Welcome to the CSD Department!

A Message from Our Department Chair

Welcome to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Grand Valley State University.  We are happy to share the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology with you! Speech-language pathology and audiology are professions that merge art and science in order to serve individuals throughout the lifespan who experience deficits in hearing, other communication, and swallowing. These are rewarding careers that provide the opportunity to make a direct impact on the quality of life of others.

At Grand Valley State University, we take an innovative approach to our education of future speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Our undergraduate major goes beyond providing the foundational coursework for matriculation into graduate programs by also providing learners the opportunity to learn about the disorders of the future patients/clients/students they will serve. Graduates of our undergraduate major in communication sciences and disorders often are able to see clients with a greater variety of disorders earlier in their graduate studies than graduates of other programs due the preparation they receive at Grand Valley.

Our graduate programs are delivered at an accelerated pace, offering our graduates the opportunity to begin their careers sooner, and potentially with less financial debt. Our speech-language pathology students attend clinical placements in both pediatric and adult settings from their first semester, where they are mentored by our own Grand Valley faculty. Our audiology students begin their clinical experiences in our state-of-the-art audiology clinic, mentored by our own Grand Valley faculty, and transition into offsite clinical rotations as they matriculate through the program. Our faculty members are clinicians at heart, and they infuse clinical application into all courses. Interprofessional collaborative practice is a hallmark of our programs, providing our learners opportunities to interact with students in a wide variety of disciplines. We commit to promoting inclusion and equity as we strive to engage in a lifelong development of cultural humility.

We embody the liberal education foundation of Grand Valley State University, ensuring that our learners leave Grand Valley with not only the knowledge and skills to be excellent speech-language pathologists or audiologists, but with the ability to think critically and apply collaborative, creative solutions to complex problems. We commit to the mission, vision, and values established by Grand Valley’s Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan.

All that we do to educate our learners is done with our ultimate consumer—the future patients/clients/students of our learners—in mind. Our goal is to ensure that our graduates are providing services of the highest quality in order to promote optimal hearing, communication, and swallowing for our community.

I invite you to take a look at our faculty and staff profiles to see the diverse experience our faculty and staff bring to Grand Valley and to our professions.


Wishing you well,

Courtney Karasinski, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor and Interim Chair

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

A Brief History of Our Department

Our education of undergraduate students in communication sciences and disorders began in 2010 with Ms. Jean Silbar, a speech-language pathologist and business owner from the Grand Rapids community, and Dr. Beth Macauley, in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. A Master of Science in speech-language pathology was awarded candidacy accreditation from the Council of Accreditation of Academic Programs in 2013, and admitted its first class that semester. The first MS class graduated in December of 2014. In 2018, the emphasis in speech-language pathology became a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders and the MS earned full accreditation status. The doctor of audiology (AuD) program earned candidacy accreditation in fall 2020, and admitted its first class of students that year. The first class of AuD students graduated in Spring 2023. We are proud of all that our graduates have accomplished as they deliver the highest-quality speech, language, hearing, balance, and swallowing services to their communities.

For the most recent information regarding COVID-19 precautions, restrictions, and requirements please visit the Laker’s Together webpage at  https://www.gvsu.edu/lakerstogether/.

For more information regarding a specific program within the CSD Department, please contact:

  •                 CSD Major: Wil Rankinen, [email protected]
  •                 M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP): Cara Singer, [email protected]  
  •                 Doctor of Audiology (AuD):  Jen Smart, [email protected]

Important Dates and News

Saturday April 13th -- World Voice Day Virtual Conference

More Information can be found here: /cms4/asset/61214851-0A1B-00F2-E0737DD45987BEDA/gvsu_agenda_2024_world_voice_day.jpg


Monday, April 15th -- Jordan Christian Levan, Fighting For My Voice: The Movement Tour

Come hear Jordan Christian LeVan, a disability advocate and author, share his journey to self-discovery and empowerment.  As an individual born with Verbal Apraxia, Jordan will inspire attendees to embrace their own uniqueness and "reclaim their voices in a world that often seeks to silence them."  Jordan will provide a sneak peek on his upcoming biography discussing his struggles and triumphs shaping his journey.  

This program is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the Inclusion & Equity Institute, and the Dept of Communication Sciences and Disorders. 

More information and RSVP can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/44yjpnrw





World Voice Day Graphic

Click Here to Registerhttps://tinyurl.com/y59bwn4e

Congratulations to SLP student Autumn Cannon on earning second place in the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and a people's choice award. For more information on the 3MT at GVSU, see this link: https://www.gvsu.edu/gs/3-minute-thesis-competition-82.htm

Collaborative Training Event

The faculty of the speech-language pathology graduate program and the staff of Spectrum Health and Muskegon Community College collaborated to provide a two-day training for graduate students.  The focus of this event was to provide GVSU students with an introduction and overview of working in a medical setting.  The goals included: discussion of the multiple roles that speech-language pathologists have in medical settings; discussion of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for the 21st Century working in a medical settings; experiences with interprofessional collaboration in medical settings; and a venue for students to experience labs related to work in a medical setting.


The training is intended to prepare graduate students for academic coursework and clinical placements during the graduate program.

Spectrum/GVSU Collaborative Training

Faculty Research

Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence Grant Recipients and projects:

  • Catalyst Grant: Dr. Colton Clayton -- "Predictive Factors in Hearing Aid Success", conclusion expected November 2025


  • Catalyst Grant: Dr. Won So -- "Neural correlates to the binaural cues in multiple latencies in objective measurements in normal listeners and individuals with a hearing related deficit”, conclusion expected November 2025


  • Catalyst Grant: Dr. Beth Macauley -- "Development of an App using AI and Large- Language Models to Help People with Expressive Aphasia Communicate Independently", conclusion expected November 2025


  • Catalyst Grant: Dr. Sri Nandamudi -- "Impact of Hybrid Simulation in Dysphagia Clinical Education", conclusion expected February 2024


  • Collaborative Grant: Dr. Wil Rankinen -- "The Lower Michigander Talk Study - Stage II: Rural speech communities in Mason and Huron", expected conclusion March 2024


Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center Grant Recipients and projects

  • Teaching Innovation Grant: Dr. Sri Nandamudi and Dr. Courtney Karasinski -- "Clinical Pedagogy on Huntington's Disease (HD)", expected conclusion July 2024




Page last modified March 20, 2024