RIDBC Education Expert wins Griffith Alumnus Award

Professor Greg Leigh Professor Leigh has won the inaugural Griffith University Arts, Education & Law Alumnus of the Year Award

Professor Greg Leigh of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) has won the inaugural Griffith University Arts, Education & Law Alumnus of the Year Award for his outstanding contribution to the education of deaf children both nationally and internationally.

Having received his first degree in special Education from Griffith University, Professor Leigh has gone on to be actively engaged in research and postgraduate training for teachers and other professionals engaged in the education of children with impaired hearing.

Director of RIDBC Renwick Centre for Research and Professional Education and Conjoint Professor of Special Education at the University of Newcastle, Professor Leigh said it was a privilege to receive the award.

“My very early decision to train as a teacher of the deaf by studying at Griffith University was the key to a career and opportunities that I could never have imagined.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Arts, Education and Law) Professor Paul Mazerolle said the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University was pleased to honour the internationally respected academic.

“In teacher training, educational scholarship, innovation and research, Professor Leigh is an outstanding Alumnus of Griffith University,” said Professor Mazerolle. “He has received this award for educational leadership and advocacy at institutional, state, national and international level.”

Professor Leigh’s research has focussed on communication access for deaf children. As Chairman of the Australasian Newborn Hearing Screening Committee he has been a leading advocate for screening and early intervention for children with impaired hearing.

“A career highlight has been my involvement in advocacy for and development of newborn hearing screening across Australia,” he said. “Where children who are deaf used to be diagnosed at two to three years of age, their families can now access early intervention services within weeks of birth.

“Intensive early support greatly improves the outcomes for these young children, particularly in language development. Along with many colleagues, I am proud to have been part of the successful campaign which now sees 98% of Australian newborns screened for hearing impairment at birth.”

Professor Greg Leigh holds degrees in Special Education from Griffith University; a Master of Science (Speech and Hearing) degree from Washington University (Central Institute for the Deaf) and a PhD in Special Education from Monash University. In 2001 he was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators.

In July the Deafness Foundation awarded Professor Leigh the Peter Howson Medal for “Outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of Education of the Deaf”.

The RIDBC Renwick Centre, in affiliation with the University of Newcastle, conducts world-leading research and offers postgraduate courses in a range of fields relating to the development and education of children with hearing or vision impairment.

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children provides vital support to over 1000 children with significant hearing and/or vision impairment and their families across Australia. As well, RIDBC provides vision and hearing screening to around 2000 babies and children each year.

For more information about RIDBC, visit www.ridbc.org.au.

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