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Three Universities with Outstanding Speech Pathology Faculty

Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, help to diagnose, treat, and prescribe courses of action for patients with communication difficulties and related complications of the mouth, neck, and throat. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that top-earning SLPs can make as much as $77,150 a year with a master’s degree. The field is expected to add 41,900 jobs between 2018 and 2028—a 27 percent increase in openings nationally, more than five times the average growth projection for all U.S. occupations during the same decade (5 percent).

SLPs work with people of all ages to observe, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing problems. These include issues with phonological disorders, aphasia, literacy, fluency, voice projection and articulation, social communication cues, stuttering, speech impediments, cognitive disorders, and problems with feeding, eating, and drinking.

This guide to three outstanding speech and language pathology departments identifies 15 professors that are breaking new ground in the field of communication disorders and treatments.

The University of Virginia – Curry School of Education and Human Development

The University of Virginia is a public university that was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It is known for offering a wide variety of majors—121 across eight undergraduate and three professional schools. It is the only research school in Virginia; the journal Science even credited UVA faculty with two of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2015.

In terms of speech pathology, UVA’s renowned Curry School of Education and Human Development is highly-ranked. Quite notably, eight UVA graduates have won the Pulitzer Prize. Additionally, the school’s alumni have founded an impressive 65,000 companies, employing 2.3 million people worldwide with a combined annual revenue of $1.6 trillion.


Dr. Nicolas Barone is an assistant professor of education and the director of the Neurovoice Lab at the University of Virginia. His academic focus is the treatment and evaluation of voice and swallowing disorders. His primary research foci are neurophysiology voice production and perception as it relates to learning. Professor Barone’s research also deals with neurophysiology voice production and sound perception.

Dr. Barone earned his PhD from James Madison University, his MS from Misericordia University, and his BA from the University of Pittsburgh.


Dr. Latisha Hayes is an associate professor and the director of the McGuffey Reading Center, where she teaches courses on the diagnosis of and intervention of reading difficulties. She is the co-author of Words Their Way with Struggling Readers, a resource for classroom teachers in grades 4 through 12. At the McGuffey Reading Center, she helps students across all grades receive diagnostic and intervention services.

Dr. Hayes obtained her PhD and MEd from the University of Virginia and a BA from Radford University.


Dr. Jane Hilton is an assistant professor of speech-language pathology and the director of clinical services in the UVA Speech-Language-Hearing Center. She formerly served as the president of the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia.

Dr. Hilton’s research examines the efficacy of early intervention programs for young children diagnosed with autism. Additional interests include comparing the effectiveness of intervention approaches used to improve the communication skills of children on the spectrum.

Dr. Hilton earned an MS and PhD from James Madison University, as well as a BA from Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Dr. Randall Robey is a professor of speech-language pathology and the director of the speech communication disorders program at the University of Virginia. He leads courses in neurogenic communication disorders, aphasic disorders, and evidence-based practice. He researches how to improve quantifying valid indices of change effected through clinical interventions, using meta-analysis and empirical experiment practices.

Dr. Robey earned his PhD from Ohio University and BA and MA degrees from Marshall University.


Dr. William Therrien is a special education professor and lead coordinator of the research in practice group for the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) Project. He is also the co-editor of Exceptional Children, a flagship research journal for the non-profit Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Dr. Therrien studies habits and conditions in reading, science, and special education, and his publications concern students with autism and learning disabilities, as well as academic programming for at-risk students. He earned his PhD and BA from Pennsylvania State University and his MEd from Arizona State University.

Purdue University – College of Health and Human Sciences, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Purdue University was founded in 1869 by businessman John Purdue, who had wanted to donate both capital and real estate to start a technical university. PU offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 69 master’s and doctoral programs, and operates renowned programs in veterinary medicine and pharmacy. Among Purdue’s noteworthy alumni is astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The College of Health and Human Sciences, founded in 2010, is home to the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department—a school that has become known for its rigorous dedication to empirical research and a multidisciplinary approach.


Dr. Alexander Francis is an associate professor at Purdue University. He also is a faculty associate at the Center on Aging and the Life Course, where he uses behavioral and psychophysiological measures to assess speech understanding, cognitive effort, affect, and stress in adults. He studies speech perception, cognitive aging, listening effort, psychophysiology, and acoustics, with a focus on distraction, annoyance, and noise sensitivity.

Dr. Francis holds a BA in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later, he attended the University of Chicago, where he earned an MA in linguistics and a dual PhD in cognitive psychology and linguistics.


Tamar Greenwell is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, where she supervises clinical practicums for graduate students in speech-language pathology at the M.D. Steer Audiology and Speech Clinic. She is an expert in the evaluation, identification, and clinical management of speech disorders in school children.

