Faculty Profile for Dr. Amy Schwarz

profile photo for Dr. Amy Schwarz
Dr. Amy Schwarz
Associate Professor — Communication Disorders
WILW 264
phone: (512) 716-2636

Biography Section

Biography and Education

I was raised in Houston, Texas. Upon graduation from high school, I attended college at the University of Oklahoma where I earned a Bachelors of Arts in Letters. Upon graduation from my undergraduate studies, I worked as a commercial real estate appraiser and underwriter for nine years in Houston and Austin. In the spring of 1997, I began a Masters of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, specializing in Deaf Education, at the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation and completion of my teaching certification, I worked for Austin Independent School Districts' Regional Day School for the Deaf in a total communication classroom (speech, English sign code, picture communication) for children in kindergarten through second grade. In the fall of 2006, I began doctoral study in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas specializing in Child Language Development and Disorders. I completed requirements for my license in Speech Language Pathology in 2008 and my doctoral degree in August 2013. Texas State University hired me as a lecturer faculty member in the fall 2013 and as a tenure-track faculty member in the fall 2014.

Teaching Interests

I very much enjoy teaching and interacting with both undergraduate and graduate students. In all my classes, I try to help the students apply and synthesize the information through hands-on learning activities and real life clinical problems presented in case studies.

Research Interests

My two lines of research are (1) language and learning intervention practices and (2) the effects of the social, cultural, and linguistic biases of CDIS professionals and students on clinical-decision making. Under the language and learning intervention practices line of research, I have two sublines. The first subline focuses on read-aloud practices with prereaders across sub-specialties of educators. In one set of studies, I apply a methodology adapted from the field of sensory and perception research (e.g., wine tasting, olive oil tasting, salt tasting). In my application of this methodology, a panel of expert clinicians or teachers sort storybooks into ranked stacks based on how difficult they think the storybooks would be for prereaders at the preschool-language-level to understand when the books are read aloud to them. Expert clinicians of hearing prereaders and teachers of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing prereaders described each stack globally as well as why they assigned each storybook to a particular stack. From transcriptions of the explanations, I derive a glossary of book characteristics using content analysis. I create a difficulty-level scale using a multivariate analysis technique that simultaneously analyzes book sorts and glossary terms. These empirically derived difficulty-level systems provide an evidence-based tool that new professionals and parents can use to select storybooks. In the second set of studies, I have reported the read-aloud goals, read-aloud behaviors, and use of academic language during read alouds of bilingual speech language pathologists and teachers of D/deaf and hard-of-hearing prereaders. I am currently collecting data on large scale project (n = 440 educators) that compares how much academic language educators across 11 sub-specialties use during read alouds with students at the preschool language level.

In my second subline under the language and learning intervention practices line of research, I focus on improving existing assessment and intervention strategies for young children who are members of a monolingual English population and from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. For example, in early language intervention, speech language pathologists provide clinical populations with multiple examples of language targets, often including familiar toys during the sessions. This focused stimulation strategy is highly effective for nouns, but significantly less effective for verbs. I draw on cognitive theories of learning to try and enhance focused stimulation’s effectiveness. In a recent publication, I found that by selecting toys with similar shapes to use in language therapy, SLPs can dramatically increase the number of verbs typically-developing toddlers acquire in a short intervention. In future studies, I will test whether clinical populations with strong visual-spatial skills experience a similar boost in verb learning.

My second line of research examines how social, cultural, and linguistic biases of professionals and students in CDIS affect their clinical judgments. This line of research is important because 14% of the U.S. population is foreign born and within the next 30 years the U.S. will no longer have one ethnic or racial majority. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s membership is largely female (95.30%), monolingual (93.46%) and white (92.10%), making the cultivation of cultural sensitivity and competence among its members a critical need.

To meet the expectations of the university, I will make a concerted effort to publish 2 to 3 peer-reviewed articles each year, make scholarly presentations at national conventions, continue reviewing for peer-reviewed journals, and apply for external funding to advance my reputation and to increase the visibility of both the College of Health Professions and Texas State University. I will continue to involve undergraduate students in my research lab. I also will continue to collaborate with my colleagues within my department, college, and wider Texas State University community. For more information about by research lab, please visit http://teamschwarz.wp.txstate.edu/

Selected Scholarly/Creative Work

  • Schwarz, A. L., Jurica, M., Matson, C., Stiller, R., Webb-Culver, T., & Abdi, H. (2022). How do teachers of deaf prereaders communicating in American Sign Language select storybooks for read alouds? American Annals of the Deaf, 166(4). https://doi.org/10.1353/aad.2022.0044
  • Schwarz, A. L., Resendiz, M. D., Herrera, L. C., & Gonzales, M. D. (2021). A novel approach to assessing language proficiency in adults: A pre-pilot classification accuracy study. International Journal of Bilingualism, 25(3), 812–832. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367006921999452
  • Schwarz, A. L., Jurica, M., Matson, C., Stiller, R., Webb-Culver, T., & Abdi, H. (2019). Storybook selection system for teachers who use English when reading aloud to d/Deaf-and-hard-of-hearing prereaders. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ydei20
  • Schwarz, A. L., Guajardo, J., & Hart, R. (2018). How do communication modes of d/Deaf-and-hard-of-hearing prereaders influence the amount of storybook text teachers report reading during read alouds? Deafness and Education International. https://doi.org/10.1080/14643154.2018.1487147
  • Schwarz, A. L., Guajardo, J., & Hart, R. (2017). How do communication modes of d/Deaf-and-hard-of-hearing prereaders influence teachers’ read-aloud goals? Deafness & Education International, 19, 115–125. https://doi.org/10.1080/14643154.2017.1392768

Selected Awards

  • Award / Honor Recipient: Faculty Excellence in Service, College of Health Professions. 2019
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Favorite Professor, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. March 2019
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Favorite Professor, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. March 2016
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Faculty Excellence in Research, College of Health Professions. 2015
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Favorite Professor, Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. March 2015

Selected Grants

  • Irani, Farzan (Principal), Schwarz, Amy Louise (Co-Principal), Wendel, Renee M (Supporting), Stiritz, Lori L (Co-Principal), Fleming, Valarie B (Other), Domsch, Celeste A (Other). Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students in Communication Disorders, Health Resources and Services Administration, Federal, $1576750. (Submitted: March 3, 2020, Funded: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2025). Grant.
  • Schwarz, Amy L (Principal), Bloom, Rosaleen Duggan (Co-Principal), Bowers, Jessica Ree (Supporting), Covington, Barbara G (Supporting). Will Problem Solving Education Combined with Parent-Implemented Script Therapy for Young Children Having Problems Learning Language Reduce Parent Stress?, Texas State University, Texas State University, $15951. (Submitted: October 2020, Funded: January 26, 2021 - December 2022). Grant.
  • Schwarz, Amy L. Research Enhancement Program (REP), Texas State University, Institutional (Higher Ed), $7950. (Submitted: October 1, 2015, Funded: January 15, 2016 - May 2017). Grant.
  • Schwarz, Amy L. TSHA Grant, Texas Speech, Language and Hearing Association, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $2600. (Submitted: June 1, 2009). Grant.

Selected Service Activities

Graduate Advisor
Department of Communication Disorders
August 21, 2023-Present
Internal Review Board (IRB) Committee
August 28, 2020-Present
Editorial Review Board Member
Deafness and Education International
August 2019-Present
Quality Enhancement Program Development Task Force: Undergraduate Research
January 2018-April 8, 2021
CDIS Undergraduate Research Pool
August 2016-May 2020