Department of Communicative Disorders

Fernwood Building, 3071 Kingstown Rd, Kingston, RI 02881


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Dana Kovarsky

Dana Kovarsky
  • Professor, Department Chair
  • Office: Fernwood Building, Rm 101
  • Phone: 401.874.2735
  • Email:


Dana Kovarsky is professor & chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders. Currently, he teaches a course examining the relations between language, culture and communication disorders. In the past, he has also taught courses on language development, research methods and the structural analysis of language. After completing his postdoctoral fellowship where he focused on investigations into the ethnography of communication disorders, he worked at Appalachian State University and then Wayne State University before coming to the University of Rhode Island.


His research has focused primarily on the analysis of clinical discourse from an ethnographic perspective. Over the years, his work has been funded by the United States Department of Education and other sources. His first co-edited book, Constructing (In)competence: Disabling Evaluations in Clinical and Social Interaction, appeared in 1999, and his second, Diagnosis as Cultural Practice, was published in 2005. He has published numerous articles, served as a guest editor for topical issues of selected journals, and presented his work in national and international venues.


  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Iowa, 1976
  • M.A., Communication Disorders, Kent State University, 1979
  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1989


Kovarsky, D. (2016). A retrospective look at the ethnography of communication disorders. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 7, (1), 1-25.

Kovarsky, D., Scheimer, C.S., & Murray, A. (2011). Humor, rapport and uncomfortable moments in interactions with adults with traumatic brain injury. Topics in Language Disorders, 31, (4), 325-335.

Kovarsky, D., Curran, M., & Zobel Nichols, N. (2009). Laughter and communicative engagement in interaction. Seminars in Speech & Language, 30, (1), 27-36.

Simmons-Mackie, N. & Kovarsky, D. (2009). Engagement in clinical interaction: An introduction. Seminars in Speech & Language, 30, (1), 5-10.

Kovarsky, D. (2008). Representing voices from the life-world in Evidence-Based Practice. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 47, (1), 47-57.

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