October 21, 2021

CSU Professorial Promotions Committee

I have just finished reviewing a large number of applications for the CSU Professorial Promotions Committee that is meeting next week. Almost every application had over 60 pages of evidence. It has been a huge, but very fascinating task. There are many extremely impressive people at CSU!

Catching up face-to-face

With the easing of COVID lockdowns in my region, I had the chance to actually have a coffee with a team member today! It was so exciting that I wore a dress and heels for (what I think was) the first time this year! I still wore my mask though.

We are allowed to go back to work on 1 November 2021, but do not need to be on campus until 2022.

I also received a lovely gift of flowers from the President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to thank me for my recent work on an international seminar

October 20, 2021

Dr Anna Cronin, lecturer at ACU

How wonderful to catch up with my graduated PhD students to see how they have blossomed. Today I had virtual "lunch" with Dr Anna Cronin who is working as a lecturer at Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Brisbane as well as as a specialist speech pathologist in the cleft palate team at the Children's Hospital. I am so proud of her.

Dr Anna Cronin at ACU

October 19, 2021

Western Branch of Royal Society of NSW Inaugural Event

Today was the Western Branch of Royal Society of NSW's Inaugural Event titled "With the Falling of Dusk" presented by Professor Stan Grant Jnr, Charles Sturt University's Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian Indigenous Belonging. 

Professor Stan Grant Jnr
The event was introduced by Dr Susan Pond, President of RSNSW, and Professor Renee Leon, Vice Chancellor of CSU. 

Patron of the Royal Society of NSW Margaret Beasley, AC QC, Governor of New South Wales described the importance of curiosity and the appetite for intellectual inquiry, intellegence and robustness within the Central West. 

Congratulations Dr Suzanne Hopf on your promotion

Congratulations Dr Suzanne Hopf on your promotion to senior lecturer. This is so well deserved and recognises your international contribution to speech pathology in the Pacific and other parts of the world, as well as your significant leadership in the Masters of Speech Pathology at Charles Sturt University. We are so proud of you!

Congratulations Suzanne!

One of my favourite photos with Suzanne
when she was awarded her Endeavour Scholarship

CSU Town Hall to meet our new Vice Chancellor Renée Leon

Today over 800 CSU staff attended the online Town Hall to meet our new Vice Chancellor Renée Leon.


Vice Chancellor Renée Leon  
The CSU strategy focuses on students, research, people and social responsibility and details are found here: https://staff.csu.edu.au/universitystrategy-2030

October 18, 2021

Feedback and impact re NSW Health presentation on 3 August 2021

We have just received the feedback regarding our NSW Health presentation Allied Health Telehealth Virtual Education program on 3 August 2021. 67 sites attended the session "Multilingual children: Speech milestones and assessment advice" https://speakingmylanguages.blogspot.com/2021/08/nsw-health-allied-health-telehealth.html

Feedback was received from 44 participants. Respondents were based across fifteen NSW Local Health Districts (LHD), specialty networks and organisations

Jen Nicol the Allied Health Educator for the Children's Healthcare Network wrote: "Participants greatly appreciated you sharing your knowledge and experience regarding this topic." 

Here is their feedback in the summary sent by Jen Nicol:

The majority of participants who provided feedback strongly agreed or agreed that the session was well presented (n=42) and an effective learning opportunity (n=42). 

Most respondents strongly agreed or agreed that the session content was pitched at the right level (n=37) and provided new information or a refresher relevant to their individual clinical practice (n=42). 

Respondents were asked to provide examples of how the information presented would impact on their clinical practice. Responses related the following main themes: 

  • Review and implement recommended assessments for use with multilingual children e.g. Intelligibility in Context Scale 
  • Utilise recommended resources to inform discussions with parents, support work with multilingual families, and share with colleagues from other professions 
  • Apply knowledge regarding communication acquisition norms for multilingual children 
  • Apply knowledge regarding cultural considerations in assessment of children from different backgrounds 
  • Review further research literature regarding working with multilingual children and families 
  • Share own multilingual background with speech pathology peers. 

