I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Governors State University (GSU). I am also a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist and a member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and Illinois Speech-Language and Hearing Association. I have more than 20 years of clinical experience in pediatric communication disorders. My clinical focus has been language disorders, reading disabilities, speech sound disorders, and culturally responsive practices in school-based populations (ages 3-21).
I absolutely love teaching at GSU. The student population here is vibrant and engaging. I take great pleasure in being a part of a community of learners who are diverse along every metric – race, ethnicity, language community, age, socioeconomic background, military veteran, first-generation college student, and more. I believe in excellence in scholarship and am committed to helping students develop into their best academic and professional selves as they pursue a higher education.
I currently teach Language Disorders: Later Stages and Speech Sound Disorders in Children in the graduate program in Communication Disorders. In addition to teaching, I am also lead faculty for a community-based practicum course for our graduate students, Foundations of Clinical Education. In that course, I, along with a team of CDIS faculty collaborators, supervise graduate students in prevention, evaluation and treatment experiences with early childhood, school-age, and adult clients in community-based settings. I have also taught a variety of other courses in the Department of Communication Disorders at GSU including Anatomy & Physiology of Speech and Hearing and Language Development: Later Stages in the undergraduate program and Advanced Assessment and Intervention and Independent Studies of research and clinical topics in the graduate program. I use a variety of pedagogical approaches, including engaged class discussion, collaborative group work, interactive technologies, applied projects and critical analysis of case studies to facilitate students’ mastery of core knowledge and skills required for clinical practice in speech-language pathology.
My research interests are deeply informed by my experiences as a school-based speech-language pathologist. Through my work on multidisciplinary teams, I learned that diagnosis of more subjective disabilities such as language and learning disabilities was affected by many factors. Poor assessment practices, inadequate instruction, knowledge and beliefs about child development, linguistic diversity, availability of school resources and student behavior played as vital a role as interpretation of objective evaluation data in school-based diagnosis of disability. These experiences helped me to begin the process of asking and answering questions about language, culture, and disability.
My current research focuses on three areas of inquiry: (1) development of language and literacy profiles of African-American school-age children, (2) the identification of evidence-based language interventions for school-age children and adolescents with language and reading disabilities, and (3) collaborative models for service delivery and clinical supervision in community-based settings. My ultimate goal is to provide rich, linguistic information that that can be used to develop evidence-based assessment methods and intervention programs for older school-age children and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The most exciting part of my position at GSU is being afforded the opportunity to integrate my research interests and clinical work into teaching and mentoring experiences that help students develop into deep thinkers prepared to solve the complex needs of the human experience. In my time at GSU, I’ve been able to develop community partnerships that have provided students with clinical experiences directly connected to populations speech-language pathologists serve. In 2017, I became a faculty leader with GSU’s Study Abroad program. Since that time, I have served as a faculty leader on international service-learning experiences to Nicaragua, Panama, and Ghana. In collaboration with my faculty collaborators, I have worked with undergraduate and graduate students from across the university to serve in Public Health Brigades through the Global Brigades program. On these Brigades, students and faculty help construct hygiene units and potable water systems in rural communities to improve sanitation and water infrastructure and improve health outcomes for community members. In addition, the students provide health educational programs in local schools and with beneficiary families. Instruction focuses on helping students to develop cultural competence and understand family and community strengths and needs from a global perspective. These innovative and collaborative teaching and learning practices that serve the wider local and global community are central to the mission of GSU.
I look forward to continuing to develop learning, research, and clinical experiences that help students develop into competent and confident professionals focused on improving the lives of their future patients, clients, and students and having great impact in their work and community environments.
Research in Progress
2020 – Present Co-Investigators. Horton, R., Bing, N., & Johnson, V. Pilot project investigating language and literacy development in African-American children with a focus on identifying and describing factors that influence both language and literacy development. This project, Teaching and Assessing Language Knowledge for Improved Literacy Outcomes (TALK-ILO), is in the currently in the stage of data collection at partner sites in the Southland Chicago area.
Horton, R., Johnson, V., & Koonce, N.M. (2018). From here to there and back again: Re-examining the literature on African American children’s language. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 3 (SIG 14), 57-70.
Johnson, V., & Koonce, N.M. (2018). Language sampling considerations for AAE Speakers: A patterns- and systems-based approach. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 3 (SIG 3), 36-42.
Koonce, N.M. (2015). When it comes to explaining: A preliminary investigation of the expository language skills of African American school age children. Topics in Language Disorders, 35(1), 76-89.
Scott, C.M., & Koonce, N.M. (2013). Syntactic contributions to literacy learning. In C.A. Stone, E. Silliman, & G. Wallach (Eds.), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
Koonce, N.M., & Jones, V. On the outside looking in: The underrepresentation of African American students with learning disabilities in special education reading research. Manuscript in preparation.
Koonce, N.M. Structural elements in the narratives of African American school-age children. Manuscript in preparation.
Dr. Bing's Full CV