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 ISSUE 4   MARCH 2003  
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Meeting the members of our External Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB)


P. David Pearson, Network ESAB member

Catherine E. Snow, Network ESAB member

Max Coltheart, Network ESAB member

Charles Watson, Network ESAB member








The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network's External Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) was established to ensure that appropriate international assistance is available to guide the Network's research programs. The ESAB currently contains four internationally recognized leaders in the language and literacy field. These researchers contribute expertise across a diverse range of research areas and methodologies relevant to our activities. The group's collective expertise thus contributes in many ways to the improvement of The Network's overall research strategy.

During the 2002 funding cycle, independent, external advice from ESAB members assisted in the selection of new projects, guided the development of ongoing projects, and helped The Network's management to identify areas in which new projects might be developed.

The Network is extremely grateful for the contributions made by our four ESAB members: P. David Pearson, Catherine E. Snow, Max Coltheart and Charles Watson who have been helping us to advance the language and literacy research agenda in Canada. Below, we are pleased to introduce these outstanding researchers to you in more detail by providing brief biographies of each one.

P. David Pearson, PhD, is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Berkeley, Dr. Pearson served as Dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and as the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Education at Michigan State University. Pearson's areas of expertise include early reading and literacy evaluation. At Illinois, he was the co-director of the Center for the Study of Reading. At Michigan, he co-directed the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA), which is a nationally prominent and funded research institute.

Dr. Pearson has received numerous awards for his work on reading, including the William S. Gray Citation of Merit from the International Reading Association and the Oscar Causey Award for Contributions to Reading Research from the National Reading Conference.

Dr. Pearson's publications include The Handbook of Reading Research, now in its third volume; and Reading Difficulties: Instruction and Assessment, in its second edition.

Catherine E. Snow, PhD is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an expert on language and literacy development in children and her research focuses on how oral language skills are acquired and how these skills relate to literacy outcomes. Dr. Snow has chaired a National Academy of Sciences committee that prepared the report, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

Dr. Snow's current research activities include:

  • a longitudinal study of language and literacy skills among low-income children who have been followed for 13 years, since age three;
  • attempts to develop consensus among teacher-educators concerning what pre- and in-service reading teachers need to know about language and about literacy;
  • following the language development of young children participating in the Early Head Start intervention;
  • studying the vocabulary development of first- and second-language learners;
  • and considering aspects of transfer from first to second language in the domains of language and literacy.

Dr. Snow has also written about bilingualism and its relation to language policy issues such as bilingual education in the United States and in developing nations and about testing policy.

Max Coltheart, PhD held academic appointments and grants in Canada and Great Britain before returning to his native Australia, where he is currently the director of the Centre for Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney. A cognitive scientist, with a primary interest in cognitive neuropsychology, he is the founding editor of Cognitive Neuropsychology - the leading journal in this field. His areas of research include acquired and developmental disorders of language and of semantic memory, neuropsychiatry studies, and computational modelling of cognitive processes. Dr. Coltheart currently holds an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship, and he is one of only two scientists who are Fellows of both the Australian Academies of Social Sciences (elected in 1988) and of Science (elected in 2001). His awards include the Australian Research Council's Special Investigator award for 1998-2000 and the 1999 award of a Special Research Centre in the field of Cognitive Science and Neuropsychology.

Many Network members will remember Dr. Coltheart from the 2002 Annual Scientific Conference, as he was a keynote speaker.

Charles Watson, PhD is a renowned senior scientist at Indiana University, teaching courses in psychoacoustics, psychophysical methods, current research in audiology, and industrial audiology. His research interests include noise-induced deafness, auditory evoked responses, and studies of the auditory abilities of normal-hearing and of hearing-impaired listeners. Current work includes studies of the ability to "hear out" the details of complex auditory patterns, and individual differences in those abilities. Dr. Watson is also involved in the development of computer-based training aids for use in teaching children and adults to produce intelligible speech. He brings expertise in the areas of sensory and biological processes contributing to the development of language and literacy-related cognitive skills.

Dr. Watson also serves as Director of the IU Institute for the Study of Human Capabilities.


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