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Arnold School of Public Health

Kenn Apel wins Honors of the Association award from South Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association

March 24, 2020 | Erin Bluvas,

The South Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SCSHA) has selected Kenn Apel, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD), to receive the Honors of the Association. The highest honor the Association bestows, this award recognizes a member for his/her contributions to the COMD field that are of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the profession.

“Dr. Apel’s vast contributions to the profession of speech-language pathology have surpassed expectations within the field as he has displayed sincere dedication to the field, his colleagues, clients and students,” says Jill Williamson, SCHSA president and a speech-language pathologist for Lexington One schools. “His commitment and remarkable role as a leader, researcher, professor, presenter and clinician in speech-language pathology make him a prime recipient for the SCSHA Honors of the Association award.”  

During Apel’s 35-year career, he has held numerous service and leadership roles both in his academic departments and in support of various COMD professional organizations. He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on 23 competitively funded contracts and grants, authored three books, published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, presented more than 300 times, served on 14 dissertation committees (six has chair), and held roles on 59 committees. 

Apel has been involved in the South Carolina Speech-Language-Hearing Association since he arrived at UofSC in 2012 to lead the COMD department as chair. It was his third stint in a department leadership position, bringing experience from serving as chair at Florida State University and Wichita State University. In 2015, Apel was recognized for his contributions to the field with the highest-level award from both the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

In addition to his service and leadership roles, Apel is internationally renowned for his expertise in language and literacy. In his Knowledge of Orthographic Learning Lab (KOOL2), Apel conducts research in the areas of spoken and written language and working with children, adolescents and adults who have language-based learning deficits. He is particularly interested in the underlying linguistic components that support the development of word-level reading and spelling.

In this line of work, Apel has developed seven products (e.g., SPELL-2:  Spelling Performance Evaluation for Language & Literacy and SPELL-Links to Reading and Writing) to support the populations he studies. Most recently, Apel and his KOOL2 team have been developing a reliable and valid measure of morphological awareness (i.e., the ability to consciously consider and manipulate the smallest units of meaning in language, including base words and affixes such as –ly, re-, -ness) for student from first to sixth grade through the $1.4 million, U.S. Department of Education-funded Project MATRS (Morphological Awareness Test for Reading and Spelling).

“Dr. Apel’s contributions to the profession have altered what it means to be a speech-language pathologist,” says Stephen Kneece, a SCSHA member and a speech-language pathologist for Aiken county public schools. “His achievements have blazed a trail that many other SLPs are grateful to be able to follow. His research in orthography and morphology, and relentless advocacy of SLPs roles in literacy have changed the way many SLPs view our scope of practice. He has challenged us and inspired us all in many ways.”


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Apel recognized with Honors of the Council award from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

Apel earns the highest honor awarded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

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