Communication Sciences & Disorders Program

Faculty and Staff


Doreen Binnie
portrait of Ms. Doreen Binnie​​​​​​​ Title: Clinical Coordinator
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions
Phone: 216-687-6984

Doreen K. Binnie, M.A., CCC-SLP has been a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for 40 years.  Prior to joining the awesome members of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Cleveland State University in 2012 she worked in the Columbia Local Schools for 34 years as the only SLP. She had her own Pediatric private practice for five years and worked at Extended School Year sites for six years. 

Doreen has experience in numerous areas but is very fond of working with children with autism, articulation, and phonological disorders.  She has experience with Assistive Technology devices and was trained in PECS.  As the Clinical Coordinator of Off-Campus Placements at CSU, Doreen strives to obtain new placements both in Hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities.  Doreen believes in a team approach when placing students.  She works with all supervisors to carefully match student strengths with their interests when making placements as well as trying to keep the facility close in distance to where the graduate student lives.  Doreen has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses. She supervisors’ first and second year graduate students at their clinical placements both on and off campus. 

Doreen has spoken at numerous OSSPEAC and OSLHA conferences.  She is currently the CSU NSSLHA club advisor where our club earned Gold Status and was recognized as the Most Improved NSSLHA Organization in 2018.  She created an Interview Day for second year graduate students to gain employment as they graduate.  Doreen enjoys watching the students’ blossom and mature into Speech Language Pathologists.

When not at CSU, Doreen can be found in front of a book or her sewing machine. If she isn’t inside, she can be found tending to her vegetable and flower gardens.  She enjoys making flower arrangements and homemade jams.


Violet Cox
Violet Cox Title: Associate College Lecturer
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 313
Phone: 216-687-6909

Violet O Cox Ph.D., MLS, CCC-SLP is an Associate Lecturer in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, School of Health Sciences. Since joining CSU in 1994, she has taught neurogenic communication disorders courses at the graduate level and Anatomy and Physiology at the undergraduate level. She has mentored graduate students in their Master’s thesis research.

Dr. Cox has authored and published articles in local and international peer-reviewed journals. She is currently authoring a textbook “Rare Diseases that cause Dysphagia,” forthcoming in the fall of 2019. Dr. Cox has presented at local and national conferences in the areas of Aphasia and Dysphagia. In addition, she has been an international speaker and trainer in Dysphagia. She was instrumental in organizing a study-abroad program for graduate students to Barbados, where she established a “Dysphagia Training Program” at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the spring of 2014. She is considered an expert in Voice and Swallowing Disorders utilizing videostroboscopy and Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of the Swallow (FEES). Through her lab work at CSU, students are able to gain hands on experience in the use of these specialized instruments. She also initiated a training session in the use of the FEES for practicing medical SLPs in the Northeastern Ohio region in the spring of 2018.                                                                                                                      

Prior to her fulltime appointment at CSU, Dr. Cox served as a medical SLP within the Cleveland Clinic Health System in the capacities of senior SLP and Coordinator of Speech Pathology. She also provided consultation services to University Hospitals of Cleveland Home Health Speech Program.

Monica Gordon Pershey
Monica Gordon Pershey Title: Associate Professor  
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 324
Phone: 216-687-4534

Monica Gordon Pershey, Ed.D., CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, School of Health Sciences. Since joining CSU in 1995, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses and mentored undergraduate and graduate students’ research.

Dr. Gordon Pershey has authored over 125 articles, book chapters, and presentations, many of them on language and literacy and on the professional development of speech-language pathologists. Her recent publications, authored with CSU graduate students, appeared in Cogent Medicine and the Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders. Her work has been cited by scholars around the world.

Forthcoming publications include a chapter on executive function in Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills (Judith Birsh & Suzanne Carreker, Eds., Brookes Publishing) and entries in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Human Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has reviewed clinical tests for Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook, serves on the editorial committee of Perspectives on Language and Literacy (published by the International Dyslexia Association), and was coordinator of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Special Interest Group on Issues in Higher Education. She is a member of the CSU Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects in Research and has been an on-call clinical speech-language pathologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center since 2004.


