Position: Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Teaching at Samford since: 2013
Why do you teach? I have been teaching at the university level for 21 years now and there is no place that I had rather be. I teach because I believe God has given me the knowledge and skills to help persons when they have difficulty communicating. When He created the world, there was only one species that he gave the ability to verbally talk and that was man. Therefore, I believe that the ability to communicate is something that we should never take for granted. Speech language pathology is the greatest profession in the world, and I want to share that passion with students so that the clients and patients that they work with have someone working with them that loves them and loves what they do.
What is one thing your students may not know about you? I served as a minister of music and youth at a church when I was in graduate school. I directed student and adult choirs and led the music every Sunday. Music is a passion of mine and is an outlet for me when I feel a bit stressed. I sit down at my piano and play various kinds of music, depending on my stress level and mood.
What is your favorite hobby? My favorite hobby now is water sports. I love to ski, boat, kayak and swim.
How did your background prepare you for your current role at Samford? When asked “how did you get to Samford?” I tell people that all of my work career has truly prepared me for what I do at Samford currently. I can see now how God wove into my story different people who have influenced me, different work settings that have given me skill and knowledge, and many, many educational opportunities throughout my 30-year career as a speech language pathologist to prepare me to be at Samford and help build a speech language pathology program. He has blessed me immeasurably more, and I am grateful.
What is one thing you want your students to know when they graduate from Samford? I want them to know that Jesus loves them. He has gifted them, and He has already placed people in their life that they will be able to help. I want them to know that first and foremost they are a servant leader. They are here to serve others through the profession of speech language pathology.
What is some of the interesting research you are currently doing in your field? My research area is called Constraint Induced Aphasia Therapy. It is a new therapy method for persons who have had a left brain stroke and find themselves unable to speak. This condition is called aphasia. I work with a team of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and we are in some clinical trials right now with this type of therapy. We have published three papers on different aspects of the treatment. It is very exciting.
What is it like helping to establish a new academic program for Samford? Wow! It is the greatest opportunity I have had yet in my life. I have never worked harder and had more fun than in the last 36 months. Creating a new program, within the new College of Health Sciences has truly been a dream come true. I have been in the profession of speech language pathology for 30 years now and I have seen many trends come and go. I believe that if the students in the communication sciences and disorders program take advantage of all of the opportunities they have, they will change the world. I challenge them with that phrase often. These students will leave prepared to work with professionals from other disciplines in order to help the patients get better faster and with a greater level of recovery than in years past. What a time to be in this profession!
Why do you continue to practice clinically while working as a full-time faculty member and administrator? This one is easy. I teach better when I am engaged with persons who need my services, and this also allows me the opportunity to understand how blessed I am to be healthy, to be alive and to be one of God’s children. If I lose the ability to practice clinically, I don’t think my skill level as a faculty member and an administrator would be as “in tune” with what is going on around us as a nation.