About Us

Front view of the speech and Hearing Science building

Our Mission

The research, teaching, and service programs of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science are committed to further understanding of the entire spectrum of communication. The undergraduate curriculum offers a broad background in the theoretical, basic, and applied aspects of biological, behavioral, linguistic, and social foundations of human communication, to educate students who intend to pursue careers and/or graduate studies in many fields related to communication, health, and medicine. The graduate program focuses on research and clinical education in communication, its disabilities, and the treatment and prevention of communicative disabilities. To these ends, the department:

  1. educates the students of the state, nation, and world regarding the nature of communication and communication differences and disabilities;
  2. investigates health, development and aging, and disability related to speech, language, deglutition, and hearing across the life span;
  3. develops methods to prevent, identify, assess, and treat disabilities of human communication;
  4. prepares students to investigate communication and its disabilities as scientists and educators, and
  5. prepares students to prevent and treat communicative disabilities as speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

Our History

Established in 1973 within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Speech and Hearing Science went through several name changes before finally becoming part of the College of Applied Health Sciences in 1991.

The University of Illinois Speech Clinic began as an outreach program in a janitor's mop closet in Lincoln Hall in 1938. Dr. Severina Nelson could find no other space to conduct her speech therapy. Two years later, with the title of director of the speech clinic and a $2,000 grant, Dr. Nelson moved the clinic to a spacious new office in Gregory Hall. The Speech and Hearing Clinic was later housed in the Lorado Taft House where it remained until it moved to its present building in 1975. In 2007, the Speech-Language Pathology Clinic moved to a new, expanded, state-of-the-art facility located in Research Park. The Audiology Clinic and the Department of Speech and Hearing Science remain in the Speech and Hearing Science building.

Our Programs

Recognizing the need for trained clinicians, Dr. Nelson organized a training program for speech therapists by establishing a four-year curriculum and a fifth year of graduate study. The Department now offers several graduate study programs. In 2004, the Department began offering doctoral-level clinical professional training.

Our Research and Faculty

Research in the department is supported by grants from leading funding agencies including:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Defense.

Through their own research and through involvement in the field serving as members of journal editorial boards, on national review panels, and on professional committees, our professors bring leading-edge knowledge and expertise to their classrooms and laboratories. Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to become involved with the brightest scholars pursuing complex research problems.

Our Strategic Plan

View the department's strategic plan for 2013-2017.