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Scenes from the Department of Communicative Disorders

Dana Kovarsky

Dr. Dana Kovarsky is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communicative Disorders where he teaches courses in language and culture, language development, research methods, and the structural analysis of language. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin.

As an ethnographer of communication disorders, his research has focused primarily on the analysis of clinical discourse. Over the years, his work has been funded by the United States Department of Education and other sources.

His first co-edited book, Constructing (In)competence: Disabling Evaluations in Clinical and Social Interaction, appeared in 1999, and his second, Diagnosis as Cultural Practice, was published in 2005. He has published numerous articles, served as a guest editor for topical issues of selected journals, and presented his work in national and international venues.

He is currently Co-Director of the Gateway Café, a community-based project that provides social support to adults with traumatic brain injury.

Selected Publications

Guest Editorships:
Simmons-Mackie, N., & Kovarsky, D. (2009). Engagement in clinical practice. Seminars in Speech and Language, 30, (1), 1-56.

Kovarsky, D. (2007). Explorations in clinical discourse. Topics in Language Disorders, 27, (1), 1-88.

Kovarsky, D. (2007). The construction of identity in discourses of illness. Communication and Medicine, 4, (1), 51-115.

Kovarsky, D. (2001). Alternative measures for evaluating treatment outcomes. Topics in Language Disorders, 22, (1), 1-95.

Kovarsky, D., Curran, M., & Zobel Nichols, N. (2009). Laughter and communicative engagement in interaction. Seminars in Speech and Language, 30, (1), 27-36.

Kovarsky, D. (2008). Representing voices from the life-world in evidence-based practice. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 43, 47-57.

Kovarsky, D., Shaw, A., & Adingono-Smith, M. (2007). The construction of identity during group therapy among adults with traumatic brain injury. Communication and Medicine, 4,(1), 53-66.

Kovarsky, D., Kurtzer-White, E., & Maxwell, M. (2004). Stories of origin in the identification of hearing loss among neonates. Seminars in Hearing, 25, (4), 319-332.

Kovarsky, D., Culatta, B., Franklin, A., & Theadore, G. (2001). "Communicative participation" as a way of facilitating and ascertaining communicative outcomes. Topics in Language Disorders, 21, (4), 1-20.

Courses Taught
  • CMD 274 Communication Processes
  • CMD 375 Language Development
  • CMD 492 Special Problems
  • CMD 493 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Communicative Disorders
  • CMD 504 Research Methods
  • CMD 598 Special Problems


The Department of Communicative Disorders is pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Crais, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will be our first guest speaker of the 2015-2016 academic year. The title of her talk is "Intervention for Children from Birth to Five with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Please join us.
Her talk will take place on Monday, October 5th from 7-9 pm in CBLS 100.


Congratulations are in order to our graduates


Welcome to new and returning students


Orientation details for graduate students announced


New professor joins faculty in CMD


M.S. program re-accreditation details


Leslie Mahler featured as one of URI's Big Thinkers