School of Education language education academic, Associate Professor Honglin Chen, has been appointed as the new Associate Dean, Graduate Research.

The Associate Dean, Graduate Research contributes to higher degree research training and management at UOW, including guidance and implementation on policies and guidelines, recruitment and retention of research students, and matters related to supervision and thesis review.

A/Prof Chen’s research in language and literacy, funded by grants from organisations including the Australian Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council (UK), has made important contributions to language education by advancing knowledge on the development and classroom implementation of national education policy. She is currently the President of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia.

In the Faculty of Social Sciences, A/Prof Chen has been responsible for designing, developing and implementing strategies to establish a supportive and high quality research training environment through leadership roles including Research Training Director. She recently led the development of a collaborative platform for embedding transferrable skills in this area in partnership with the Centre of Doctoral Education at the University College London, funded by a UIC International Links grant.

In her role as Associate Dean, Graduate Research, A/Prof Chen will work closely with Dean of Research, Professor Tim Marchant, and Manager of the Graduate Research School, Susan Flint.

“As well as a strong track record in research and service, Honglin is a highly successful HDR supervisor. I look forward to working with her to continue to support our research students and our HDR supervisors to produce high quality, world-leading theses,” Prof Marchant said.

A/Prof Chen has supervised 17 doctoral students to completion on a range of topics relating to issues and challenges confronting the field of language education in the local and global contexts. They include the rapid decline in the languages study by school-aged children in Australia; lack of sustained growth in advanced literacy in school and tertiary contexts; and challenges in curricular innovation and implementation.

Her involvement in research degree supervision and mentorship has reinforced her view that research skills training is a key driver of innovation and future economic success, as it develops qualities that employers seek, such as independence and creativity.

“A higher degree by research offers an opportunity to develop in-depth disciplinary knowledge, advanced methodological expertise, critical perspectives, and many important transferrable skills such as communication, problem solving, team work, networking, and leadership.

“Although such intellectual pursuit at times requires some personal and financial commitment, the benefits of gaining personal and professional growth, broadening competencies, and a wider range of future career readiness, far exceed the short-term sacrifices”.

It is also a time of adaptation for supervisors and institutions, with the focus of research skills training now emphasising social impact and industry engagement, A/Prof Chen says.

“There is the drive towards social impact and industry engagement; the imperative towards producing research outputs which make a significant original contribution.”

The Graduate Research School at UOW is committed to providing an exceptional research training experience through training initiatives such as APR (Australian Postgraduate Research) and iAccelerate internships. As well as student support, UOW has recently launched Epigeum Supervising Doctoral Studies Modules to further assist supervisors to create a culture of excellence and innovation.

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