Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Illinois State University
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Current Research:

Ann R. Beck, Ph.D.

Dr. Beck has conducted research and published primarily in the area of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Her early research agenda focused on attitudes of others toward peers who use AAC. This research resulted in the creation of three scales aimed at measuring attitudes: The Assessment of Attitudes Toward AAC (for grade school children), The Assessment of Attitudes Toward AAC – 2 (for junior high and high school children), and The Professionals’ Attitudes Regarding Children who Communicate Augmentatively.
More recently she and her colleagues conducted and published treatment efficacy studies in the area of AAC. These studies have focused on PECS, Aided Language Stimulation, and the use of technology in the classroom for facilitating children’s vocabulary development.
Currently, Dr. Beck’s research interests have expanded to include graduate students’ perceptions of their academic and clinical programs and ways in which graduate students’ level of immediacy, motivation, and belief in program credibility can be positively affected.

Jean Sawyer, Ph.D.

Dr. Sawyer's research interests are in fluency disorders, specifically in the characteristics of stuttered speech and treatment efficacy. She is currently involved in a few research projects. One is examining articulation rate and response time latency in caregiver/child dyads. Another project is looking at the distribution of disfluencies in the speech of school-age children who stutter. A third project is investigating the nature of disfluencies and articulation rate in normally fluent preschool children. She is also doing a clinical investigation on the efficacy of an employment interview program for adults who stutter.

Jennifer Friberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Friberg’s research focuses on two specific areas: language development/disorders and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL). In the area of language development/disorders, Dr. Friberg has studied diagnostic accuracy of regularly administered language and (central) auditory processing assessments. Currently, she is engaged in a project to determine the concurrent validity of several language assessment tools. Additionally, Dr. Friberg is in the process of collecting data to describe the early literacy skills of preschool-aged children with autism. In the area of teaching and learning, Dr. Friberg has studied active learning practices, academic service learning, and the use of technology in undergraduate and graduate courses.

Joseph Smaldino, Ph.D.

Classroom acoustics and speech perception in noise are of special interest to Dr. Smaldino. Included in these areas is the development of measurement tools to document classroom acoustic improvement and the refinement of his Listening Inventories for Education (LIFE) designed to provide subjective information about listening and learning. Other related areas of research interest include methods to validly and reliably evaluate ease of listening in quiet and noise, and electrophysiological correlates of speech perception.

Scott Seeman, Ph.D.

Dr. Seeman’s primary research interests include areas that pertain to auditory perception in the hearing impaired. This includes psychoacoustics, speech perception in noise and amplification. Current ongoing research examines informational masking in listeners with sensorineural hearing loss, addressing the impact of frequency selectivity on stimulus uncertainty and target-masker similarity. I am also involved in student projects related to speech and pure tone audiometry, hearing conservation, ABR testing, and listening difficulty for normal hearing children in the classroom.

Heidi Harbers, Ph.D.

Dr. Harbers research interests focus on phonological awareness and phonological processing skills in individuals with and without communication disorders. Additional research areas include attitudes toward dialects.

Current studies include:

Examining the phonological processing skills before and after enrollment in a Phonetics class.

Examining the phonological processing skills of children and adults who stutter.

Examining how sound errors (obligatory, compensatory, development) of children with repaired cleft palate are reflected in their phonetic spellings.

SoTL research:

Immediacy issues -- how instructor behaviors are defined by students. Can immediacy be taught?

Lindsay Bondurant, Ph.D.

Dr. Bondurant has two primary research interests. First, she isinterested in ways to provide hearing healthcare to underserved populations. In particular, she isinvestigating applications of new technology and telehealth opportunities to provide remote audiological evaluations and treatment for people who might not otherwise have their hearing loss addressed. Second, she isinterested in the development of school readiness skills in children with hearing loss. Specifically, she explores differences in how children with hearing loss develop self-regulation skills compared to children without hearing loss.