Dr. Robert M. Augustine serves as Dean of the Graduate School, Research, and International Students and Scholars, and Professor of Communication Disorders & Sciences at Eastern Illinois University (EIU). Bob earned his B.S. and M.S. in speech pathology and audiology from Illinois State University and felt extremely fortunate to have been mentored by Dr. Lloyd M. Hulit, Dr. Lillian Larson, and Dr. Walt Smoski. Bob’s first position was as a staff speech-language pathologist in Aurora, IL, where he led development of birth-through-three programs based on the models his mentors had provided while studying at ISU.
Bob completed a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders at Southern Illinois University and began a tenure-track appointment at EIU where he created a specialized language clinic for non-verbal preschool children pioneered during his doctoral training. He earned a Distinguished Teaching Award and advanced to department chair. As chair, he launched the department’s alumni symposium, supervisor recognition program, and departmental honors program. He was named a Visiting International Scholar at Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, and was invited by the State of Illinois to serve as an inaugural member of the Illinois Birth-through-Three Credentialing Board. He was also elected to the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA), to the Legislative Council of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and to the ASHA Task Force on Treatment Outcomes. He was part of a team who guided passage of the Illinois Licensure Act and was inducted as both an ISHA and ASHA Fellow.
Dr. Augustine was named Dean of the Graduate School, Research, and International Students and Scholars in 2000 at EIU. While serving as Dean, he launched numerous new award-winning initiatives, the Center for Academic Technology Support, the First Choice Graduate Programs Initiative, and the Integrative Graduate Studies Institute. In 2005 he guided the University’s first Outstanding Graduate Alumni Program, and one of the first recipients of the award was Dr. Al Bowman, former ISU President. In 2013, Bob earned a TIAA-CREF Award for launching the Literacy in Financial Education (LIFE) Center. During his tenure as Dean, Bob was elected by peers to the Board of Directors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Educational Testing Services Graduate Record Examination Board in 2012. Earlier this year, Bob was offered the positon of Senior Vice President of the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington D. C. He accepted the position and will conclude his service as Dean at Eastern Illinois University later this year. He will begin his new position on August 1.
Bob met his wife Kathryn while studying at ISU. She recently completed a 35-year career as a middle school mathematics teacher. Bob is equally proud of the achievements of his three sons, Matthew, a college professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland; Mark, an ISU graduate and a writer in Chicago; and David, also an ISU graduate and a chef in Chicago. Bob was deeply moved by the residents of his home town, Livingston, IL, who generously donated to a new scholarship for CDS majors at ISU in honor of his parents Robert J. and Frieda Augustine as a tribute to his mother’s recent passing. No summary could be complete without acknowledging grandson Julian: without doubt a future ISU hopeful!
Dr. Laura E. Berk is a distinguished professor of psychology emerita at Illinois State University, where she taught from 1969 to 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in child development and educational psychology from the University of Chicago. She has been a visiting scholar at Cornell University, UCLA, Stanford University, and the University of South Australia.
Laura has published widely on the effects of school environments on children’s development, the development and significance of children’s self-directed speech, and the role of make-believe play in cognitive and social development. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It has appeared in many prominent journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, and Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Her empirical studies have led to contributions to Psychology Today and Scientific American. She has also been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and in Parents Magazine, Wondertime, and Reader’s Digest.
Laura has served as an editor of Young Children, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology. She is a frequent contributor to edited volumes on early childhood development. She has also written articles for The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion; the Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science; and for Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology. She is coauthor of a chapter in the Sage Handbook of Play in Early Childhood,and for the forthcoming 3rd edition of the American Psychological Association’s Career Paths in Psychology: Where Your Degree Can Take You.
Laura’s books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation; Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education; Landscapes of Development: An Anthology of Readings; and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence. She is known for her college- and university-level texts: Child Development; Infants, Children, and Adolescents; Infants and Children; Development Through the Lifespan; and Exploring Lifespan Development. This past year, Adena Meyers, Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University, joined Laura as coauthor of the 8th edition of Infants, Children, and Adolescents and Infants and Children. Laura’s trade book for parents and teachers is Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference.
Laura is active in work for children’s causes. She recently completed nine years of service as a member of the national board of directors and six years as chair of the Chicago advisory board of Jumpstart. Currently, Laura serves on the governing board of the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Among Laura’s peak experiences are her continuing collaborations with faculty in the Department of Psychology, Illinois State University.
