American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Collaborative University and School District Partnerships

Some universities are partnering with school districts to help accelerate the training of bachelor's level SLPs or provide easier pathways for graduates to work in school settings. The following are some suggestions for higher education and local district partnerships:

  • Establish and maintain personal connections
  • Publicize program partnerships in places where potential students can find them (e.g., college student centers, local middle and secondary schools, community colleges, and military bases)
  • Look beyond high school, to para-educators, retired teachers, community college students, or local citizens who have never attended college
  • Use university students as recruiters (e.g., Norfolk State University's "Adopt a School Program" places university students into schools as tutors, teacher aides, etc., to attract students)
  • Involve K–12 students in after-school clubs (e.g., Ohio's Project Support-a statewide network of clubs that facilitate relationships between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers; teachers teach students how to be assistant special education teachers)


  • University of Arizona Pathways Program in Tucson is partnering with local school districts to offer graduate programs to bachelor's level practitioners in schools. The program is attempting to expand to include the other training programs in the state, and plans are under way to consider adding graduate level slots for "grow your own" students. For more information, contact Betty McDonald at
  • Arizona State University (ASU) is partnering with the Arizona Department of Education to provide a part-time master's degree program for speech-language pathologists working in the public schools. The Professional Enhancement Program (PEP) is working to train more master's level SLPs for public school settings. By partnering with school districts in the Phoenix metropolitan area, ASU is able to provide master's degrees in speech-language pathology to bachelor level speech therapists working in the schools. For more information go to Arizona State University's website or contact Catherine Bacon at
  • University of Maryland/Montgomery County Schools (MCPS) have partnered to produce additional master's students each year. Students are selected from applicants who are committed to working in a school setting. A scholarship for selected students covers all expenses; in exchange, the student agrees to work for MCPS for 3 years after graduation. For more information, contact Colleen Worthington at
  • William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, is developing a partnership with the Paterson School District to assist with the shortage of qualified SLPs in New Jersey. Contact Margaret Meth at for more information.
  • The University of Northern Colorado and University of Colorado–Boulder are partnering with 11 local school districts to increase the number of qualified SLPs and reduce the shortage in partner schools. The project is funded by the Colorado Department of Education. For further information, contact Karen Kelly at
  • University of South Florida Suncoast Consortium—a partnership with local school districts that assists bachelor level clinicians (who are currently working in the schools) to obtain their master's degree. This program is part time. clincial practica are offered in the school district and local community. For more information contact: Carolyn Ford at
  • Texas Tech University and Lubbock Independent School District Partnership—district employs junior and senior level students as "clerks" and continues to employ them as SLPAs once they achieve a bachelor's degree. The district provides a CF experience and employs the students as fully certified SLPs upon completion of the CF. For more information, contact Sherry Sancibrian at

For more information on these and other innovative programs to address personnel vacancies in health care and education see more state-specific ASHA resources.

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