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Vanderbilt Announces New Department Chair: Interview with Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD

Vanderbilt Announces New Department Chair: Interview with Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD

August 06, 2009 Interviews

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, speaks with Dr. Tharpe about her new position at Vanderbilt’s Bill Wilkerson Center, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in Nashville, Tennessee.

Academy: Hi, Anne Marie. It’s always great to chat with you, but today it’s an even bigger joy as you’ve just been named the chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and associate director of Vanderbilt’s Bill Wilkerson Center. Congratulations!

Tharpe: Hi, Doug. Thank you. Yes, they made the official announcement this morning. It really is an honor to be named Chair. I’m very much looking forward to the challenges and opportunities associated with maintaining the rich history and culture of the Bill Wilkerson Center, while continuing to grow and branch out into the medical center and the community and the profession. As you know, Doug, we’ve just moved a few years ago onto the medical center campus and we now are housed with the other part of our center, the department of otolaryngology. So we have an excellent opportunity for collaborative research, integrated health care and outstanding academic training.

Academy: Anne Marie, I know the university’s been looking for a new chair since Dr. Bess announced he’d be stepping down a year or two ago…and it seems that all they had to do was look in their backyard—you’ve been there some 25 years?

Tharpe: Well, yes, I actually started here as a student in 1978 and my role here has been changing and evolving ever since.

Academy: I should mention the Bill Wilkerson Center is the top-rated audiology program in the nation—and that really is a tribute to the academic and clinical excellence to all of you on the faculty.

Tharpe: Yes, we’ve been consistently highly rated, and that’s because we have an extraordinary and talented faculty—and if I may say so—some of the best students in the profession!

Academy: Anne Marie, as far as the audiology faculty, can you please tell me who’s there and what their areas of expertise are?

Tharpe: Absolutely. We have a stellar faculty. For sake of brevity, I will just list our full-time audiology faculty. Fred Bess (hearing loss in children) will remain on faculty in addition to Todd Ricketts, William Dickinson and Gus Mueller (hearing technology), Wesley Grantham and Ben Hornsby (psychoacoustics), Linda Hood (auditory physiology), Gary Jacobson and Devin McCaslin (vestibular assessment and management), Tamala Bradham (pediatric rehabilitation), Gene Bratt (adult hearing disorders), Mary Sue Fino-Szumski (audiology practice management), Troy Hackett (auditory neuroscience), Alexandra Key (psychophysiology), Daniel Ashmead (auditory motion), Daniel Polley (auditory neuroplasticity), and Mark Wallace (multisensory research). We also have a number of outstanding part-time faculty who bring a lot to our programs.

Academy: What about the quantity of students in the AuD program?

Tharpe: We have 43 students enrolled in the AuD program and 17 PhD students with a focus in hearing.

Academy: Okay, well Anne Marie, I know you don’t have much time at the moment, but I want to again extend my very best personal congratulations and best wishes to you, the students and the faculty and of course to the Bill Wilkerson search committee for their fine work and their extraordinary choice! Good Luck in your new position, Anne Marie.

Tharpe: Thanks, Doug. All of us here appreciate you and the Academy taking the time to make this announcement for us.

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor for the American Academy of Audiology.

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