Geography - Geology
Dr. Robert G. Corbett attended Harvard College and the University of Michigan, majoring in Geology and earning a B.S. (1957), M.S. (1958), Ph.D. (1964) at the University of Michigan. Bob’s dissertation was the definitive study of the United States’ largest uranium mine at the time.
Dr. Gail A. Corbett attended the University of Michigan, majoring in Botany. She earned a B.A. (1958), M.S. (1960), and Ph.D. (1967) at the University of Michigan, specializing in plant ecology.
Bob and Gail met at a college mixer after Bob transferred from Harvard to Michigan. While graduate students, they were inducted into the Society of Sigma Xi, a scientific honorary. Bob was inducted into the honorary organization of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Gamma Epsilon and Gail into Phi Sigma. Bob and Gail were married in 1959.
In 1962, Bob was hired as Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography-Geology at West Virginia University. Gail was an adjunct in the Biology Department. In addition to teaching and research, Bob was also a Principal Investigator of the Water Research Institute.
Bob was an Associate Professor and later a full Professor in the Department of Geography-Geology at the University of Akron. He became Chairman of the Geology Department, and he also served as Coordinator of Research. As an adjunct faculty member, Gail taught Systematic Botany at Akron, and AP Biology at Western Reserve Academy. Daughter Erica graduated from Western Reserve Academy, and son Jonathan attended as a freshman.
The family moved to Normal in 1989. Bob was hired as Professor of Geology and Department Chair of Geography-Geology at Illinois State University, where he was challenged with many tasks. He first had to justify the continued existence of the Geography program, which he did successfully. Then, he established the highly regarded Master’s degree in Geohydrology. Bob next over-saw the plan to move the department from Schroeder Hall to a revamped Felmley Hall. Finally, Bob established an outline of programs funded by significant gifts from George Means. The monies received fund student awards and the Ridgely Faculty Fellowship and lecture series. Gail was appointed adjunct in the Department of Biological Sciences and taught courses in Geography. Bob and Gail taught Geography of the United States for one semester before retirement.
After retirement, Bob continued his relationship with the American Institute of Professional Geologists. Bob also served as an appointee to the State of Illinois Board for Licensing Professional Geologists. Gail has continued to enjoy Botanical pursuits with Erica, a Biology Professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Bob and Gail have conducted considerable research and have published widely.
In 1998, the family was pleased to welcome daughter-in-law Dr. Charlotte Corbett, into the family. The newest member of the family is two and one-half year old granddaughter Sarah-Jane.
Dr. Charles B. Harris is Emeritus Professor of English at Illinois State University, where he taught for 35 years (1968-2004), chairing the English Department for fifteen of those years (1979-1994).
His books include Contemporary American Novelists of the Absurd, Humor and the Recent American Novel, and Re(E)Valuations: Essays and Tributes Honoring John Barth; his articles have appeared in scholarly journals and essay collections; and he is publisher emeritus of American Book Review. He has served on several editorial boards.
Harris is past president of the Association of Departments of English (ADE), and is a member of national committees such as the ADE Ad Hoc Committee on the English Curriculum, as well state committees including the Illinois State Board of Education Language Arts Committee. In 1987, he was selected to participate in a conference on the Future of English Studies sponsored by the English Coalition at Maryland’s Aspen Institute. In 1997, the Modern Language Association honored him with the Francis Andrew March Award for Exceptional Service to the Profession of English. Harris also served on many arts-related boards such as the Board of Directors for Arts Alliance Illinois and has participated on arts panels and juries for such councils as the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently serves on the boards of two independent literary publishers.
While English Department Chairperson, the department developed its signature English Studies model. The Doctor of Arts program expanded to the nation’s largest program of its kind, becoming the department’s unique Ph.D. program in English Studies in 1997. The department also established and administered what is now the Julia N. Visor Academic Center, the English Language Institute, the current Publications Unit, the nationwide Grammar Hotline, and an internship program offering academic credit for non-teaching professional work experience. In 1986, the department became the first in the nation to offer all writing classes in computer classrooms. As director of the Unit for Contemporary Literature from 1994-2004, he attracted over a million dollars in external funding. The Unit prompted Publisher’s Weekly to dub Normal the “center for avant-garde publishing” in America.