Emily Jennings
Emily Jennings Title: Clinical Assistant Professor  
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 261
Phone: 216-687-6922

Emily Jennings, MS, CCC-SLP has a passion for clinical education and person-centered care. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at Cleveland State, Prof. Jennings worked as a senior clinical speech-language pathologist and clinical educator at Cleveland Clinic - Euclid Hospital.

Her areas of interest and expertise include: acquired neurological cognitive and communication disorders, Supported Conversations for Adults with Aphasia (SCA™), treatment of hypokinetic dysarthria and hypophonia associated with Parkinson’s Disease, and real-world application of evidence-based practice principles. 

As a clinical assistant professor, she currently teaches a variety of foundational undergraduate courses in communication sciences and disorders, as well as graduate electives relevant to medical speech-language pathology.  Prof. Jennings also supervises individual and group therapy services for adult neurogenic clients in CSU’s on-campus Speech and Hearing Clinic, facilitating graduate student acquisition of clinical knowledge and skills.

Her favorite aspect of CSD at CSU is the dedication of the faculty, staff, and students. There is a clear and genuine commitment to engaged learning and student success!


Carol L. Spears
Carol L. Spears Title: Clinical Assistant Professor  
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 270
Phone: 216-687-3717

Ms. Spears is a licensed speech-language pathologist who has had the pleasure of providing services in multiple capacities: instructor, supervisor, consultant, and, interventionist.  Although she has professional experience in many areas of communication disorders, she developed a passion for, and, ultimately, a specialization in the areas of assistive technology, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and autism.  She is trained in a range of modalities including, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), TEACCH, PECS, PODD, and Floortime, as well as in the use of multiple speech generating devices and apps. 

Ms. Spears strives to address individual needs of clients to ensure services provided are the most effective and efficient. As a professor, she strives to relay this philosophy.  She also shares knowledge gained from her over 30 years of clinical experience and professional development.  She provides students with the knowledge and understanding needed to become competent and compassionate professionals.  She has presented at multiple conferences and is co-author of the book Rising to New Heights of Communication and Learning for Children with Autism.  Her publication and presentations allow her to share her acquired knowledge with professionals in the field of communication disorders.

Myrita Wilhite
white Title: Associate Professor of Practice
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 339
Phone: 216-687-3808

Myrita Wilhite, AuD, CCC-A has been an audiologist for over 30 years.  Dr. Wilhite is currently the Director of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program.  She is passionate about teaching audiology and keeps her clinical skills sharp by mentoring students in audiology and aural rehabilitation practica as well as providing direct clinical services in the on campus Speech and Hearing Clinic.

Myrita is firm believer in life-long learning.  She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master’s Degree in Audiology from Cleveland State University.  She earned a Doctor of Audiology degree in 2009 from A.T. Still University and is currently in the dissertation phase of a research doctorate in Urban Education with a specialty in Learning and Development at Cleveland State University.

Myrita feels very fortunate to have found her calling in communication sciences and disorders.  She is excited about actively engaging in scholarship, and guiding the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program to fulfill its mission.  Myrita is continually energized and inspired by her clients, students, colleagues and professors at CSU.


Brigette Wilson
Brigette Wilson Title: Assistant Professor of Practice
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 269
Phone: 216-687-3806

Brigette Wilson, MA CCC-SLP, has been a speech-language pathologist for over 20 years.  She is the Clinic Administrator and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program.  Mrs. Wilson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses particularly pratica and diagnostic methods.  She has a passion for mentoring beginning clinicians and educating families in the Speech and Hearing Clinic regarding communication disorders.  Mrs. Wilson has a heavy concentration of working with individuals with autism, preschoolers with disabilities, and augmentative alternative communication device users.   She is currently interested in innovative approaches in clinical education (particularly simulation), cultural and linguistic diversity, and health equity.

