Dr. Mellissa Bortz is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and a nationally certified speech-language pathologist. Her research and clinical interests focus on language acquisition and language disorders across the lifespan. Originally from South Africa, Dr. Bortz is especially interested in understanding how speech-language pathologists can best serve individuals in culturally and linguistically diverse areas of the globe. Towards this goal, she has developed a database of speech and language materials devised for use throughout Africa. Dr. Bortz is currently editing a book entitled ‘Global Language Assessment: A Lifespan Approach’ and also collecting code-switching data in people with aphasia in South Eastern Zone Bantu languages.
Dr. Bortz is a member of the American Speech – Language – Hearing Association (ASHA). She is a Coordinating Committee Member of SIG 17 Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders and was selected to participate in ASHA’s Faculty Development Institute. In addition, she’s a part of ASHA’s Leadership Development Program and previously served on the ASHA International Issues Board. She is also a member of the South African Speech Language- Hearing Association African Connections Sub-committee.
At St John’s, Dr. Bortz has been awarded the Faculty Mission Certificate by the Vincentian Centre for Church and Society. She is a member of the Equity and Inclusion Council. Her students participate in Academic Service-Learning and some of their projects have been presented at conferences. She is the faculty moderator for the St John’s NSSLHA chapter which has received Gold Honors. She enjoys mentoring her students and encourages interested students to participate in her research.
Everyone in the world is created equally. I am therefore wholly committed to teaching everyone equitably. I am a passionate Speech Language Pathologist and aim to develop that passion in my students. I do this by empowering students with an ‘I can succeed and work out how to do this’ attitude. I therefore teach using the Socratic method and Bloom’s Taxonomy to developing critical thinking by students. Interactive learning, with dynamic class discussions are very helpful in linking theory to practice. I also share my clinical experience and video of culturally and linguistically diverse clients with students so that they can gain a realistic impression of what being a Speech Language Pathologist/Audiologist entails. In the words of Ginsberg, Friberg and Visconti (2012) I wish ‘to instill a love of learning’ in my students so they become colleagues in the Speech Language Pathology/ Audiology Profession and/or faculty members themselves (p. 2 - 3).
Courses taught at St John’s University-
CSD 1720 –Anatomy and Physiology
CSD 2760 – Language Disorders Across the Lifespan
CSD 2770 – Speech Disorders Across the Lifespan
CSD 4953- Independent study
CSD 210 – Origins and Assessment of Speech Language Problems
CSD 317 – Acquired Language Disorders
CSD 381- Cultural Diversity in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology
CSD 321- Speech Language Assessment, Treatment, Infants and Toddlers
CSD 452- Special Research
Bortz, M.A. Ed. (in publication). A Guide to Global Language Assessment: A Lifespan Approach. Slack Publications.
Bortz, M.A. (in publication). Methods for devising a standardized language assessment for isiZulu pre-schoolers: Implications for Africa. In. U. M. Ludtke, E. Kija & M.K. Karia. Handbook of Communication Disabilities and Language Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York, NY: Springer Publications.
Bortz, M.A. (in publication). Tasks for assessing language in Africa: The passive construction. Handbook of Communication Disabilities and Language Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York, NY: Springer Publications.
Bortz, M.A. (2016). Acquisition of the Passive by Setswana-Speaking Pre-Schoolers. Comprehension, Production and Elicited Imitation Tasks to Examine the Passive. Saarbrucken, Germany-: Scholars Press.
Shapiro, D. A. (USA), Abbink, M. (Poland, Germany), Bortz, M. (S. Africa), Bruna, A. V. (Chile), Cook, F. (England), Dhu, P. (Australia), Einarsdottir, J. (Iceland), Haynes, E. (Canada), Makoni, S. (S. Africa), Miyamoto, S. (Japan), Molt, L. (USA), Moses, N. (USA, Chile), Reichel, I. (Russia, Ukraine), Simon, A. (France), Touzet, B. (Argentina), Van Zaalen, Y. (The Netherlands), Wahlhaus, M. M. (S. Africa, Australia). (2004). A multinational investigation of stuttering intervention: Assumptions, practices, and lessons. In A. Packman, A. Meltzer, & H.F.M. Peters (Eds.), Theory, research and therapy in fluency disorders (pp. 123-138). Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Nijmegen University Press.
Bortz, M.A., Jardine, C.A., and Thsule, M. (1996). Contextualising Training in the South African Context. European Journal of Disorders of Communication. 31, 465-476.
Jankelowitz, D.L., and Bortz, M.A. (1995). The Interaction of Bilingualism and Stuttering. Journal of Communication Disorders. 29, 233-234.
Seeff, B.K., and Bortz, M.A. (1994). Caregiver-child Interaction in a Rural Village in South Africa. South African Journal of Communication Disorders. 41, 73-83.
Kaye, J., Bortz, M.A., and Tuomi, S.K. (1993). Effectiveness of Voice Therapy with a Male-to-Female Transsexual Subject. Scandinavian Journal of Logopedics and Phoniatrics. 18, 105-109.
Bortz, M.A., (1992). Language Abilities of 18 month-old Zulu Speakers. The South African Journal of Communication Disorders. 39, 25-34.
Bortz, M.A., Schoub, B., and McKenzie, J.A. (1992). Community Work Project in Gazankulu: A Community-Based Training Experience. The South African Journal of Communication Disorders. 39, 62-67.
