Dr. Kathy Jakielski, Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been named the inaugural Florence C. and Dr. John E. Wertz Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Although this endowed professorship is not tied to a specific department, meaning faculty in all of Augustana’s academic departments will be eligible to hold the Wertz Chair, it is fitting that the inaugural Wertz Professor is a member of Augustana’s Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty.
Throughout her career as a speech-language pathologist, Florence Wertz was committed to giving children with communication impairments a voice. Likewise, Jakielski will use funds provided by the Wertz Chair to provide new opportunities for students in Augustana’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders -- students who will carry this important work forward in their own careers.
Mrs. Florence Wertz is a 1944 graduate of Augustana College who served for 30 years as a speech-language pathologist at the Michael Dowling School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working with physically disabled and developmentally delayed children whose impairments posed great challenges to communication.
“I just hope I can honor her name by the work that I do,” said Jakielski on being named the inaugural Wertz Professor. Dr. Jakielski spent the first decade of her career as a clinician, including three years in public schools, before earning her doctorate from the University of Texas. Dr. Jakielski will use funding provided by the Wertz Chair to expand her ongoing research in the acquisition of speech in typically and atypically developing children. Augustana students majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders have collaborated with Dr. Jakielski and presented research at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association national conference consecutively for each of the last ten years. This remarkable achievement has contributed to the department’s outstanding graduate school acceptance rate of 97.6%.
Florence Wertz and members of her family visited campus last weekend for a tour of Augustana’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a dinner at Augustana’s Dahl President’s Home.