Have you met ... Tammy Hopper?

Spend a few minutes getting to know Dr. Tammy Hopper, who stepped up to lead the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine as Interim Dean on July 1.

8 July 2021

On July 1, 2021, Dr. Tammy Hopper became Interim Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. Tammy is a registered speech-language pathologist, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and most recently served as Vice-Provost (Programs) for the University of Alberta. She moved to Edmonton in 2001 after completing a PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona. She joined the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine as an assistant professor, later serving as Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research (2012 - 2015) and Vice-Dean (2015-2016). Spend the next few minutes getting to know her a bit better!

Tell us about the focus of your research program (in three sentences or less).

My primary research focus is the design and evaluation of behavioural interventions to help people living with dementia communicate more effectively and function better in everyday life.

What is your favourite course to teach?

CSD 529, which focuses on the nature, assessment and management of communication disorders associated with neurological disease and injury.

What is your first memory at the U of A?

I first saw the U of A when I came for my interview for an assistant professor position, 20 years ago this spring. I remember standing on the expansive lawn of Corbett Hall, the snow was falling and I was in awe of our beautiful building.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

That I'm a first-generation university student. My sister and I were the first in our family to attend university (the University of Manitoba – Go Bisons!).

What’s your favourite hobby or pastime?

I wish I had a cool hobby to share – like welding or something – but when I have down time, I will often colour (as in, using coloured pencils or markers in a colouring book) and listen to podcasts.

Where is your favourite place on campus?

The quad at any time of year, but especially in winter, when all of the trees are brightly lit.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

What wouldn't it be! In my previous position as Vice-Provost (Programs), I learned a great deal about programs across our campuses and there were elements in all of them that appealed to me. If I had to choose one to start, I would take a BA in Women's and Gender Studies.

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

I love to sing! 

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

Iced coffee.

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

The list is long, but right now I'd love to spend some time with Martha Cook Piper, who was Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine from 1985-1993.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

As it turns out, you will never find any exercise you enjoy. Just do something and stop complaining.

What is the biggest strength/opportunity that you see for the faculty in the next year?

Our strength in rehabilitation is our ability to work together, in teams, to help our patients and clients to set goals and reach them. This upcoming year will present challenges and opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic and continue with restructuring. Our Faculty's collective focus promoting accessibility and inclusion, overcoming barriers and finding new ways to function will be more important than ever as we move forward.