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The history of the Department of Communication Disorders mirrors the evolution of the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology. The university offered a "complete speech correction training program" outlined in the 1952-53 bulletin. During this time, the profession of audiology had not yet been born and "speech correction" was the appropriate term.
In 1962-63, a degree in "speech correction" was initiated in the Department of Speech, later to become the Department of Speech Communication. Students initially received a degree in speech with a major in speech correction. This program was directed by Dr. M.G. Lorberg. During the 70's, the program remained a component within the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre under the direction of Dr. Mary Ann Vogelsang and Dr. John Long.
The present day Department of Communication Disorders was formed in 1989 within the newly created College of Health and Human Services. Dr. Mary Ann Vogelsang served as the first chairperson of the department. Founding faculty of the department included Dr. Vogelsang, Dr. John Long, Dr. Leita Hensley, Dr. Kevin Squibb, and Dr. Marcia Brown.
The Department continued under Dr. Mary Ann leadership until 1996. At that time, Dr. Sakina Drummond became the second chairperson of the department and the department received its first re-accreditation by the Council on Academic Accreditation as an independent department in 2000.
In 2008, the clinical facility of the department completed an extensive remodeling which included remote video observation system, digital recording and computer capabilities in all clinical suites, an enhanced student work area, and a student locker room. In addition, the new clinic waiting area was designated the Mary Ann Vogelsang Waiting Room in honor of her early service to the department. In Spring 2017, the new Center for Speech and Hearing was opened at 402 N. Pacific Street. The new Center for Speech and Hearing houses two classroom/labs, voice treatment room, student workroom, audiology lab with sound proof booth, life skills kitchen, and 10 adult and pediatric treatment rooms, diagnostic room with observation area, and a private observation room for caregivers of clients. State-of-the-art recording software is utilized to observe student sessions and provide feedback during service provision.
In 2009, Dr. Marcia Brown-Haims served as interim chairperson of the department and, in 2010, Dr. Tom Linares was appointed department chairperson. Dr. Marcia Brown-Haims was renamed department chairperson in 2015 and held that position until her retirement in 2019. Dr. Jayanti Ray has been appointed the interim chairperson for the Department for 2019 - 2020.