives to our programs.

  • Our Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach to application reviews for our three graduate programs (CAUD, SLP, and Ph.D.). Admission is based on the applicant’s personal statement, life experiences, and letters of recommendation, rather than GRE scores and GPAs.

HESP-GPS is the department’s premier educational abroad program that will provide students with a supervised and multidisciplinary, international service learning (ISL) opportunity for the reciprocal exchange of cultural perspectives, knowledge, and skills. Through interactions with International health and educational professionals as well as patients/clients and their families, students will gain perspective on broader health issues such as determinants of health, health disparities, and the global burden of disease.

Students will have learning opportunities in governmental and non-governmental organizations to gain knowledge and experience with varied healthcare and educational systems in under-resourced communities. In addition to observing and working with the host country's audiologists, speech-language therapists and other rehabilitative professionals, students will assist faculty in providing educational workshops for professionals and outreach activities for the community. Graduate students will be able to earn clock hours and get hands-on clinical experiences, while undergraduate students will be able to get observational hours and participate in all aspects of the trip.

In addition, there will be time for cultural activities that will explore the country, allow for learning about the history, and provide a different narrative than the ones provided in the media.  By the end of the program, students will be able to demonstrate competence in clinical service learning using a culturally responsible, effective, and sustainable framework. 

CLD-EP is a limited enrollment program for admitted graduate students in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. The program's primary goal is to enable students to recognize cultural influences on communication disorders, language, and society to reduce health disparities in vulnerable communities. This specialty track includes diversity-focused coursework, diverse clinical experiences, scholarly activities, and community engagement.

The HESP Bilingual Certification Program is a clinical preparation program for emerging bilingual speech-language pathologists.

  • The core objective of the program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to become qualified bilingual services providers, by meeting the criteria set forth by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

  • ASHA requires all speech-language pathologists serving as bilingual service providers to demonstrate native or near-native language proficiency in their client’s language, as well as essential bilingual clinical skills.

  • As of 2020, qualified bilingual service providers make up only about 8% of ASHA members, in spite of the very large and growing client population in need of services.

The HESP Bilingual Certification Program offers a means by which graduate students in the Speech-Language Pathology master’s program would be able to acquire the requisite knowledge and skills to work with these populations. Students will acquire knowledge relating to standards, protocols, diagnostic methods, treatment approaches, and current trends in the area of bilingual speech-language pathology. The Bilingual Certification Program is intended for speakers of a variety of languages, and is not language-specific. If you have any questions about the program, please contact José Ortiz.

UMD-REACH (Research Equity and Access in Communication and Hearing) is a program designed to address the critical need to increase ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic diversity in the field of communication sciences and disorders. To that end, UMD-REACH provides a year-long paid training program to increase lab participation among underrepresented undergraduate students. 

Students accepted into the program will:

  • participate in labs 10 hrs/week during the academic year, and full-time (40 hrs/week) for 10 weeks during the summer
  • receive wages ($15/hour) and summer housing to allow them the time to commit to the program.
  • receive mentorship and professional development training to increase their future academic success and interest in research careers.

To learn more, visit

Last modified
11/10/2023 - 1:32 pm