By: Dan Tullos, PhD, CCC-SLP
I came to Harding as a freshman in August 1969 with no idea what I wanted to have as my major. During the next four years, I tried almost every major but couldn’t make up my mind. I finally settled on “Speech Therapy”. Dr. Richard Walker brought his clinical services to Harding in 1953, making our program one of the oldest programs in the United States. It just so happens that I met someone named Beckie Oldroyd (who later became Dr. Weaver) in the registration line that freshman year. Our classes were scattered all over campus, but the heart of “Speech Therapy” consisted of two tiny rooms which included a therapy room, Dr. Walker’s office and the audiometric booth on the 3rd floor of the Administration building.
From Harding, I continued on to the University of Mississippi to obtain my M.C.D. in Communicative Disorders. After working for a year as a Diagnostician with the Regional Medical Program based at Jenkin’s Children’s Center in Pine Bluff, AR, I went to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I absolutely loved working in Canada, but, when Dr. Ulrey offered me a position here in 1979, I decided to come back to Arkansas. At that time the CSD Program consisted of Dr. Richard Walker and myself.
I am now nearing the end of 39 years as a faculty member here at Harding University. Although I have always taught Harding’s speech-language pathology courses (with a smattering of Speech Communication classes) , I have been a faculty member in the Speech Department, the Communication Department, then I was a part of the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Department of the short-lived College of Communication, and finally as the Chair of CSD in the College of Allied Health.
When I came to Harding in 1979, the Clinic was located in the back of the Ganus Building, which had been remodeled from the old student center several years earlier. We were a major in the Speech Department and we shared the building with the other Speech majors including Theater, Oral Communication and Mass Communication. The speech therapy rooms were approximately 5’ X 8’ with dark paneling and incandescent lighting and the materials room was a 3’ closet. As the only supervisor for the onsite clinic, therapy was scheduled whenever I was not teaching. In addition, we scheduled Student Speech and Hearing Association (SSHA) meetings, parent groups, fluency groups, and stroke groups in the evenings. At that time, overtime was not even open for discussion.
CSD was always on the lookout for adventure. We traveled to the Mid-South Conference in Memphis every spring and the ArkSHA Convention every fall. We lobbied at the Arkansas State Capitol for newborn infant hearing screening, graduate level licensure, regulation for support personnel and other legislative issues. We also took undergraduate students to the ASHA Convention. The SSHA (later known as HUSSHA) had Halloween, Christmas, and Easter parties for the Clinic and participated in everything they possibly could.
Dr. Weaver returned in 1985 as I headed away to work on my Ph.D. at Penn State and remained when I returned in January 1988. At that point, she became the Clinic Director and I became the Program Director. Dr. Walker continued as the primary upper-level lecturer. In 1987, I attended the Council of Graduate Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders as an observer because these were the programs where our undergraduates needed to go for graduate school. That first visit evolved into me being asked to become the “spokesman to the Council” for undergraduate education issues. The Council approached us and asked if Harding University would join if the name (and by-laws) were changed and we became the first undergraduate-only program to become a member of the new Council of Academic Programs in CSD.
I had the opportunity to be a part of the development of our graduate program and the development of the HIZ-Path (Harding in Zambia-Speech-Language Pathology) and saw us through our first two-accreditation cycles. I honestly believe that we have one of the truly outstanding programs in the country and I am looking forward to become an observer as the faculty and staff continues with this wonderful mission.