Faculty of Human Sciences

Distinguished Professor Anne Castles

Professor Anne Castles is recognised as a Distinguished Professor of Macquarie University for her outstanding contribution to research, teaching and service in the field of reading in Cognitive Science.  Her research and outreach work are nationally and internationally recognised by academic peers, government leaders and professionals in the field of reading and education.  She is an exemplary leader of national research centres and academic departments at Macquarie University where she is a highly respected mentor of research students and junior colleagues.

Distinguished Professor Anne Castles has contributed at high levels in her profession and discipline and has been recognised with membership of leading professional societies and as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.  She has made a long-lasting contribution to theoretical research and has given back to the community by translating discovery into tangible tools for practitioners in ways that bring distinction to Macquarie University as a university of service and engagement.

Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth

Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth is internationally recognised for her ground-breaking research in the area of child language acquisition.  The work she leads at the Child Language Lab at Macquarie University is unique in Australia and occupies a key niche at the interface between basic and applied research.

Her contributions to the advancement of knowledge and education include a strong commitment to mentoring students and junior academics through the organisation of many conferences, workshops and reading groups.  During her time in Australia, she has reached out to a wide range of researchers, students and practitioners in the broad fields of language and hearing sciences to develop a collaborative approach to addressing language learning and its problems.

Early in her career, Katherine demonstrated a keen interest in applying her skills and knowledge to communities in Africa to explore issues of crosslinguistic language acquisition, with implications for teachers, clinicians and schools. This work continues through collaboration with Australian colleagues and Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, working on both language description as well as issues of language acquisition. She has also become an active member of the Australian Hearing Hub, where her research has expanded to explore aspects of bilingual language learning, as well as language development in children with hearing loss and language delay/specific language impairment.

Professor Demuth has carried out her work with a commitment to excellence and an enduring determination to support the important role of language in social development, health and well-being.  Her outstanding contributions to this field were recognized by the award of an Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2014.

Distinguished Professor Bill Thompson

Professor Bill Thompson has a 30-year career of sustained high-level academic achievement which has had significant impact on students, his research field and the community. He is Director of the Music, Sound and Performance Lab, and Founding Director of the Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise and Training.

His research achievements are prodigious, being both highly productive but also highly impactful. His work on the effects of music on emotional wellbeing, cognitive functioning and memory includes research on musical or hearing impairments, individuals with dementia, and currently refugee and diaspora communities. His work is recognised not only for its academic excellence, but its practical impact on vulnerable members of society. Professor Thompson’s multiple media appearances are testament to Professor Thompson’s research impact but also of his willingness to take his findings outside of the rarefied atmosphere of academia to the general public where individuals may find understanding and hope.

Professor Thompson has also provided high-level and sustained academic and professional leadership both within the university and outside of it. At Macquarie University he led the Psychology Department, and he founded and still leads an important a very productive research centre (CEPET). Outside the university he has and continues to provide professional leadership through research journal editorships and presidencies of professional societies. These efforts culminated in his election as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Professor Thompson has also made profound contributions to strengthening the research-teaching nexus and encouraging his colleagues to engage in research-led teaching, most notably through his past development of new interdisciplinary programs of study, and his development and continued teaching of Music, Mind and Message (PSY 250). This ground-breaking unit introduces students to the psychological, social, and evolutionary implications of music in an engaging and stimulating approach that combines academic and arts-based approaches to learning.

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