Professor, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology
The University of Iowa
Certificate of Clinical Competence, Audiology
1987 PhD, University of Iowa
Speech Pathology and Audiology
1973 MA, University of Iowa
Speech Pathology and Audiology
1971 BS, University of Iowa
Speech and Hearing Science
I chose an academic/research career because:
My experiences in the clinical setting made it clear to me that
not only did I NOT have all the answers, I didn't even know
how to ask the questions!
What do you do in your career as a teacher, scholar,
A faculty position in a Division I research institute and a No. 1
(or 2) graduate program is challenging, to say the least. At the
same time, the prestige of such an environment brings excellent
students, outstanding faculty, and a variety of resources. My
workload is roughly broken down into 40% teaching, 40% research,
and 20% service. While those proportions are always negotiable,
there is actually a lot of overlap in what constitutes teaching,
research, and service. On the way to tenure (as an assistant
professor), some of the teaching and service proportion might be
reduced to ensure the time and energy for the research
productivity. After tenure (as an associate professor), there is
a greater expectation to take on more of the departmental
teaching and committee efforts. After the final promotion to full
professor, there is a university-wide expectation that the
faculty member will be a leader within the department, the
university, and the field (both nationally and
At the University of Iowa, we have an undergraduate program
(approximately 200 majors), a master's degree in
speech-language pathology, a clinical doctorate in audiology
(AuD), and a PhD program with multiple foci. Although I teach
only a few lectures at the undergraduate level, I serve as an
academic adviser to that and all levels of students. Most of my
classroom teaching is in the AuD program; most of my research
teaching is at the PhD level. In short, each level of student
brings both challenge and reward. Oftentimes, students comment on
the strong clinical program we provide (if they come for the
research) and the strong research program we have (if they come
for the clinical training). For one who calls herself a
"clinical researcher," the presence of both is
How did you get to the position you have today?
My pathway to academia was somewhat cluttered. I chose clinical
audiology as my career objective, somewhat by default, in my
senior year of college. The course work and the faculty were
interesting and challenging, and the work satisfying, but then so
was motherhood several years later. After balancing limited
effort in audiology with extensive effort in motherhood by
providing part-time supervision in the Department of Speech
Pathology and Audiology (here), my interest and determination to
learn more grew. Nearly 20 years later, I have the
"job" of my dreams.
What were the key factors in your academic/research
A number of factors led me to the academic/research career. Since
I already had a career, the change to this setting was mostly
influenced by my need to learn more in order to do a better job.
Once I had the PhD in my pocket, I did not plan to leave my
clinical setting. The prospect of working with students, and
being a policy maker in the department (and the field), convinced
me to seek the faculty position.
What do you like most about your career?
The best part? It would have to be the combination of the parts.
I love student interactions (lab and classroom and clinic), I am
passionate about my research, and, finally, I appreciate being in
a position (academia) wherein I can decide my area of focus (for
research), the content of my teaching, and the direction of my
What do you like least about your career?
Any academic will tell you the least favorable part is the
minutiae-paperwork, reports, surveys, meetings, committees,
etc.-that eat up time and have few tangible outcomes.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
I have heroes and heroines in many arenas of my life. Re:
audiology, I suppose I could limit the number to three, at least
for now. Charlie Anderson, a senior faculty in my early days,
encouraged me to Go for it! both during the grueling doctoral
program as well as the grueling interview with my own department!
David Hawkins, a junior faculty at the same time, encouraged me
to Learn more! while we ran the Iowa clinic in the late 70s and
early 80s. And both he and Robyn Cox (my peer at Memphis)
continue to encourage me to be a good teacher, a good researcher,
and a good friend with their enthusiasm for all things important
What advice would you give to an undergraduate or
master's student who expressed an interest in an
academic/research career in communication sciences and
Know yourself and your strengths. Self-discipline may be the most
important trait for success in an academic/research environment.
A sincere interest in the chosen field might be the second. Every
aspect of living involves sound. That fascinates me.
What was the best thing about your PhD program?
A couple things come to mind: the quality of the faculty, and the
camaraderie of the fellow PhD students. Without either of those,
the road will be long and hard(er)!
If you did your PhD program or your early career years
all over again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. Without a grand plan, I managed to have my family (three
children and a tolerant husband) and all that goes with it, and
still managed to have a rewarding career, albeit a little later
in life. Too often I see female students trying to make hard
decisions in those two arenas. If I had stuck with my original
life plan, I would have been a mom only. I am glad I didn't
limit my options.
How do you find balance between your professional
activities and your personal life? What do you do to
One advantage of academia is that you will never punch a clock
(well, you need to get to class on time!); the disadvantage of
academia is that the work never ends. I have had students tell me
they don't want "to work that hard" (as I do). Yet,
I have opportunity to travel the world, interact with some of the
most interesting people alive, and (hopefully) affect the field
of audiology in some small way. I also love to read, run, and
refresh my palate with fine red wine; all of those activities fit
in nicely with my current lifestyle!
What will you be doing 5 years from now? 10 years from
Five years from now I will be doing what I am doing now
(hopefully). Ten years is a little far out there to predict.
Because of my age, I could be living in my retirement hut on some
nice sandy beach; because of my enthusiasm for what I do, I
suspect you will be able to reach me at the (same) office.