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Department Newsletter

April 15, 2016

A lot has happened in our department since our last update, so we have compiled some highlights.

We said goodbye to some colleagues and friends.

  • Jane Carlstrom retired after 36 years of continuous service to the department (more below). She hasn't left us entirely. She lives in St. Paul and joins us for lunch once in a while.
  • Mary Kennedy was a professor in the department since 1998. She is currently a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Chapman University in California.
  • Jennifer Windsor, who served the University of Minnesota as a professor, department chair, and associate dean from 1990 to 2014, has moved to New Zealand. She is the dean and pro vice-chancellor for faculty in the humanities and social sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. 
  • Aparna Rao contributed to undergraduate education and was a key contributor to the AuD degree program at the University of Minnesota for the past seven years. She is currently a clinical associate professor of speech and hearing science at Arizona State University.

We welcomed new colleagues and a returning colleague.

  • Kerry Witherell joined the department in fall 2014 as an associate clinical specialist in the area of audiology. She earned her AuD degree at the University of Washington and worked for several years as an audiologist before joining the faculty. 

In the past three years, three assistant professors joined the faculty.

  • Jessie Brown earned a PhD from University of Nebraska Lincoln. Her research seeks to improve functional outcomes for individuals with traumatic brain injury, concussion, and stroke across the lifespan.
  • Evelyn Davies-Venn, after earning her PhD at the University of Washington, worked in post-doctoral positions at Purdue University and the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty this past fall. Her research examines individual differences in perception in persons with hearing loss and computational models of hearing.
  • Sheri Stronach earned her PhD from Florida State University and has a research interest in social communication development and autism. She also heads the bilingual-multicultural program for the department.
  • Arlene Carney was welcomed back to her tenure home this past year after serving as an associate cean in the College of Liberal Arts and, more recently, as a vice provost for the University of Minnesota.  


  • This past fall we celebrated the life and career of professor Jerry Siegel, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014. Distinguished professors Joanne Miller and Roger Ingham flew to Minnesota for the event. Roger presented a lecture on stuttering that highlighted many of Jerry's important contributions, and Joanne led off a series of tributes that recognized Jerry for his scientific contributions, mentoring of students, and his collegiality. Watch a video of tributes.
  • Arlene Carney was awarded Honors of the Association, the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Associations' highest award. Arlene is the sixth faculty member at the University of Minnesota to receive this award. The other five are: Bryng Bryngelson (1963), Mildred Templin (1981), Gerald Siegel (2002), Charles Speaks (2002), and Julia Davis (2005).
  • Jane Carlstrom was named a fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association in 2015 and was awarded the Minnesota Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
  • Mark DeRuiter was awarded fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2014.  
  • Sarah Angerman received the Spirit of MSHA Award in 2014.
  • Last summer at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts we celebrated Jane's retirement and recognized Peggy Nelson for her leadership as department chair for seven years. Peggy remains a faculty member in the department, but she has also assumed the directorship of CATSS, the Center for Applied and Translational Sensory Science.
  • An article appearing in JSLHR, written by emeritus professor Kathryn Kohnert and her students, titled "Three Treatments for Bilingual Children With Primary Language Impairment: Examining Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Domain Effects" received an editors award from ASHA in 2015. The order of authors is Kerry Danahy Ebert, Kathryn Kohnert, Giang Pham, Jill Rentmeester Disher, and Bita Payesteh.

Media Recognition

Our academic programs are flourishing. We now have over 200 undergraduate students, and over 100 graduate students in the SLP, AuD, and PhD programs. Our graduate students have close to 100% employment after graduation, and the future looks bright. 

If you have any questions or just want to say hello, feel free to contact me.

Bert Schlauch
Department Chair