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.