Bortz, M.A., Jones, D., and Schneider, M. (1992, Oct.-Dec.). The 1992 Field Trip to Gazankulu. Communiphon. 304, 25-30.
Bortz, M.A., and Girson, J.E. (1991). Thoughts about a Great Stuttering Therapist: An open letter to Charles van Riper. [Letter to the Editor]. Journal of Fluency Disorders. 16, 2, 239-240.
Bucher, M., Bortz, M., and Anderson, D. (1984). The Verbal and Nonverbal Communicative Abilities of Pre-Adolescent Stutterers. The South African Journal of Communication Disorders. 31, 22-28.
Akua Owusa, A., Bortz, M. A. Chacouloff, E., Gibson. R., Rochus, D., Roman, R., Staley, B. & Wylie K., Does it really take ten years? Creating sustainable global partnerships. Speech Pathology Australia 2021 Virtual National Conference. May 31, 2021Bortz, M.A. & Carrington, A. Is there still a place for pseudo-stuttering assignments for Speech Language Pathology students? 12th Oxford Dysfluency Conference. 7-8 January 2021 – Virtual Conference.
Bortz, M.A. & Goral, M. Results: Language Mixing in Setswana Speaking Healthy People and People with Aphasia. South African Speech Language Hearing Association (SASLHA) and American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Partnership Conference - November, 13 – 14, 2020, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bortz, M.A. Academic Service-Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. South African Speech Language Hearing Association (SASLHA) and American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Partnership Conference - November, 13 – 14, 2020, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bortz, M.A. & Goral, M. Language Mixing in Bantu Speaking Healthy People and People with Aphasia. Academy of Aphasia - October 18 - 20, 2020, Philadelphia
Bortz, M.A. The Process of Devising a Global Language Assessment Template (GLAT). Hadassah Academic College Communication Disorders in Multilingual and Multicultural Populations, Jerusalem, Israel, January 2020.
Argyros, A. Bortz, M. & Helfenbein, M. Devising a Global Language Assessment Template. City University of New York Graduate Center PhD Program Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Student Research Day, New York, November 2019.
Bortz, M.A. Establishing of an African Resource Data-Base of Speech, Language & Audiology Materials. ASHA Convention, Boston, November, 2018.
Bortz, M.A. Tomatis/solisten program – a pilot, evidence based study. saslha conference, port elizabeth, october, 2017.
Bortz, M.A. Severe Autism in Adolescents and Adults. 49th ISHACON, Kolkata, January, 2017.
Bortz, M.A. Setswana-Speaking Preschoolers Acquisition of the Passive. ASHA Convention. Philadelphia, November 2016.
Bortz, M.A., Moonsamy, S., & Mupawosa, A. Experiences and Perceptions of Instructors of Special Needs Elementary, Multilingual School Students to RAVE-O Program. ASHA Convention. Philadelphia, November 2016.
Bortz, M.A. How to develop a Standardized Language Assessment for Non-English Speakers. SASLHA Conference, Johannesburg, October, 2016.
Bortz, M.A. The acquisition of the passive in Setswana-speaking preschoolers. SASHLA Conference. Cape Town, October 2014.
Bortz, M.A. Differential Diagnosis in Autism. SASHLA Conference, Cape Town, October, 2014.
Bortz, M.A. Strengthening literacy and language teaching in Pre-Schools. Early Childhood Development & Learner Inclusion Conference, Johannesburg, May 2014.
Bortz, M.A. The acquisition of the passive in Setswana-speaking preschoolers.4th Hadassah Conference on Language Impairments in Multilingual and Multicultural Populations, Jerusalem, Israel, January 2014.
Bortz, M.A. The Elusive W. Passive Acquisition in Setswana. International Association for the Study of Child Language. Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2008.
Bortz, M.A. The Acquisition of the Passive in Setswana Speaking Children. Conference on the Acquisition of African Languages. Stellenbosch, South Africa. January 2008.
Bortz, M. An Investigation of the Morphosyntactic Development of Children’s Black South African English. International African World Englishes Conference, Potchefstroom, November, 2001.
Bortz, M. An Investigation of the Morphosyntactic Development of Children’s Black South African English. Symposium 2000, Second International Symposium on Communication Disorders in Multilingual Populations, IALP, Kwa Maritane, July 2000.
Obler, L.K., Schmidt, B., Goral, M., Kaufman, R., Prime, M., and Bortz, M. The International Dyslexia Association, Chicago, November 1999. “Reading Errors: Dyslexics versus Non-Dyslexics.”
Schmidt, B., Goral, M., Bortz, M., Prime, M., and Obler, L.K. Language and Communication: Breakdown and Theory, Jerusalem, May 1999. “Single Word Reading Errors.”
Goral, M., Bortz, M., Schmidt, B., and Obler, L.K. New York State Speech Language Hearing Association (NYSSLHA), Syracuse, New York, April 1999. “Word Frequency Effects in Reading Briefly Presented Single Words.”
Prime, M., Schmidt, B., Goral, M., Bortz, M., Galletta, E., and Obler, L.K.NYSSLHA, Syracuse, April 1999. “Grapheme Similarities in Reading Errors.”
Schmidt, B., Goral, M., Bortz, M., Goldberg, E., and Obler, L.K. Factors Influencing Single Word Reading. NYSSLHA, New York, April 1998
Bortz, M. Annual ASHA Convention, Boston, 1997. The Acquisition of the Passive in Sesotho / English and Zulu / English Bilinguals.
St John’s Summer Support of Research June 2021