Professor Amanda Stead received the 2013 Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching by the Oregon Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
“I was always drawn to work with people,” said Stead when asked about her work. “So language and communication seemed like a really good fit.”
Stead is one of the first faculty members to be a part of Pacific’s communication and science disorders program. The department, which is still in its early years at Pacific and housed in Berglund Hall, combines classroom and hands-on learning, which Stead said is more important for the students pursuing a clinical degree.
These experiences are provided to students by visiting retirement communities and more specifically, areas of the living facilities that house residents battling with memory disorders. These teachings, said Stead, are one of the reasons why her students nominated her for the award.
Stead explained that in addition to being a good instructor, the award shows that at Pacific there’s great pride, for the faculty because they do not have the mentality of other institutions where the instructors think they are teachers, not researchers. She was given the opportunity to embody both sides at Pacific by simultaneously teaching CSD and receiving a $50,000 grant to further study Alzheimer’s disease.
“I want to continue to offer the most innovative program in the Northwest or the country,” said Stead. And for her, that includes being able to complete her research and learning more alongside her students.
“It makes it almost a multicultural class” explained Stead of this relationship with students. “You’re reminded that people aren’t just students. And you really feel like you’re in it together.”
But being an instructor, Stead still obviously wants her students to walk away from her class better informed about a large section of today’s population that CSD greatly applies to.
“We have a population that is moving largely to 65 and older,” said Stead. She said she is determined to work alongside students and in her own research to pinpoint why so many of the disorders within this study are “like the roll of a dice.”