Governors State lecturer receives ISHA Award
Dr. Leslie Guca, a Senior University Lecturer of Communication Disorders (CDIS) at Governors State University (GovState), proves time and again her dedication and passion to the field of communication disorders, and her commitment is being recognized this year with the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA) Exemplary Practice Award.
“I’m absolutely humbled to receive this award. Every speech pathologist and audiologist pours their heart into their work. It’s what we do,” said Guca. “To be recognized by ISHA for doing what I love is such an amazing feeling.”
The Exemplary Practice Award recognizes exceptional clinical-based, school-based, academic, research, and/or leadership practices by Illinois licensed speech-language pathologists or audiologists.
Some of Guca’s colleagues at GovState recognized this quality in her, both in her capacity as a GovState faculty member and practicing audiologist/speech-language pathologist, and nominated her for the award.
“As part of an interdisciplinary team with Dr. Guca, the level of communication and problem-solving skills stood out,” said Dr. Caren Schranz, Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. “She sought input from others, co-treated when warranted, developed home programs with others and found community resources, all for the best interest of the child and family.”
Fellow CDIS professor, Dr. Danielle Osmelak, noted Guca’s rare credential, dual certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. In 2020, Guca was one of only 26 dually certified audiologists/speech-language pathologists in Illinois and nationally, she was one of only 749 who held dual certification of 199,479 total speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
“Dr. Guca’s ability to wear both her speech-language pathologist and audiologist hats helps support a broader and more holistic lens toward prevention, collaboration, and interprofessional care,” says Osmelak.
Both Schranz and Osmelak also highlighted Guca’s willingness to go above and beyond for her students. Guca has been known to keep her course content current and evidence-based, adjusting her mode of instruction as needed to ensure every student understands and even offering weekend and evening study and tutoring sessions.
Guca’s not stopping there, saying she would love to explore more community outreach.
“I would like to work with area high school students to teach them about our profession, get them excited about science, and let them know they CAN do it,” said Guca. “Educating the population, especially the teens and young adults, about noise and its effects in hearing is another area I would like to explore. Hearing loss caused by noise is 100% preventable.”
Guca, along with other honors recipients, will be formally recognized on Saturday, Feb. 10 at ISHA’s Scholarship Fundraiser/Honors Breakfast/Keynote Speaker event during their 64th Annual Convention.