The Distinguished Professor award is the highest academic honour Macquarie can bestow on a member of our academic community, recognising professors who have made an outstanding contribution to their field of scholarship or discipline and to the University.
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.