Chapter Conversations


In National NSSLHA’s Raw Conversations, we ask students to join us in dialogue about racial discrimination within CSD education.

Our sessions include both small and large group discussions where we explore topics and scenarios regarding microaggressions, implicit biases, cultural insensitivity, discrimination, equity, and inclusion within CSD education.

We recognize students can't always attend our events, so we encourage NSSLHA chapters and CSD cohorts to continue these important conversations within their own small group settings.

Tips for Hosting a Chapter Conversation

When hosting your chapter/cohorts discussion, please keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your groups small to create a "safe space" for conversation. If you have a larger chapter or cohort, we recommend separating students up into smaller breakout rooms (in person or through Zoom).
  • Ask experienced professors, faculty, and/or university staff to facilitate the conversations.
  • Guide conversations through a generalized format, instead of putting students in a situation that might trigger them.
  • Discuss strategies and actionable steps for addressing these types of situations within academic- and clinic-based interactions with peers, faculty, and clinical educators.

Discussion Topic Suggestions

Check out our resource page to find articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and websites on topics related to racial discrimination within CSD education. Select from these resources (or find others!) to use as a focal point in your discussions:

Book Club

Consider hosting a book club with your NSSLHA chapter members to discuss topics of cultural competence, cultural humility, and sensitivity, as well as embracing diversity and inclusion.


Scenario 1

A graduate student clinician goes to her clinical supervisor to inform her that one of her clients called to cancel today’s session to observe Eid, a Muslim holiday. Upon hearing this news, the supervisor becomes visibly annoyed and frustrated. Without much thought, she complains to the student by saying, “Why don’t they just celebrate American holidays like the rest of us?”

Reflection Questions
  • Do you think this is an example of (1) a stereotype, (2) implicit bias, (3) microaggressions, or (4) overt racism? Why?
  • Why is it important for the student to do something about this situation even though she isn't the one being targeted?
  • What are other examples of microaggressions that you may have heard within the CSD field? What about in life, in general?
  • If you were the student in this situation or overheard this situation, what would you do?

Scenario 2

A student clinician at her school-based extern site, during a therapy session, asks a nine-year-old if he finished his speech homework from the previous session. The child replies, “I been done it. I’m not never doing that again.” The student clinician responds by addressing the child’s grammar and explains that the child should not speak “slang” in speech or in the classroom. In a post-therapy meeting with the student’s externship supervisor, the student clinician explains their position that using ‘improper English’ is not the right way to talk in school.

Reflection Questions
  • What impact could the student clinician’s response have on the child’s self-perception of their speech and language?
  • What could have been a more culturally responsive reply by the student clinician to the child?
  • Imagine that you are the student clinician’s externship supervisor. How would you respond to the student clinician during the post-therapy meeting?

Scenario 3

Lilian is a sophomore and first-generation undergraduate undeclared major. She recently met with the COMD advisor to consider declaring COMD as her major. The advisor suggests, given her background as a first-generation college student, that she considers a different major that is less challenging and does not require graduate school. Lilian feels discouraged and considers a different major.

Reflection Questions
  • What other suggestions could the advisor have provided that may have resulted in Lilian declaring the major?
  • How could mentorship for Lilian assist in this scenario?
  • If you could chat with Lilian, what ideas would you give her on how to find a mentor(s) (e.g., qualities, location, in or of the field)?
  • If you had a peer who identified as a first-generation college student how could you support the student as a peer?

Scenario 4

Daniela is an African-American first-year graduate student in audiology and the only person of color in her program. Jamie, a close friend of Daniela’s from undergrad is in the same program and has been invited to a study group for an upcoming midterm. Jamie asks to invite Daniela to the study group but is met with grumbles mentioning that Daniela isn’t of the same ‘academic caliber as the group. Jamie shares that they all have similar averages in the class and realizes that it may be more about Daniela’s race. 

Reflection Questions
  • How should Jamie respond in this scenario?
  • How should Daniella respond in this scenario?
  • If you had a peer who was the only or one of very few students of color in your program, what are some things you could do (as a student) to aid in them feeling included?

"Single Story"

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses the phrase "single story" to describe how only hearing a single story about another person, group, or country, risks us creating false perceptions. Discuss this topic as a group.

Reflection Questions
  • What stories about individuals, groups or countries did you grow up listening to or reading about?
  • Do you identify with the people in these stories?
  • Have you ever made assumptions about such stories?
  • After learning about "single stories," how has your perception changed?


Identity is often based on race, ethnicity, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, religion and spirituality, socioeconomic status, age, language, and physical and mental ability. These identities intersect depending on your social context, time, and place. Oftentimes, identity is a combination of who we believe we are and who others say we are. Some parts of our identities are visible, while others are not.

Create your own "identity map" and discuss this topic as a group.

Reflection Questions
  • Complete the sentence, "I am _____." 
  • Describe how you first knew you were _____.
  • Which aspects of your identity have you actively explored and/or wish to explore more?
  • Which identity markers are most relevant to your daily life?
  • Do any identity markers conflict with your school, home, or work life?
  • Do certain environments embrace parts of your identity more than others?
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