These themes are highlighted in the following comments: 

  • Provided me with clear guidelines around what to expect in terms of speech sound production for children learning more than one language; and clear guidelines around encouraging children to continue learning their first language even when they are having difficulty with learning English. 
  • How to assess and manage multilingual children presenting with speech sound difficulties, where to find resources, being encouraged to share my own knowledge about my second language with peers in the SLP profession! 

Participants were asked to identify the best part of this session. 

  • Responses related the following main themes: 
  • Knowledgeable and engaging presenter 
  • Sharing of resources and links 
  • Practical information and resources relevant to clinical practice 
  • Clear and concise explanation of current Australian and international research 

Update, revision and validation of current knowledge and practice. 

These themes are highlighted in the following comments: 

  • Sharynne was a very engaging speaker, managed time very well and got through all the content, I felt it was summarised very succinctly and effectively, great resources shared. 
  • Information regarding multilingual intelligibility and that all children are 90-100% intelligible by 4-5 years. 
  • Great evidence to have for other health professionals who suggest it is just caused by multiple languages. 

The Allied Health Educators would like to thank the presenter for their work on Multilingual children: Speech milestones and assessment advice, and for sharing their experience and knowledge with allied health professionals across NSW.

CSU Excellence Awards: Successful Graduates RED nomination

Congratulations to the CSU Speech Pathology Team led by Dr Sarah Verdon on your Successful Graduates RED nomination and the great work you have been doing! Here is the nomination that is on the CSU website:

Speech Pathology Team 

Names: Sarah Verdon, Lisa Brown, Marijke Denton, Catherine Easton, Laura Hoffman, Suzanne Hopf, Alex Spiller, Linda Wilson. 

What is the nomination for: The Speech Pathology team are nominated for their development and implementation of the Master of Speech Pathology (MaSP) course. The MaSP is recognised as a world-leading blended online professional training course for speech-language pathologists (SLPs). The MaSP was the first Australian blended online speech pathology (SP) course to be awarded the maximum five-year course accreditation with Speech Pathology Australia, the national governing body for speech pathologists in Australia. Throughout this course the speech pathology team applies the Charles Sturt online learning model (2018) and an evidence-based constructivist approach to learning and teaching to deliver an innovative, high-quality student-centred university experience. Student and community feedback on the MaSP consistently identifies a rewarding and flexible student experience that prepares sought after work-ready graduates. 

Why is this Excellence Award worthy: A 2018 Speech Pathology team research project revealed over 92% of MaSP students chose the Charles Sturt course over other courses because it was offered online, with more than one third of participants stating they would not have attended university at all without this course. MaSP students see benefit in the constructivist pedagogy for their future practice, as indicated by the following student comment: "I've really learned to embrace the style of learning … because I can transfer it to so many other areas that I may not be directly taught about." (Student feedback forum, 20/05/2021).

The national peak body of the profession, Speech Pathology Australia, acknowledged the strength of the Charles Sturt MaSP course stating: “the flexible and unique online learning offers prospective students an opportunity to commence a new profession. Students strongly advocated for the unique offering of the Masters ‘online’ program” (Speech Pathology Australia, accreditation feedback, 2020).

October 15, 2021

Vale James Law

I am so sad to hear of the unexpected passing of James Law this week. 

Professor James Law, who worked at Newcastle University in UK, was awarded Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2018 and was a giant in our field: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ecls/people/profile/jameslaw.html. He has written many highly influential systematic reviews, meta-analyses and other work that provided thoughtful insights and wise recommendations for working across the lifespan with people with childhood speech and language disorders. His epidemological work has heavily influenced my own. In fact, one year I was the person in the world who quoted him more than any other. He was a lead collaborator with Prof Sheena Reilly on the Early Language in Victoria Study (ELVS) in Australia that has influenced Australian policy and practice. He was on the editorial board of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology while I was editor. He also provided encouragement to many of my PhD students (e.g., https://speakingmylanguages.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-language-trajectories-of-australias.html).

