Linda Tapsell

Emeritus Professor 2022

Citation delivered by Senior Professor Eileen Mclaughlin Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science Medicine and Health at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Linda Tapsell as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 4 May 2022.

Vice-Chancellor and President, I present Professor Linda Clare Tapsell AM.

A passionate educator and internationally recognised expert in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics, Linda Tapsell’s contribution to UOW since commencing as a lecturer in 1990, has been exemplary. Linda joined UOW with fifteen years professional experience as a Dietitian and has had a career at UOW extending more than thirty years. Through her research and broader academic leadership, Linda became a highly sought-after mentor and role model, leaving a legacy far greater than just her personal academic achievements.

Linda grew up in southern Sydney and completed her Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry and Pharmacology) and a Graduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney. She then went on to complete a Master of Health Personnel Education from the University of NSW whilst working for NSW Health as a Senior Community Nutritionist. In 1996, taking another big step in the early years, Linda completed her PhD (Nutrition and Public Health) at UOW, all the while, teaching fulltime and raising three small children.

Linda was a foundation member of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences and the Department of Public Health & Nutrition, designing and initiating the Nutrition and Dietetics Programs at UOW with Professor Heather Yeatman in 1990. Linda cites the support from the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken McKinnon AO, and the first accreditation site visit, as an auspicious beginning to Nutrition & Dietetics at UOW.  

Linda is an incredible advocate for scientific rigour in research and for the many dietitians she has mentored and selflessly assisted in their careers. Linda worked with Professor Len Storlien to champion metabolic research and the role of nutrition in chronic disease and, in 1999, helped lead the UOW team to establish the Australian Research Council Key Centre for Smart Foods. This centre’s achievements then lead to the successful bid for the National Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods in partnership with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Department of Primary Industries-Victoria and Food Science Australia. As Director of both, Linda oversaw a science program of food-based research and projects with industry, integrating nutrition concepts into food innovation, extending opportunities for nutrition research at UOW enormously.

Linda is a Fellow of both the Nutrition Society of Australia and Dietitians Australia, and an Emeritus Member of the American Society of Nutrition. The American Society for Nutrition have also just announced Linda will be inducted into its Class of 2022 Fellows. To be inducted as a Fellow of the Society is the highest honor the American Society for Nutrition bestows, recognizing individuals for significant discoveries and distinguished careers in the field of nutrition.  In 2015 Linda was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her ‘significant service to health science as an academic and clinician specialising in diet and nutrition’. She has continued to work in this area as a member of Food Standards Australia New Zealand Consumer and Public Health Dialogue, Chairing the Sodium Expert Working Group of the Nutrient Reference Values under the National Health and Medical Research Council, and sits on various steering committees for food-based research.

Linda’s teaching and research career has seen her supervise and mentor many graduates on to successful academic careers and other amazing career paths working in healthcare services, government agencies and food industry across the country. During her 30 years at UOW Linda has extensively published and her work is widely cited. She has supervised numerous research projects and continues her relationship with UOW to this day.

Vice-Chancellor and President, even in retirement, Linda continues to assist with PhD supervision, guest lectures and mentoring of UOW staff. A pre-eminent dietitian nationally and internationally Linda has made an enormous contribution to both her field and UOW. Her ongoing relationship will benefit staff and students and continue to add to the reputation of Nutrition and Dietetics and health research at UOW into the future. An outstanding scholar, teacher and leader, Linda epitomises the principles of this award we present to her here today.

It is a privilege to present Professor Linda Clare Tapsell AM to be admitted as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.