In addition to her work in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, Mrs. Wilson is the director of the Urban Health Fellows Program (UHF) at Cleveland State University.  A pipeline for first generation freshmen and sophomore college students interested in medicine and allied health professions.  

Mrs. Wilson is dedicated to seeking ways to build the programs’ clinical capacity and to supporting students’ development of clinical decision-making and improving their foundational knowledge and confidence.  


April Yorke
Yorke​​​​​​​ Title: Assistant Professor  
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 335
Phone: 216-687-6994

April M. Yorke, PhD, CCC-SLP has been an Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, School of Health Sciences since 2015.  Dr. Yorke teaches courses in Phonetics, Speech Sound Disorders, and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

April has a life-long love of working with individuals with severe disabilities. Since 1995, April has worked individuals with severe and complex communication needs due to developmental or acquired disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, stroke, rare genetic disorders, etc).  She uses technology and other augmentative and alternative communication strategies to help individuals with little or no verbal speech to communicate.

For her research, Dr. Yorke spends her life creating innovative strategies to help individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) to learn to read. It is estimated that 90% of individuals with CCN are graduating high school without functional literacy skills.  It is Dr. Yorke’s personal mission to change those outcomes. With her amazing team of research assistants (undergrad and graduate students), Dr. Yorke goes out into low income schools and provides intervention to approximately 20 students with CCN multiple times a week. Recently, she has also begun researching interventions to improve literacy outcomes for young typically developing children (pre-k to 1st grade) who are at moderate to high risk for literacy deficits.

Prior to coming to Cleveland State, Dr. Yorke spent 20+ years working with individuals with severe disabilities. Dr. Yorke worked with individuals with severe disabilities in the homes, schools, hospitals, and communities through her undergraduate years and grew to love this population. These phenomenal experiences lead April to Penn State University for her MS Program where she received highly specialized training as part of an Augmentative and Alternative Communication Training Grant from the US Dept of Education. In addition to receiving the standard speech-language pathology coursework, April completed 3 AAC-specific courses and 2 AAC-specific research projects. It was here that April first discovered the vital importance of literacy for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. After receiving her MS, April served as a speech-language pathologist and augmentative communication/assistive technology specialist in the schools and at a post-acute brain injury rehab for 9 years. By then, April had been working with individuals with severe disabilities for 17 years. She decided it was time to return for a PhD and to train the next generation of speech-language pathologists. April returned to Penn State University again for her PhD program and began a new journey as a researcher, creating the next generation interventions to improve literacy outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs.  She couldn’t be happier with her path.



Bess Antol
Bess Antol Title: Office Coordinator
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 338
Phone: 216-687-3807

Bess Antol serves as the Office Coordinator for the School of Health Sciences as well as the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program.  As such, she manages marketing, website, communication, budget as well as lots of other behind-the-scenes paperwork that keeps the academic operations moving forward.  Bess has been doing this kind of work in various roles at CSU since 2005.  
In service of her curiosity, she has earned the following degrees from CSU:  Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Art, and once she settled on the career of higher education administration:  Master of Education in Adult Learning and Development.  
When not at work, Bess engages her in arts, crafts, videogames, reading, and keeping up with family.


Angel Key
  Title: Administrative Assistant
Dept: School of Health Sciences
Office: Center for Innovation in Medical Professions 275
Phone: 216-687-3804

Angel Key serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Speech and Hearing Clinic.  As such, she manages billing, client communication, assists with client scheduling and intake, and clinic maintenance. Angel also assists the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program by providing receptionist services, maintaining inventory and records, and assisting with academic paperwork. Angel has been working in clinical environments since December 2017.
Angel has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Bowling Green State University.
When not at work, Angel enjoys crocheting, reading, writing, playing videogames, and spending time with her husband and two cats, Professor McGonagall and Chairman Meow. During the summertime, Angel also enjoys tending to her vegetable garden.