ultoday.com interviews Dr. Jack Damico, a world-renowned scholar, and the architect of the rapidly-growing undergraduate, graduate, and research programs in the UL Department of Communicative Disorders.

Dr. Damico is a Fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association, and is the author or editor of more than 115 publications including Limiting Bias in the Assessment of Bilingual Students (1991) and Multicultural Language Intervention (1992) with Else Hamayan, Whole Language for Special Needs Children (1992), Professional Discourse in Clinical and Educational Contexts (1993) with Dana Kovarsky and Madeline Maxwell, Childhood Language Disorders (1996) with Michael Smith, Special Education Considerations for English Language Learners (2007) with Else Hamayan, Barb Marler, and Cristina Sanchez-Lopez, and Clinical Aphasiology (2007) with Martin Ball.

He has served as Editor for the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association Journal and has served as an associate editor/reviewer/editorial consultant for 14 peer-reviewed professional journals. One of his articles, "The establishment of a dominant interpretive framework in language intervention" (1997) coauthored with Sandra Damico received the 1997 Editor's Award from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. In 1999 Damico received the Ruth Beckey Irwin Best Clinical Practices Award from The Ohio State University "in recognition of scholarly contributions to promote science to best clinical practices in Speech-Language Pathology." He was one of a handful of faculty awarded under the Governor's Departmental Excellence Through Faculty Excellence grants under the auspices of the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education.

How did you end up at UL?

I was raised in Alexandria LA, where I was graduated from Menard High School. I got my undergraduate degree at Northwestern State University, then went to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences for my master's in Communicative Disorders. I earned my PhD in Linguistics from the University of New Mexico.

My first teaching job was an appointment at LSU in Communicative Disorders and Linguistics. I got early tenure there, and so I was already tenured when I came to UL. Around 1990, I had decided to leave LSU because they weren't moving in directions I wanted to go.

When I came to UL, I had several offers, but I chose UL for a number of reasons. First, Mrs. Hawthorne's gift and the Eminent Scholar's Chair were very attractive, because they would let me build the UL program, from a strong regional program to one of national prominence. Second, UL was committed to establishing a doctoral program in the field, and that really interested me. Third, because I'm from Louisiana, that played a big role in my deciding to make a commitment to stay in my home state; we lose so much of our talent to other states and to other schools. Finally, [then-Vice President for Academic Affairs] Gary Marotta showed me a vision for the Department and for the University that I bought into. I have been very happy with my decision.