Here is the obituary written by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: https://www.rcslt.org/news/announcing-the-death-of-professor-james-law-obe/

Prof James Law with Suzanne Hopf and Sarah Verdon in 2014 who were my PhD students at the time

In 2006 my family and I had a wonderful time visiting his family in Scotland and we have had many updates since.

Our families walking in Scotland in 2006

Most recently, I submitted a book chapter to be published in a book he was co-editing: 

McLeod, S., McCormack, J., & Blake, H. L. (2019, in press). Communication, participation and cohort studies. In J. Law, S. Reilly & C. McKean (Eds.). Language development: Individual differences in a social context. Cambridge University Press. 

The other editors of the book, Professors Cristina McKean and Sheena Reilly wrote to us to tell us of the news of James' passing with these words:

We are all very shocked and saddened but we are taking comfort from the outpouring of wonderful messages we have received regarding his generosity and kindness and the legacy of his work for children with language difficulties. Sheena and I wanted to get in touch to reassure you that progress continues on the book and we will be keeping you up to date at this moves ahead and we should be entering the final stages of preparation for publication imminently. We feel the book is a wonderful reflection of James’ work and the huge network of collaborators he influenced and learned from. Sheena and I will also write a tribute to James to accompany the book to commemorate his work and his influence on us and the field.

I am honored to have written a chapter in his final book and to have learned so much from him during his lifetime. His life and legacy will continue to impact children, families and professionals across the globe.

Newcastle University set up the James Law Book of Condolences. My page is here


James Law participating in academic debate in Melbourne with Sue Roulstone, Sheena Reilly, Cristina McKean and others


2021 PhD students

Marie Ireland and Kate Margetson both began their PhD studies at Charles Sturt University in the middle of this year. Today they both met one another via Zoom (rather than just emailing one another) and we discussed their CSU Higher Degree by Research Expectations Alignment and Communications Plans. It was a really interesting discussion. I am excited about our work together.

Marie Ireland (USA), Sharynne, Kate Margetson (NSW Australia)

October 14, 2021

CSU Faculty of Arts and Education - Altitudes Series - Invited Presentation

Today was the first presentation in the CSU Faculty of Arts and Education - Altitudes Series to inspire high quality research reaching into the stratosphere.

Our VietSpeech team were invited to talk about "ARC Grant Success Stories" and described the journey of from our first work in Vietnam in 2011 through to gaining the ARC grant in 2018 and what we have achieved over the past almost 4 years. It was wonderful to remember where the work began and to celebrate our achievements and impact.

School of Education virtual morning tea

Thanks to Tamara Cumming the School of Education had another lovely catchup via Zoom

LSIC ear health working group - Macquarie University

Rona Macniven invited Professor Linda Harrison and I to speak at the LSIC ear health working group at Macquarie University yesterday. We also heard presentations from the three Masters of Audiology students on their projects: Fina - determinants and health service access; Emma - education outcomes; Anita - speech and language 

Here are details about the team: https://www.mq.edu.au/research/research-centres-groups-and-facilities/healthy-people/centres/hear/news-and-events/news/news-items/new-funding-for-indigenous-hearing-health

October 13, 2021

Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing Executive Meeting

Today the executive of the Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing met to discuss many issues including a new website and the forthcoming conference in South Korea in 2023. Manwa (Lawrence) Ng from Hong Kong SAR China is the outgoing president and Sue Ann Lee from USA is the incoming president for 2022.

October 12, 2021

Faculty of Arts and Education Faculty Board Meeting

This morning I attended and participated in the bi-monthly Faculty of Arts and Education Faculty Board Meeting for October which had a 373 page agenda. I am one of two Elected Members of the Professoriate on the Board. There are only 12 elected members on the board, the remainder are ex-officio positions, so we have an important voice. 

One highlight: "The Faculty is on track to deliver a balanced budget by the end of 2021, which is the result of a significant, focused effort by all budget centre managers over the last 18 months." (p. 23).

The FOAE Research Report was delivered at this meeting. It was great to see the significant contribution made by the School of Education and our FOR code 3903 (that includes Early Childhood Education, previously 1301).