About

wendell johnson speech & hearing center

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Iowa is one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind. Until 2008, it was called the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology. We have been training students and serving clients with speech, language, and hearing disorders for more than 60 years.

The department is guided by our mission statement regarding academic, clinical and research programs. The department has also developed a strategic plan and sets of particular goals in executing that plan. Copies of that plan can be requested at speech-path-aud@uiowa.edu.

The Master of Arts (MA) education program in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Iowa is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

The Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (AuD) education program in Audiology at The University of Iowa is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard #310, Rockville, Maryland 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700.

The central role played by The University of Iowa in the development of the field of speech-language pathology and audiology is reflected in the title of the book on the early history of the department, Speech Pathology and Audiology: Iowa Origins of a Discipline, by Dorothy Moeller. Although interest in speech and hearing processes and their disorders was developing in a number of Midwestern universities in the 1920s, the beginnings of this discipline are usually attributed to the pioneering work of Carl E. Seashore, head of the Department of Psychology and the dean of the Graduate College at Iowa. Guided by his leadership and vision, a new field was molded - one which was truly interdisciplinary, involving persons from psychology, speech, psychiatry, otolaryngology, pediatrics, and child development, and which was focused on the scientific study of human communication.

In 1924, Lee Edward Travis became one of the first persons in the world to receive a Ph.D. based on study in this new field. He headed the Iowa program through the 1930s, a period during which many of the future leaders of the field were graduate students at Iowa. Many of them went on to establish program at other major universities.

Although speech science, audiology, and other areas of study were developing in the Iowa program during the Travis era, the primary research focus was the enigmatic problem of stuttering. Work on this disorder was continued and expanded by Wendell Johnson, who guided the program through the late 1940s and early 1950s. For more than three decades, Iowa was the center of experimental and theoretical work on this speech disorder.

The importance of the program in speech pathology and audiology and the new academic discipline it represented was recognized in 1956 when it became an independent department in the College of Liberal Arts (now College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). The department expanded greatly of the next two decades. Its growth was facilitated by the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center, which was occupied by the department in 1967. Work was expanded or initiated in speech and hearing sciences, audiology, language disorders, cleft palate, neurogenic communication problems, and a number of other areas.

Throughout its history, the department has continued to reflect the concepts that represented its roots. The department's programs reflect a continuing commitment to the notion that scientific exploration of the speech and hearing processes and their disorders is critical to future progress in the assessment and treatment of speech, language, and hearing problems.