Jeannene M. Ward-Lonergan, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the University of the Pacific. Dr. Ward-Lonergan was originally a special education teacher and often spent time teaching children who had difficulty speaking, listening, reading, and writing. After taking some post-baccalaureate courses, she became very interested in speech-language pathology and decided to pursue a career in this field, which is a profession that she absolutely loves.
“What gives me motivation to continue teaching is working with students who are enthusiastic about the profession and research,” said Dr. Ward-Lonergan. “There is much important work to be done and so many questions that need to be answered in our field. This is what keeps me going,” she added.
Dr. Ward-Lonergan has served as a faculty advisor to many graduate students conducting research. Aside from her own research interests in expository discourse and literacy development and disorders, she helps guide her graduate students in multicultural research. Many of these investigations are among the few multicultural studies conducted on specific topics in the field of speech-language pathology, and the results have been presented at national and state conventions. For example, one of her advisees, Mary Xiong ’12, conducted research on the “Earliest Words Produced and Understood by Bilingual Hmong/English Speaking Infants/Toddlers”. No other known study is available related to this topic, and the results of this study have very important clinical implications for speech/language assessment and intervention. Another advisee, Norma Gonzalez ’11, surveyed over 470 speech-language pathologists in California to assess perceptions of their training and confidence levels in serving patients from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
In the future, she plans to expand her research program and publish additional articles. She also plans to maintain active involvement in her students’ research projects and to continually strive for excellence in teaching.
“I feel very fortunate to be here at Pacific because the students are wonderful, and there is a cohesive group of faculty and staff in my department. I look forward to continuing to enhance my research and teaching at Pacific for many years to come.” commented Dr. Ward-Lonergan.
Dr. Ward-Lonergan graduated from Saint Joseph College with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984. She later earned her Master of Science degree from Boston University in 1989 and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Connecticut in 1995. She has been a faculty member at University of the Pacific since 1999. Recently, Dr. Ward-Lonergan was promoted to full professor. She currently resides in Sacramento with her husband and two children. She enjoys working at the University of the Pacific because of its student-centered environment and the positive interactions between the faculty and the students. Her hobbies include swimming, snow-skiing, dancing, and reading. She also enjoys theater and travel.