National honour for world-leading speech-language academic

10 NOVEMBER 2022

National honour for world-leading speech-language academic

A leading Charles Sturt University academic and researcher has received the honour of being elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA).

  • A significant national honour added to distinctions for a world-leading academic at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst
  • Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition Sharynne McLeod elected Fellow to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
  • Prodigious teaching, research and international contribution underpins latest acclaim

A leading Charles Sturt University academic and researcher has received the honour of being elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA).

Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition in the Charles Sturt School of Education in Bathurst  Sharynne McLeod (pictured above on left with Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon) has been elected ‘For outstanding contributions to research on child speech development and advocacy for communication rights for children across language and cultures’. She has been elected to one of four Panels of the Academy - Panel D: Education, Psychology, Social Medicine.

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is an independent, interdisciplinary body of elected Fellows. Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences (FASSA) is an honour conferred for scholarly distinction in research or the advancement of social sciences. There are 651 elected Fellows, including 26 overseas Fellows and 15 Honorary Fellows.

Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon met Professor McLeod to congratulate her on the Fellowship.

“I am delighted Professor McLeod’s professional expertise and diligence has been nationally recognised and I congratulate her for this rare honour,” Professor Leon said.

“Professor McLeod’s professional dedication exemplifies the manifestation of both the University motto, ‘For the public good’, and the University ethos embodied by the Wiradjuri expression yindyamarra winhanganah, ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’.

“She is a model of the highest order for her students and colleagues to aspire to emulate, and I thank her for her contribution to the University and society.”

Professor McLeod thanked the Vice-Chancellor and executive colleagues for their support and encouragement for her research, her students and her speech-language acquisition colleagues at the University and across the world.

“I look forward to the opportunities that this Fellowship will bring,” she said.

Professor McLeod will deliver a keynote address to the more than 10,000 attendees at the 2022 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in New Orleans from Thursday 17 to Saturday 10 November, having been invited as a ‘thought leader for the world on children’s communication’.

Professor McLeod also recently represented the International Association of Communication Sciences and Disorders (IALP) at the 73rd session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific by ZOOM on Wednesday 26 October.

The mission of the IALP is to improve the quality of life of individuals with disorders of communication, speech, language, voice, hearing and swallowing.

Professor McLeod restated the IALP’s commitment to the WHO goal of ‘reaching the unreached’, and how communication disability is an invisible yet highly prevalent disability.

She noted that the IALP has celebrated its 100th anniversary by publishing a 142-page book titled The Unserved – Addressing the needs of those with communication disorders which features contributions by six Charles Sturt University authors – academics Professor McLeod, Associate Professor Sarah Verdon, Dr Suzanne Hopf; adjunct Dr Ben Pham; and PhD students Van Tran and Kate Margetson. These Charles Sturt contributors represent the single largest block of university expertise provided to this international publication.

The book is free and is available on the IALP website.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Professor Sharynne McLeod, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via

Photo: Professor Sharynne McLeod (left) with Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon

Professor McLeod’s ‘impact profile’ for the Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences notes:

The Australian newspaper annually profiles the top 250 individuals in fields of research and announces the Field Leader and Lead Institution for each field. Professor McLeod was identified as the ‘World Leader in Audiology, Speech and Language Pathology’ in 2019, and Australia’s Research Field Leader in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022. Charles Sturt University was the Lead Institution in 2018 and 2019.

This international achievement reflected her legacy of leading teams to undertake ground-breaking impactful international research into multilingual children’s speech and communication rights and building world-class research capacity.

Her interdisciplinary Speech-Language-Multilingualism team are innovators who have undertaken pioneering international research that changes children’s lives and recognises the resourcefulness and knowledge of others.

Professor McLeod and her team have championed the cause of communication rights, promoted multicultural issues and demonstrated respect and value for differing backgrounds, cultures and languages. Her Multilingual Children’s Speech website has resources in over 60 languages.

Professor McLeod is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, has been an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, and awarded ARC Discovery and Linkage Grants focussing on children's speech.

She was the first international recipient of the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a Life Member of Speech Pathology Australia.

She is the founding chair of both the Child Speech Committee of the International Association of Communication Sciences (IALP) and the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, and was Vice President of the International Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics Association for 13 years.

She was founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (Taylor & Francis) (2005-2013) and edited a special issue on communication rights which she presented at the United Nations in 2019.

Professor McLeod has provided expertise into the children and youth version of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and the Rehabilitation Competency Framework for the World Health Organization.

She is on the editorial board of journals including: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics; Child Language Teaching and Therapy; Advances in Communication and Swallowing; and Speech, Language and Hearing.

She is a Board Certified Member of the American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders.

Professor McLeod is a transformative mentor for rural, first-generation, and women scholars, building research capacity and positioning these innovative social science researchers as leaders.

Her students have been awarded with: Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship, Churchill Fellowship, ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA), Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, Australian Awards Scholarship, Sir Robert Menzies Research Scholarship, NSW/ACT Young Achievers Award for Science Leadership, SCOPUS Young Researcher Award for Humanities and Social Sciences.

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