SCSD doctoral graduate makes immediate impact on University of Northern Colorado faculty

Dr. Derek Headley (Ph.D. '13)
Dr. Derek Headley (Ph.D. ’13)

It may be less than a year since Derek Headley graduated with a doctorate from Florida State University’s School of Communication Science & Disorders, but he is already making an impact as a member of the University of Northern Colorado’s (UNC) faculty.

Headly joined UNC’s Department of Audiology and Speech Language Sciences faculty last fall and at the end of his second semester garnered Faculty Member of the Year honors awarded during the university’s Academic Excellence Week.

“It is a big motivator,” Headley said.  “As a first-year faculty member there are a lot of stressors.  You are on the tenure clock and other faculty members have lots of publications. It can be intimidating.  To earn this recognition and know I’ve had an impact on my students solidified why I went back to school to get my Ph.D.”

Award winners are nominated by UNC students and recognize excellence in mentorship and teaching.

“Although new to the faculty and to UNC, Dr. Headley has demonstrated his expertise in the areas of swallowing and adult language disorders,” a UNC graduate student wrote in one nomination of Headley. “He teaches his courses with enthusiasm and passion. He was always available to talk with students and did everything in his power to ensure their academic success in his classes. His teaching style is diverse and dynamic as he uses several different mediums in order to provide optimal learning to his students.”

Headley currently teaches courses in swallowing disorders, acquired language disorders and adult diagnostic procedures in medical speech-language pathology.  He credits his experience at Florida State for preparing him well for a career in academia.

“I cannot speak highly enough of FSU,” Headley said.  “I loved it there.  My mentor Julie Stierwalt is one-in-a-million.  She prepared me incredibly well for my position, in addition to my other advisors Richard Morris, Leonard LaPointe and Gary Heald.”

Interested in learning more about the doctorate program at the School of Communication Science & Disorders? Visit our website.