UMass Amherst Graduate Dean, Charlena Seymour, Addresses South African Group

AMHERST, Mass. - Charlena Seymour, dean of the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts and president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), recently addressed the South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association at its general meeting in Johannesburg.

"The opportunity to exchange information, share perspectives on future trends in audiology and speech-language pathology issues, and to uncover opportunities to work together was truly monumental," says Seymour.

Seymour was an invited guest of the South African association, and is the first ASHA president to address that organization. In her presentation, titled "The ASHA Way: Growth Through Standards," Seymour discussed health care in the United States as well as the professional and certification functions of ASHA. She emphasized the importance of standard-setting as a key role for any association and discussed how ASHA’s standards program has evolved, how it works today, and where it is heading in the future.

While in South Africa, Seymour also addressed students and faculty at the University of Cape Town and at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town; the University of Durban-Westville in Durban; and Pretoria University and Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. Additionally, Seymour visited various nursery schools, community-based clinics, and hospitals throughout South Africa.

Prior to her visit to South Africa, Seymour participated in a White House ceremony in early June to witness the signing by President Clinton of the recently reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Seymour joined the University’s faculty in the department of communication disorders in 1971 and later served as department chair for eight years. She was named graduate dean in 1994.

Before becoming president of ASHA, Seymour was vice president for quality of service at ASHA and chair of ASHA’s board of division coordinators. She is a Fellow of ASHA and has also been recognized by the Massachusetts State Speech-Language-Hearing Association.