Professor, Early Childhood, Special, and Physical Education
University of Toledo
Certificate of Clinical Competence, Speech-Language
1993-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan
1993 PhD, Bowling Green State University
1977 MS, Ohio State University
1975 BA, Miami University (Ohio)
I chose an academic/research career because:
I have an insatiable desire to challenge myself, to learn more,
and to seek out answers to new questions.
What do you do in your career as a teacher, scholar,
I began my university career in a speech-pathology department. I
have recently moved to a different college, the College of
Education, at my university. I am now the only speech-language
pathologist in a department of early childhood and special
education faculty. I enjoy working within a cross-disciplinary
department as I now have more opportunities for collaboration
with faculty who represent a variety of training approaches,
experiences, and educational perspectives.
My favorite part of my job is running my research program. I
am currently a coinvestigator on a project funded by the U.S.
Department of Education. We are training early childhood
educators to implement a book-reading intervention with children
at risk for academic failure. We are following the children in
the study into second grade to determine the effects of the
intervention on later reading development.
In addition to research, I spend the majority of my time
writing, presenting at conferences, and working as a consultant
with other projects. I teach one or two courses a semester. My
favorite course is one that I teach for general education majors.
The course is designed to train future teachers to implement
curriculum modifications in their classrooms. This is an exciting
opportunity to make a difference for children with special needs
and is a content area not typically taught by an SLP. I hope that
the class will encourage general education teachers to
enthusiastically welcome children with special needs into their
The University of Toledo is a metropolitan university in a
midsize Ohio town. Our college students are often older students
or students who work full- or part-time. It is an opportunity to
teach and mentor students who have valuable life skills and
perspectives. The expectations for a faculty member are that-in
addition to teaching, publishing, and research-the faculty member
should serve on department- or university-level committees. I am
a member of the College Personnel Committee (this is the
committee that votes on tenure and promotion) and the University
Graduate College. It is a busy schedule but very rewarding. There
are many different ways that faculty can become involved in the
community and campus life and make a difference.
How did you get to the position you have today?
I was a clinical SLP for 12 years prior to going back to school
to get my PhD. Very soon after starting to work as a clinician, I
was asked to be a department supervisor at a nonprofit community
speech and hearing clinic in Toledo. I enjoyed working as a
clinician and managing an SLP department, but the opportunities
for advancement were administrative, and I knew I did not want to
be an administrator!
What were the key factors in your academic/research
I was offered increasingly advanced administrative jobs, but I
knew that this was not what I wanted to do. I examined aspects of
my job that I most enjoyed. I knew I wanted to learn more about
communication disorders. I enjoyed writing, so I knew I wanted a
career where I would have more opportunities to write. I also
enjoyed working with the new SLPs who came to the center for
their CCC year. I enjoyed training and mentoring. I realized
these job components sounded like a university faculty
member-that's when I decided to go back to school for a
What do you like most about your career?
I most enjoy the opportunity to always do something different. I
like developing a new course, writing a new grant, figuring out
how to write about a topic that interests me, how to present
information so that it is helpful to other professionals, and so
forth. There is always a new challenge and a new discovery right
around the corner.
What do you like least about your career?
I am frustrated when I have students who don't like to be
challenged. Some students think that professors should make
learning "easy." Some students avoid having to seek out
answers, or resist thinking for themselves and problem solving.
Sometimes I become discouraged when faced with this attitude.
Who are your heroes/heroines?
I wanted to become a SLP because as a child I was fascinated by
Helen Keller and her relationship with her teacher, Anne
Sullivan. So Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan are my
heroines-rather corny, I know, but true.
For inspiration I look at colleagues who are not at
"top-tier" schools but are still able to do
"top-tier" work. It is challenging because often at
midlevel universities, faculty do not have highly developed
infrastructure supports facilitating a research and publication
program. They often have a greater teaching load. For example, if
I did not have a research grant, I would be teaching 6 courses a
year (12 semester hours in the fall, 12 semester hours in the
spring). I see colleagues at smaller institutions who are
considered to be the best in their area of expertise, they are
active in ASHA at a national level, they have significant
external funding, and they are actively writing and publishing.
They inspire me that I can do the same.
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
I think that communication disorders is absolutely the BEST field
to be in, and there are many opportunities for someone with a PhD
in our field. I have friends who are my age, who are very
disenchanted with their work, and who are anxiously waiting for
retirement. I feel that faculty life is a wonderful blend of
independence, opportunity for challenge, and collaborative
partnership with colleagues.
What was the best thing about your PhD program?
The most important component is to find a good mentor, someone
who will support you through the process of the PhD.
If you did your PhD program or your early career years
all over again, what would you do differently?
It would have been nice to have the freedom to go to any
university and to take advantage of any offers that came along.
Instead, I needed to balance my career with my family life, which
meant that I needed to pursue my PhD and employment opportunities
without geographically moving. If one can move and take advantage
of every opportunity, that is a wonderful blessing. But even if
one has to stay closer to home, it is possible to obtain a PhD
and have an exciting and successful career.
How do you find balance between your professional
activities and your personal life? What do you do to
We started a family when I was a clinician. I was able to work
part-time when my children were in preschool. When I began my
doctoral program, my children were ages 6 and 8. I never went to
school in the summer, so I was always home in the summers when my
children were young. When I began my university teaching career,
I chose to work a 9-month contract so that I could continue to be
home with my children in the summers. Faculty life also means
that some days you can work at home-so that was always a big help
when my children were teenagers. I often worked from my home
office, but my teenagers always knew where to find me!
For relaxation I garden, ride bikes with my husband (we ride
the trails at all the metro parks in northwest Ohio every
summer), and read. I am in a book club and play platform tennis
(mixed doubles) in the winter. Now that my children are grown, my
husband and I are beginning to travel abroad every year and to go
somewhere warm in the winter over spring break.
What will you be doing 5 years from now? 10 years from
I am taking a paid sabbatical from the university in 2006-2007 so
that I can write a textbook. I hope to write at least two more
books over the next 5 years. I would like to obtain at least one
more large-scale grant so that I can continue to have an active
research program. I want to expand my consultation; I like
working with school systems to improve their early literacy
programs. I would like to obtain a Fulbright Award and teach
abroad for 3-8 months at a time. I am beginning to interact and
write with scholars on an international level, and these
friendships will bring many new opportunities for travel and
international scholarship. Many of my friends are thinking about
early retirement; I am just getting started!