Professor Greenwell studies pediatric speech and language disorders, language and literacy, pragmatic language, and articulation and phonology. She holds a BS from Indiana State University and her MS from Purdue University. Greenwell is certified in clinical competence in speech-language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Dr. Jessica Huber is a professor of speech-language pathology at Purdue University. She is an expert in the collection and analysis of physiological data from the speech subsystems (respiratory, laryngeal, and articulatory activity). Her work focuses on motor speech disorders, the aging of the organs of speech and its effect on motor function, and speech physiology. Her primary area of research is Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Huber received her PhD in speech science from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.


Dr. Natalya Kaganovich is an associate professor in the speech, language, and hearing sciences department at Purdue University. She heads the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, where she uses a combination of behavioral and electrophysiological methods to study auditory cognitive neuroscience. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Her areas of interest include multisensory processing, speech and language processing, developmental language disorder, neural and cognitive changes for language processing during mid-childhood, and cognitive electrophysiology.

Dr. Kaganovich is an alumnus of Purdue herself, having received both her MS and PhD from the institution.


Christi Masters is a clinical associate professor specializing in pediatric speech and language disorders. She also supervises speech-language pathology courses, teaching both introductory and advanced classes. Professor Masters serves as director of the Speech-Language Clinic, where she researches pediatric speech and language disorders in young to pre-adolescent children with Tamar Greenwell, mentioned above.

Masters received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and her master’s degree from Arizona State.

Auburn University – Department of Communication Disorders

Founded in 1856, Auburn University is a highly-regarded public research institution located in Auburn, Alabama that has been listed among the top 50 public universities in the United States for the last 20 years. AU first became chartered in 1856 as East Alabama Male College—a small, private liberal arts school. It is considered one of two Alabama flagship institutions.

AU’s Department of Communication Disorders was one of the first colleges of its kind to become accredited back in 1965. The DCD offers a BS in communication disorders, MS and MCD degrees in speech-language pathology, and a doctorate in audiology (AuD). It also operates the Speech and Hearing Clinic, which is open to public patients seeking expert consultation or treatment.


Dr. Marisha Atkins is an assistant professor of speech-language pathology at Auburn University’s Department of Communication Disorders, where she leads courses in articulation and phonological disorders, phonetics, advanced articulation disorders, and an introduction to speech pathology and audiology. Her research interests include pediatric speech acoustics, speech intelligibility using continuous speech samples, and the utilization of acoustic landmark detection as a means of monitoring how the ability to articulate changes in young children.

Dr. Atkins holds a PhD from the University of Cincinnati.


Dr. Dallin Bailey is an assistant professor of speech-language pathology at Auburn University, where his clinical research deals with aphasia and apraxia. He and his team use linguistic tools to enhance treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction for those suffering from these disorders. Professor Bailey researches the development and testing of treatments and treatment outcome measures for aphasia and apraxia of speech, the kinematic measurement of speech motor learning, and abstract word and verb processing.

Dr. Bailey holds a BA in English and an MS in communication disorders from Brigham Young University. He received a PhD in speech-language pathology from the University of Utah.


Dr. Sridar Krishnamurti is an assistant professor of audiology in the Department of Communication Disorders, where he also is the AuD program coordinator. He currently serves on a research grant review panel for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Krishnamurti researches and teaches the subjects of electrophysiology, aging, hearing conservation, auditory processing disorders, and hearing aids.

Dr. Krishnamurti earned his PhD in audiology from Kent State University.


Dr. Lawrence Molt is an associate professor in Purdue University’s Department of Communication Disorders, where he teaches phonetics, fluency disorders, auditory physiology, augmentative communication, alternative communication, advanced fluency disorders, and how to evaluate research in speech-language pathology. Dr. Molt, in researching fluency disorders in children and adults, uses a set of specially-designed neuroimaging and auditory processes.

Dr. Molt received his PhD from the University of Tennessee and an MS in communication disorders from the University of South Florida.


Dr. Laura Plexico is a professor of speech science and an expert in counseling. She teaches courses in fluency disorders, speech science, and clinical problem solving for students of all levels.

Dr. Plexico studies fluency disorders, speech science, and counseling, and she is co-author of the book Diagnosis and Evaluation in Speech Pathology from Pearson Publishing. Her work has also been featured extensively in the journal Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.

Dr. Plexico earned her PhD and MA from the University of Memphis, as well as her BS from the University of Montevallo.

Kenneth Parker

Kenneth Parker is a feature writer, poet, and musician living in the Pacific Northwest. His writing on remote work, education, and technology has been published by,, and other websites. His poetry, short fiction, and album reviews have appeared in Scifaikuest, Nanoism, and No Clean Singing. His background includes time spent as an associate editor, proofreader, private grammar instructor, freelance content editor, medical claims agent, and SEO consultant. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he studied literature and worked as a composition tutor.