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Professor Tonya Stebbins

Board Chair

Pronouns: she/her

Tonya is a member of Lirata's leadership team and a senior staff member in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University.

Tonya has a strong track record of work in the education sector and more recently, the human services sector.

Tonya's academic career has spanned over 25 years and included appointments as a researcher, lecturer, Head of Department of Languages and Linguistics, and Associate Director of the Centre for Research on Language Diversity. She currently holds the position of Deputy Head of School (Coursework) in La Trobe University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her previous appointments in the school include Acting Director of Research, and Director of Teaching and Learning, Postgraduate Coursework. Tonya also Chaired La Trobe’s College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce College Human Research Ethics Sub Committee.

Tonya has long experience in mentoring other researchers, supervision of postgraduate students and management of interdisciplinary research projects. She has a strong track record of publication of academic papers, books and community-oriented materials.

Tonya has undertaken a number of consultancy engagements with Lirata, focusing on research, evaluation and organisational development. In her consulting work Tonya works closely with health, community services and education providers to improve organisational systems and to engage staff, clients and other stakeholders in positive change. In addition to her work with La Trobe University and with Lirata, Tonya manages Languagewise, a consultancy specialising in innovative strategies for language development and education. In that role she has worked with schools and teachers to improve policy and practice in a range of areas including literacy, cross-cultural communication and responses to diversity.

Tonya has outstanding qualitative research and writing skills, with a focus on identifying the key themes and factors that play the strongest role in organisational success. Her research interests focus on diversity, social inclusion, discourse analysis, research ethics, and the politics and social dimensions of language development and renewal. She is currently leading research projects in relation to communication within the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and effective use of interpreters in family violence service provision.

Tonya recently completed a role as the Chief Investigator on the Meeting Point Project, an Australian Research Council funded Linkage Project in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages. She has strong skills in stakeholder engagement, particularly with marginalised groups. Tonya has lived and worked in Canada and Papua New Guinea as well as Australia.

Tonya has a PhD in Linguistics and a Certificate IV in Assessment and Training. Tonya is a member of the Australian Evaluation Society.


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