VERMILLION, S.D. – Solveig Sperati Korte, an instructor in the University of South Dakota Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, is the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Instructor Award presented by the College of Arts & Sciences.
Korte joined USD in 1995 and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses as well as supervised students in the department’s speech clinic. Her favorite class to teach is phonetics, which has interested her from a young age. “I remember in eighth grade doing a project on different accents and pronunciations,” she said. “I’ve always found that fascinating.”
After majoring in sociology and religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Korte worked as an activities director at a senior center, where she became intrigued by the speech problems she witnessed among the elderly population. Her interest spurred her to enroll in graduate school and earn her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Ohio University in 1979. She has worked in the field ever since.
Aside from teaching and supervising the clinical experiences of students at USD, Korte said she takes pride in her efforts to advise and mentor undergraduate students as they work toward completing the requirements for graduation and while they apply to graduate school in speech-language pathology or audiology. Guiding students through the maze of licensures, certifications and other professional issues in these fields is a job Korte enjoys. “Advising students is not just about meeting requirements but thinking about other things that will help them in the future,” she said.
Korte said she hopes her enthusiasm for her work and the field of speech-language pathology influences her students during their studies and clinical experiences.
“I try to generate passion in the students for our profession,” she said. “I do that in my classes as well as in the clinic while guiding them and sharing experiences that I have had. I don’t think many people would say that I am not passionate about what I do.”
The Outstanding Instructor Award is given annually to a faculty member in the College of Arts & Sciences who demonstrates outstanding classroom teaching and mentoring of students. The winner receives a cash prize, made possible through an annual gift of the Johnson family. Mary Elizabeth Johnson is a USD graduate in mass communication who served as chaplain at the Mayo Clinic for over three decades, working closely with women experiencing health issues and loss. Johnson completed graduate work at Seattle University and served as an adjunct member of the Mayo Medical School.