Harris is married to former ISU English Professor Victoria Frenkel Harris, a current member of the McLean County Board. Son Gregory earned his bachelor’s in English at ISU, and a Ph.D. in English from Miami University of Ohio. He is State Director of Students First Ohio in Cincinnati. Daughter Kymberly holds a Master’s from ISU’s School of Theatre and an MFA from the Actor’s Studio Drama School in New York City. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches acting at the Lee Strassberg Theatre and Film Institute and is a member of Rogue Machine and the Skylight Theatre Company.
Deborah Hull-Walski is a Collections Officer with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Collections Program. As Collections Officer, Deb participates with, and assists, the Assistant Director for Collections in the overall planning, development, direction, and management of the Program’s activities. She also provides administrative oversight and coordination of collections management activities for the Office of Education and Outreach collections. In addition to her museum duties, Deb is a part-time faculty member with the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She teaches a graduate level course on collections management and its practical applications in the real world.
Prior to her transition to Collections Officer, Deb was Collections Manager for the NMNH Department of Anthropology for over 20 years. In 2012, Deb was given the opportunity to serve as Collections Manager for the Office of Education and Outreach. She and other staff focused on the preparation and documentation of collections for Q?rius, an interactive and experimental learning center at NMNH, allowing the public to handle and explore over 6,000 specimens and objects.
Deb received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Anthropology from the University of Colorado in 1974. She spent several years working as a field and/or laboratory archaeologist in Colorado and Arizona before moving to Mississippi to join the Tombigbee Historic Sites Project crew. On this project, Deb met ISU alumnus Bob Sonderman who encouraged her to pursue her Master’s degree in Historical Archaeology. She was accepted into the program and learned from a number of dedicated professors in both the History and Anthropology departments, such as Dr. Edward Jelks and Dr. David MacDonald.
In 1986, Deb met Frank Walski while working in San Bernardino, California and two years later they married. In marrying her best friend and greatest supporter, she gained the additional benefit of becoming a second mom to Frank’s three children (who gifted them with nine grandchildren). Deb and Frank worked together on archaeological projects in California, Arizona, and West Virginia, before settling in Maryland and beginning their Smithsonian careers in the early 1990s. Frank retired five years ago; he is spending his retirement fishing and making bird houses.
Deb wishes to extend her gratitude to her family, friends, and colleagues who continuously provide her with support, encouragement, and inspiration. Special and heartfelt thanks go to Ed and Judy Jelks who have been guiding forces for Deb from the time she arrived at ISU until the present day. Without their kindness, nurturing, and mentorship, she would not be where she was today.
Dr. William Semlak was very active in debate at Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Marquette University on a debate scholarship, participating in speech and debate. While working on his Master’s degree in Communication from Marquette, he taught Language Arts in Milwaukee. He then served as an Instructor in Communication at Marquette. Bill earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota while also teaching, serving as Director of Forensics, and conducting research on Political Communication at the University of North Dakota.
In 1974 he was hired as the Director of Forensics at ISU. He taught Political Communication and general Communication courses. Under his leadership the ISU Speech team placed 3rd at the 1976 National Forensics Association Tournament. The structure he created set the stage for ISU’s Forensics program to be one of the top programs in the country.
Bill served ISU in many positions. He directed the Honors Program, and served as Chairperson of Information Science, which changed its name to “Communication” and added the public relations major under him. He taught at ISU’s Study Abroad, and also served as acting Chairperson of the Foreign Language Department. He completed his career at ISU by serving as Director of International Studies from 1993-2001.
Bill was very active in professional organizations, such as the Midwest Forensics Association, the National Forensics Association Board of Directors, and the Association of International Educators Board of Directors, and others.
Bill published several books and book chapters on a variety of subjects, including a debate handbook, two books on conflict resolving communication, and several book chapters on the topic. He also published several book chapters on Mass Communication and debate. Working together, Bill and Marcia Escott published over 10 articles related to teaching older returning students and applied many of the concepts to our Continuing Education program.
Bill’s was also active in presenting Conflict Resolution programs to outside groups such as Illinois Power Corporation, Richland Community College District, the United States Air Force, the Government of the Republic of Mexico, and many other organizations.
Bill spent 11 years on the Unit #5 Board of Education, served on the Illinois School Board Association Board of Directors and represented our interests before many bodies including the Illinois Board of Education. Moving to ISU in 1974 was an excellent move that allowed Bill to teach in his areas of interest, develop research lines of interest, and make professional contacts that expanded his career. He was able to serve the university and community while advancing research in political communication, mass media, conflict resolution, and communication in continuing education.