Dr. Hugh Catts starts as new Director of Communication Science & Disorders

Dr. Hugh Catts
Dr. Hugh Catts

Dr. Hugh Catts has begun as the new director of the FSU School of Communication Science & Disorders (SCSD).  He succeeds Interim Director, Julie Stierwalt, who led the School last year while continuing her research and teaching duties.  She will serve as the Associate Director during this academic year.

Catts says that “he is pleased to be joining one of the top speech-language programs in the country and looks forward to working with the faculty to advance their academic and research missions.”

Previously, Catts was the Chair for the University of Kansas (KU)’ Speech-Language-Hearing: Science and Disorders Department.  He also served as the Co-Director of the Intercampus Programs in Communicative Disorders, as well as a Principal Investigator at the Language and Reading Disorders Laboratory.  He is the Past President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

Catts’ research interests include the early identification and prevention of language-based reading disabilities.  He is currently an investigator on two projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.  One project involves a five-year study that is designed to increase the understanding of the role of language skills in reading comprehension, and knowledge of how to effectively increase reading comprehension through classroom-based instruction.  The group of researchers collaborating are from FSU, KU, Ohio State University, University of Nebraska, Lancaster University (England), and Arizona State University.

On another study, Catts and his research team at KU are examining the effectiveness of Response to Intervention as a framework for the identification of kindergarten children at risk for reading disabilities.  He will also be collaborating with colleagues in the Florida Center for Reading Research on future projects.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Catts continue the tradition of excellent leadership in Communication Science & Disorders,” FSU College of Communication & Information Dean, Dr. Larry Dennis, remarked.  “His emphasis on research will help lead our program, which is already ranked among the Top 20 in the nation, to even greater success.”

Catts completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s and doctoral degrees in speech from the University of Florida.  He holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology.