The year in review: 2018 highlights from the Head of Department

The year in review: 2018 highlights from the Head of Department

At the end of this academic year I would like to reflect on a few of the major events and accomplishments in the department in 2018. The year of Felicity (as the ARC funding successes below demonstrate)!

This has certainly been a productive year for linguistics. By my last count it has yielded an impressive 3 units in babies, maintaining our growth rate in 2017. We wish the three families much joy with their little ones: Claire had Ellis; Cassi had Preston, and finally, Sarah had Nolan (who also attended his first Linguistics party).

In terms of facilities, things have been challenging, but perhaps less so than in 2017. Joe Blythe was the least fortunate – how many times can an office be flooded? He will be issued with the necessary scuba gear in 2019. The audiology team did a quick decant and can’t wait to go on leave so that they can return to the renovated suite of offices on level 1 of the AHH during the first semester of 2018.

We welcomed a number of new staff members in the department:

  • Susan Hoadley, Sarah Forget and Xin Wang.
  • Anita Szakay’s position was converted to continuing.
  • We had a number of promotions in the department again this year with two new professors, Felicity Cox and Jan-Louis Kruger, one associate professor, Peter Roger, Three level Cs, Cassi Liardet, Joe Blythe and Nick Wilson, and one level B, Nan Xu Rattanasone.
  • We also had some movement in the management team:
    • Peter Roger is back for a further terms as Program Director for Applied Linguistics and TESOL;
    • Jing Fang is taking on the role of acting director of Translation and Interpreting, taking over from John Knox who did an amazing job under very difficult circumstances to steer the group in 2018;
    • Mridula Sharma is taking on the role of Program Director of the Master of Clinical Audiology;
    • she is relieved as Director of Higher Degree Research by Haidee Kruger.
  • Good luck to all of them in these important service roles and thank you to the outgoing directors.
  • We also say goodbye to two long-time staff members, Deborah Mayishita and Adrian Buzo who have made important contributions to T&I over many years.


I’d like to start by thanking our broader support team:

  • Collette Ryan who spends nights keeping the cogs turning and patiently deals with the sometimes very unreasonable demands we place on her.
  • Hiranya Anderson who manages a broad range of tasks (including international visitors and honorary appointments), and brings as much order as can be achieved on my diary, not to mention reconciling messy credit cards.
  • Margaret Woods who quietly labours to meet a huge set of staff and student needs.
  • Then the student office who offers an important buffer between the sea of student queries and academics.
  • The clinics staff who have been through a gruelling couple of years and are in the middle of major changes.
  • Garry and the rest of the IT team: Alfred, Lalana, Leigh, Rohit, Sandeep and Varghese who have served us so diligently over the past years and are moving into a new era.

Learning and Teaching

We survived the Curriculum Architecture project under the leadership of the program directors, with special mention to Felicity Cox, and of course Kylie Coaldrake.

  • All staff involved in the 2020 curriculum project are to be commended for the additional work they so adeptly carried out, resulting in all our courses in all programs passing through the channels and finally through ASQC.
  • Phil Chappell and Nick Wilson have done an incredible job steering complex L&T processes and ran a very successful L&T planning day, which will be repeated in February.
  • John Knox was part of the Peer Review of Learning and Teaching group that received a Dean's Award.
  • Susan Hoadley and Maria Herke were both awarded Senior Fellowships of the Higher Education Academy, and Loy Lising a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, an amazing accomplishment and testimony to the quality of their work.
  • Academic Success: A student's guide to studying at university by Jean Brick, Nick Wilson, Deanna Wong & Maria Herke was published, bringing the department’s existing expertise in academic communication and student learning to a global audience.
  • Loy Lising faced some challenges and receives an honorary Sherlock Holmes mention.
  • One of our HDR students received research excellence awards at the full faculty meeting.
  • We also ended the year with a very successful HDR showcase organised by our HDR student committee.
  • At the full faculty meeting Pam Peters received the Research Translation Award; Jae-Hyun Kim received the Early Career Researcher Award; and Phil Benson the Research Service Award.


In research we had a tremendously successful year.

  • We hover tenaciously around the top 50 mark in the QS rankings by discipline.
  • Linguistics was involved in 3 successful ARC Grants, maintaining our momentum in this area.

The total funding secured by Linguistics staff exceeds $2m, with most of that being on external grants.


  • Category 1: ARC successes
    • Felicity Cox: Future Fellowship ($1.1m)
    • Felicity Cox (with Jonathan Harrington): Discovery Project ($347k)
    • Felicity Cox, Katherine Demuth, Titia Benders: UNSW-led LIEF grant
    • Ingrid Piller was one of eight international researchers to receive this year’s Anneliese Maier Research Award, valued at €250,000 and designed to finance research collaboration with specialist colleagues in Germany
  • Macquarie Internal – renewal of the MQRC in Language Sciences (2019-2021):
  • Bespoke scholarship (research support sums of $35,000 from advancement for research that builds or supports bilateral links with China or Hong Kong):
    • Nan Xu ($35k)
  • Macquarie DVCR funding to Ingrid Piller to support 2019 Humboldt Kolleg to be hosted at MQ (funds split across 2018 [$5,000] and 2019 [$15,000])
  • ALS research grant:
    • Loy Lising – $5k
  • Innovation Connections Grant: Pam Peters and Jan-Louis Kruger were part of a successful application $16k – VisibleThread Technical Readability Checker Interface
  • Cochlear Hearing and the Brain Fund to David McAlpine – Developing an Electrophysiological Test Battery for Cochlear Implantation ($100k)
  • Cochlear – Mridula Sharma – Disentangling clinical, functional outcomes in adults with cochlear implants: changing care sandard ($21k)
  • Garnett-Passe grant for $352k (includes Cath McMahon and David McAlpine) to support the gene-therapy clinical trial being undertaken with UNSW


  • Macquarie University Hearing Strategy Framework Green Paper made available for review and feedback (Monday December 10th) after extended consultation, including the Hearing Festival of Ideas, held on Friday August 10th).
  • Book launch at a State Library of NSW lecture (Saturday December 15th):
  • Major journal article co-authored by David McAlpine and published in Nature Communications (2017 Impact factor 12.353) on October 16th 2018.
  • Finally, Vera Williams Tetteh is the 2019 recipient of the announcement of the 2019 Chitra Fernandez Fellowship.

May you and your loved ones have a wonderful summer break, and may 2019 bring everything you could possibly hope for.


Content owner: Department of Linguistics Last updated: 18 Mar 2020 9:07am

Back to the top of this page