‘The Perfect Fit For Me'


03/23/2017

When we lose the ability to formulate words, we can feel as though we have lost a connection with the rest of humanity.

St. Ambrose University's Master of Speech-Language Pathology (MSLP) program seeks to mitigate that loss. Founded in 2009, the MSLP program is dedicated to assisting people for whom the ability to communicate has been lost or impaired. SAU Associate Professor Darci Becker, PhD, is one of the program's founding faculty members as well as a passionate and dedicated practitioner.

Working part-time at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Becker specializes in the care of patients with acquired cognitive and language disorders, motor speech disorders, dysphagia and voice and resonance disorders. She works primarily with older patients with impaired speech and language function as the result of diagnoses such as stroke, dementia and traumatic head injuries.

"Growing up, I had a tremendous relationship with my grandparents," Becker said, "so I gravitated toward that population."

Becker's approach to speech-language pathology is a hybrid of practical, real-world experience, teaching and clinical applications. She spends most of her work week teaching, but also spends one day a week at Genesis, working directly with patients with speech, language, communication and swallowing issues. In a truly remarkable manner, she has brought the classroom to the clinic and the clinic to the classroom. Her students and patients share equally in the result.

"My teaching is so intricately woven in with my daily practice," Becker said. "I constantly find myself talking about something in class and then sitting down with a patient who fits perfectly with what I said in class."

Not only does that combination allow Becker to meld class and clinic, it also allows her to instill in her students something greater.

"What I try to do as much as anything is to make the student more empathetic and sympathetic," Becker said. "I try to put them in the shoes of the patient and help them understand what it means to lose the ability to communicate."

That empathy extends to the St. Ambrose University Rite Care Clinic, an on-campus speech-language pathology clinic directly associated with the MSLP program. Funded, in part, by the Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation, the Rite Care Clinic fills a gap for patients who have needs beyond those covered by insurance.

"It's always packed with a waiting list and, thanks to the support of Scottish Rite and St. Ambrose University, there is no charge for services," Becker said.

Becker credits the fundamental culture of St. Ambrose with creating an environment in which she thrives.

"I love what I do," Becker said. "If all I wanted to do was high-end research, I'd be somewhere else. St. Ambrose values teaching, scholarship and service. This is the perfect fit for me. I am encouraged to serve, I am encouraged to remain clinically active and I am encouraged to share all of it in the classroom with my students. I really have the best of three worlds."

Share This Story

For Alumni | News
Fighting Bee

You can now order single apparel items through Follett, the company that manages the SAU Bookstore.

Read More

News
Photo of Kate Hennessy

Kate Hennessy, best-selling author and the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, a prominent Catholic social justice advocate who is under consideration for canonization, will speak Sept. 27 at St. Ambrose University.

Read More

Institutional-Campus | News
Clock Image

National ranking publications continue to list SAU among the top universities in the Midwest region, and the Doctor of Business Administration program was recently ranked in the top 10 in the United States.

Read More

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!