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Lesley Sylvan

Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

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Dr. Lesley Sylvan is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University. Dr. Sylvan is a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) with extensive clinical experience working with school-aged children both in public school and private clinical settings. She completed a Master's degree in educational policy and management as well as a Doctorate degree in human development and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Broadly, Dr. Sylvan's scholarly interests center on the intersection between the field of education and the field of speech-language pathology. Within the intersection of education and speech-language pathology, she pursues research related to both the K-12 educational sector as well as issues related to higher education. She has authored numerous academic papers in these areas and is a regular speaker at academic conferences.

Related to K-12 settings, Dr. Sylvan’s research involves closely examining the work of school-based SLPs in public school settings with an emphasis on educational policies and educational reforms. She is the author of "Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Implementation Tools for Speech-Language Pathologists in Education" which explores the applicability of the multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to a speech-language pathologist’s role in schools. Information about her book can be seen on the Plural Publishing website:

Related to higher education, Dr. Sylvan’s scholarly work encompasses issues related to the training and preparation of SLPs in higher educational settings. Within this area, she studies the implications of both program-level decisions (e.g. admissions requirements, coursework) and classroom-level pedagogical choices (e.g., course design, assignment selection) in departments offering degrees in speech-language pathology.

At Montclair State University, she teaches courses focused on language acquisition in children, language disorders in school-aged children, and research methodology. She views research mentorship as a key part of her teaching responsibilities and regularly publishes articles with Master’s-level students.

Selected publications:


Sylvan, L. (2021). Multi-tiered systems of support: Implementation tools for speech-language pathologists in education. Plural Publishing.

Peer-reviewed journal articles
*denotes graduate student co-author

Sylvan, L., Goldstein, E.,* Hafez, D*. (in press). To buy or not to buy: Understanding how special educators make decisions as consumers of intervention materials for children with disabilities Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals.

Sylvan, L. & Becker R. (2022). Understanding the experiences of students within SLPD programs: Perceptions about their educational experiences. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 7(4), 1087-1105.

Sylvan, L. & Becker, R. (2022). Implementing service learning projects for the first time during the pandemic: Two instructors’ inspiration, motivation and goals. Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice, 5(1), 1-8.

Sylvan, L. (2022). Positioning SLP graduate students to meet the needs of vulnerable children virtually: Lessons from a service learning project implemented in the fall of 2020. Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 6(1), Article 9.

Sylvan, L., Goldstein, E.,* Steinberg, E.,* & Crandall, M.* (2021). Another moment in time: A follow-up survey on speech-language pathologists' experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic during the fall of 2020. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(6), 1737-1752.

Becker, R & Sylvan, L. (2021). Coupling articulatory placement strategies with phonemic awareness instruction to support emergent literacy skills in preschool children: A collaborative approach. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 52(2), 661-674.

Sylvan, L., Goldstein, E.,* & Crandall, M.* (2020). Capturing a moment in time: A survey of school-based SLPs’ experiences in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 5(6), 1735-1749.

Sylvan, L., Brock, K., Perkins., A.,* & Garrett, J.* (2020). Building blocks of knowledge: A close look at prerequisite coursework for graduate programs in speech-language pathology. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 5(5), 1-10.

Sylvan, L., Perkins, A.,* & Truglio, C.* (2020). Student experience applying to graduate school for speech-language pathology. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 5(1), 192-205.

Sylvan, L. (2019). How to teach concern: Inspiring speech-language pathology graduate students to develop empathy and advocacy with the power of personal stories. Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 3(2), 9.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Bringing book club to class: Engaging college students in reading content-specific books written for popular audiences. College Teaching, 66(4), 225-234.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Similar populations, differing service levels: Exploring factors that drive variability in the provision of speech-language service. Educational Policy, 32(4). 598-630.

Sylvan, L. (2014). Speech-language services in public schools: How policy ambiguity regarding eligibility criteria impacts speech-language pathologists in a litigious and resource constrained environment. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, Fall, 7-23.

Trade magazines and other articles

Sylvan, L. (2022). Montclair State University Graduate Students are Making a Difference in Communities While Completing Their Externships as Americorps Members. NJSHA VOICES, the Newsletter of the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Sylvan, L. & Becker, R. (2021). Interprofessional practice in schools: A case study of a school team. NJSHA VOICES, the Newsletter of the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Sylvan, L. (2021, August 11). New Facebook group focuses on MTSS. ASHA Leader Live.

Sylvan, L. (2020, September 29). Tackling the current challenges faced in public schools: MTSS as part of the solution. Plural Publishing.

Sylvan, L. (2018). Tiers to communication success: How can SLPs join in the MTSS framework many schools are adopting to catch students’ special education needs earlier and provide levels of intervention? The ASHA Leader, 23(8), 44-53.

Sylvan, L. (2016). When it’s time for goodbye: When a student is ready to “graduate” from services, how do you handle resistance from parents? The ASHA Leader, 21(9), 44-48.


Language disorders in school-aged children, special education policy, roles of the school speech-language pathologist, scholarship of teaching and learning, current practice patterns and personnel preparation needs in the field of speech-language pathology, multiple tiers of student support (MTSS) framework

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