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CSD Professor Wins Arts and Sciences Master’s Teaching Award
In conjunction with the award, she will address candidates at the college’s master’s convocation ceremony on Saturday, May 10, in Crouse College’s Setnor Auditorium.
“I am extremely proud of Soren Lowell, whom I’ve had the pleasure of watching develop into a successful scholar, an outstanding teacher and a valuable colleague,” says Linda Milosky, associate professor and chair of CSD. “She plays an important role in preparing master’s level clinicians for the challenges they will face in their careers. She also serves as an excellent role model for the implementation of scientifically based practices in clinical work. Her skill, enthusiasm, and rigor are to be commended.”
Gerald Greenberg, senior associate dean for academic affairs, echoes these sentiments, adding that Lowell, who joined SU’s faculty in 2008, is part of a new breed of “educational scholars” in the college.
“Professor Lowell has succeeded by dint of hard work, combined with talent—in her research, classroom teaching, mentoring and clinical consulting. She has earned the respect of her students and her colleagues, all of whom describe her as intelligent, engaging and passionate about her field,” he says.
An expert in the nature, diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders, Lowell studies the structure and function of organs and tissues involved in voice production. She also measures the acoustic properties of the voice, as well as the perception of voice quality by listeners, the latter of which gives her scholarship a decidedly transnational edge.
When not in the lab, Lowell assists students in the department’s Gebbie Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic; contributes toward the college’s new interdisciplinary neurosciences program; and volunteers for the American Speech Language Hearing Association, where she is a tireless advocate for evidence-based practice, minority student recruitment and retention, and career transition practices.
But it’s Lowell’s master’s-level teaching for which she is best known. In CSD, her name is virtually synonymous with the courses “Voice Disorders” (CSD 657) and “Dysphagia” (CSD 618), the latter of which covers the process and disorders of swallowing, often brought on by degenerative diseases and acute neurological damage. Lowell also teaches courses in speech science and in the anatomy and physiology of speech and hearing mechanisms, both of which are cross-listed as graduate and undergraduate courses and attract students from a variety of majors.
CSD Professor Beth Prieve says it’s Lowell’s genuine excitement that keeps students coming back. “She intimately engages students into the material, using unique and varied teaching approaches, assignments, hands-on exploration and videos,” Prieve says. “Her tools are creative, enticing students to explore and reason for themselves. She’s also an excellent communicator who has high standards for her students and helps them achieve those standards.”
Elisabeth Bailey ’07, G’13, a speech-language pathologist in New England, was one of Lowell’s graduate student clinicians. “Dr. Lowell is the perfect model for a teacher of communication sciences,” Bailey says. “She is a highly dedicated professional who understands her areas of expertise completely. Every time she steps in front of a class of budding speech-language pathologists, she is demonstrating her desire to impart her knowledge entirely.”
Adds Natalie Chan G’12, an Ontario-based speech-language pathologist: “She is the picture of professionalism … who brings an infectious passion for the field into the classroom. I feel prepared to meet the challenges of my field because of the tools and confidence Dr. Lowell has instilled in me.”
Lowell takes the praise in stride, preferring to put the emphasis on her students. “My hope for each of them is to cultivate an excitement and a love for voice and swallowing disorders, a strong scientific knowledge basis and ability to bridge that knowledge to clinical practice, and an awareness of the tremendous importance of continued professional learning throughout their careers,” says Lowell, who earned a Ph.D. in speech and hearing sciences from the University of Arizona. “I have high expectations for my students and find that they rise to meet and exceed my expectations with outstanding learning and engagement.”
Prior to SU, Lowell completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and taught courses at George Washington University and the University of Arizona. She also worked as a speech-language pathologist at various hospitals and medical centers in Arizona and along the East Coast.
The Excellence in Master’s Level Teaching award is administered by the college’s Office for Curriculum, Instruction and Programs.