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Monica Harn tapped inaugural Diane H. Shaver Professor

Monica HarnMonica Harn, chair of Lamar University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Diane H. Shaver Professorship in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Lamar University officials announced.

The Shaver Professorship is the result of a generous contribution from Diane and Don Shaver. Distinguished faculty professorships recognize faculty performance and leadership in research, creative activity and teaching.

“Don and Diane Shaver's support of the SPHS Department inspires us all to continue our mission to our community, our students and Lamar University,” Harn said. “The Diane Shaver Professorship and the sentiment attached means more than words can convey. I am honored to be named the first Diane Shaver Professor and I will continue to strive toward excellence at LU.”

“Faculty professorships play a vital role in the academic excellence of an institution and the development of exceptional faculty,” said James Marquart, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Support from generous donors like the Shavers enables us to further strengthen specific academic programs by supporting faculty members’ research, scholarship and creative activity and it also helps us recruit and retain outstanding faculty and exceptional students. We are grateful for their support.”

“Diane and Don are extremely generous to Lamar University,” said Juan Zabala, vice president for university advancement. The couple’s generosity has created new student scholarships and provided direct support for the university’s academic programs and its faculty, Zabala said.

Annual contributions will support the Shaver Professor, who will hold the distinction, title and accompanying financial support for the five-year appointment to the professorship.  The Shaver Professor will receive an annual stipend and additional research activity project awards. The awards may also be used for appropriate equipment, professional activities, travel, student assistance and related support needs.

“Diane and Don have a long and distinguished affiliation with Lamar University,” Zabala said. A cum laude graduate of Lamar University with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech in 1976, Diane (Howell) was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the Cap and Gown Society.  Her husband, Don, is also an LU alumnus, and a member of the Accounting Department Advisory Board, the Alumni Advisory Board, and a Trustee of the Lamar University Foundation.

The Shavers have been benefactors of LU since their graduation, including support of the Friends of the Arts, and with more than 20 years of financial contributions to the university they have been named to the Mirabeau Society. Their many contributions have supported Alumni Affairs, the Cardinal Club, the College of Business, the Dishman Art Museum, Men’s and Women’s Golf and the University Theatre.

Monica Harn has served as department chair since July 2013. She earned a Ph.D. in speech language pathology from Louisiana State University in 1995, and a B.S. in mass communication, media studies from McNeese State University, 1989.

Harn was promoted to associate professor in August 2009. After serving as a research professor at the University of Southern Mississippi for 10 months, she returned to LU in 2006. She joined the faculty of Lamar University in 2002 as assistant professor after serving on faculty of Western Carolina University, 1996-2002. She was a speech language pathologist for the Lockhart Independent School District, 1993-1996, and a research assistant at Louisiana State University, 1991-1993.

Harn holds licensure with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

A prolific researcher, her work appears in numerous scholarly journals, and attracts significant grant support from the state and beyond. She holds particular research interest in intervention and assessment in preschool and school age populations, development of literacy and phonological awareness, and aspects of speech in children and adolescence with autism.

Her teaching includes language-based learning disabilities in school-age children, articulation and phonological disorders, language and phonological disorders in children, and clinical processes. She has been tapped Teacher of the Year three times, once at Western Carolina University and twice at LU. She received LU’s University Merit Award in 2008, and the Ben and Julie Rogers Service Award in 2014.

Lamar University’s programs in speech and hearing provide students with a complete overview of human communication and its disorders within the context of a broad liberal arts education. Students receive cutting-edge information about the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. The curriculum includes the opportunity to observe therapy as well as participate in our LU Junior Clinician Program and LU SPHS Undergraduate Research Program. 

Graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology are accredited by the Council of Academic Accreditation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Students in the Doctor of Audiology program receive academic instruction in the scientific foundation of sound, auditory processes and behaviors and in the evaluation, diagnosis and non-medical treatment of hearing disorders. Students complete their clinical training in a variety of settings that include medical centers, public schools, special education facilities and clinics across the United States. The department is home to the LU Speech and Hearing Clinic.