Faculty Spotlight: Joy Townsend

Joanna Frye


Joy Townsend is the interim department chair of speech pathology, clinic director and an instructor. She is originally from Columbus, Miss., and earned a B.A. from the University of Mississippi and M.S. from Mississippi University for Women. She has worked in various positions as a speech-language pathologist for 28 years and at MUW for 20 years. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence and is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is licensed as a speech-language pathologist by the Mississippi State Board of Health.  

Q: What is speech pathology?


A: “It is a science that studies how humans communicate. We help people to restore communication from birth to the elderly. The types of persons we work with are the hearing impaired, babies, small children who do not develop speech/language skills, and the elderly who have lost communications. We help people who have vocal disorders, children with dyslexia, autism and people who are learning English as a second language.”

Q: Why were you interested in speech pathology?

A: “I was sitting in my home getting ready to go to college. I was looking through the catalog. I knew I loved children. I always thought I would be a pediatrician, but I had come to realize that I did not like physics or chemistry. Then, I read about communication disorders, and it appealed to me. It has a medical element but does not require the intensity of a pre-med curriculum. I just chose it and never looked back. I have been at the W for 20 years. It has been a fabulous profession for me.” 

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: “The thing that I think about a lot when I get tired that it is hard to see the positive sometimes. But then you think about the students that you have sent out. I try and think about the lives that they have touched that I never will know about. I had a part in improving their lives. I think that is what motivates me. I truly have loved this program from loving the students and how the faculty are friends. We are a very close-knit group.  Speech pathology is such a worthy profession, and you know that the students can get a job. It makes you feel good that you are contributing to society through them.”