The Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences (DSHS) marked its 50thanniversary with a two-hour online event on Saturday, October 10, 2020. Over 130 alumni, faculty, staff and students gathered together virtually to recognize the division’s growth and successes over the last 50 years and express their excitement for the future.
The celebration kicked-off with an interactive social hour that included breakout rooms by graduation year and by program to allow alumni and current students to reconnect, network and engage. Conversations included topics such as family, professional activities and the challenges of life posed by COVID-19.
The event then progressed to a general session with introductory remarks from DSHS Director Sharon Wallace Williams, PhD, and Allied Health Sciences Department Chair Stephen Hooper, PhD.
Williams started the session with an overview of division as it stands today and shared, “In our day-to-day lives, we work, we plan, and we envision ̶ all focused on maintaining and sustaining a culture of excellence for the division’s degree programs. Equally important, to a culture of excellence we focus and strive to maintain a culture of inclusion and belonging.”
Hooper then spoke about the history of the division, and how in 1969, Dr. Robert Peters saw a need for trained professionals to treat a broad array of communication disorders.
According to Hooper, the division’s future is “blindingly bright” due to the strength of its research programs, clinical training, people, and key partnerships built over time. “Success never comes in a day. It comes with strong determination, hard work and steady leadership, and the division is a beacon for success in all regards,” said Hooper.
In support of these beliefs, Hooper also shared that the division’s educational programs are highly regarded among over 300 speech and hearing programs nationally. According to U.S. News and World Report, the Doctor of Audiology program ranks #5, and the Master’s of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences program ranks #8.
Following Hooper’s remarks, the celebration continued with inspiring stories from alumni, students and faculty. Despite the speakers’ different specialties, graduation years and life experiences, all shared how much their affiliation with the division has meant ̶ and continues to mean ̶ in their lives.
From its inception 50 years ago, the Speech and Hearing Sciences Program has been committed to the highest standards of educational preparation for future speech-language pathologists and audiologists, while providing vision and leadership in our professional disciplines. Established in 1969 as the Institute for Speech and Hearing Sciences, the program became the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences in 1980, and is now one of seven divisions in the School of Medicine’s Department of Allied Health Sciences.
The division offers three degree programs including a Master’s of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences, a Clinical Doctor of Audiology; and a Doctor of Philosophy. The division also offers an undergraduate minor. More than 20 full-and-part-time faculty hold appointments in the division, and many others serve as clinical preceptors and research mentors.
If you would like to make gift in support of the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, please visit our donation page. The division’s priority needs include support for students, including scholarships, funds for faculty development, and support of innovation efforts.
Sharon Wallace Williams, PhD, is an associate professor and the director of the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
Stephen Hooper, PhD, has served as associate dean and chair of the department since 2013.