On Friday 24 April 2015 Prof. Y.R.M. (Roelien) Bastiaanse has been made a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Prof. Roelien Bastiaanse (1955) is Professor of Neurolinguistics and an acclaimed researcher in the field of problems with verb tenses and grammatical disorders. She studies the linguistic and neurological implications of aphasia, and ensures that her research has a practical impact on diagnosing and treating aphasia.
Bastiaanse enjoys an outstanding reputation as an expert in neurolinguistics, and in aphasiology in particular. She is a world-famous pioneer and leading researcher in her field, who has given a significant, internationally acknowledged boost to innovations in research, education, the training of young researchers and patient care. The numbers of invitations to give lectures and seats on editorial boards and independent committees of international experts bear testimony to her exceptional qualities.
Bastiaanse has an outstanding record in acquiring research funding. She has been awarded grants by various academic bodies, including the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), as well many other parties. This has enabled her to make a unique contribution to the field of neurolinguistics. With more than 150 publications and conference documents to her name, calling Bastiaanse productive would be an understatement. She publishes an average of 8 to 10 articles per year, which is way above the average for linguistics. Her work is renowned, has a huge impact and is widely quoted. In addition, she heads an outstanding research group, which obtained almost the highest scores possible during a recent assessment procedure.
Bastiaanse boasts an excellent knowledge and research network, in the worlds of both research and education. Her network has gained national and international recognition. She has shown herself capable of realizing various innovations extending beyond the boundaries of her own degree programme, which have reinforced the field of linguistics as a whole. For example, Bastiaanse was the brains behind several innovative, socially relevant and pioneering teaching programmes, which she designed partly in association with the university of applied sciences sector and partly within her international network. She was responsible for launching the Neurolinguistics specialization, one of the two basic components of the Linguistics degree programme. This, and Bastiaanse’s innovatory, inspirational style of lecturing, vastly improved the reach of the programme and has been a huge incentive for countless students. The European Master’s in Clinical Linguistics, set up by Bastiaanse in 1999, is evidence of her willingness to cross the boundaries of regular teaching programmes (in both the literal and the figurative sense). This programme has been attracting the most talented students from around the world for the last two decades.
Together with Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Bastiaanse devised a unique Speech and Language Pathology programme, which allows university students to train as a speech therapist alongside their degree programme, and university of applied sciences students to take an academic Master’s degree programme. This combination is so unique that it was mentioned in the New York Times. In 2004, the programme was one of the first to be assigned the Erasmus Mundus Master of Excellence status, which includes European funding. A Joint Doctorate track, IDEALAB, has now been added to the programme. The first two University of Groningen students to take this joint PhD track, which is taught at several universities, were recently conferred with joint PhDs. Bastiaanse was one of the first professors at the University of Groningen to internationalize research and teaching systematically. During the process, Bastiaanse remained undeterred by the incomplete official regulations and legislation that got in her way.
Bastiaanse also pays a lot of professional and personal attention to her PhD students. Seventeen of the students she supervises have already been conferred with a PhD and another 7 are on track. This is a staggering number for one professor, and unique in international terms. But Prof. Bastiaanse has never seen teaching and research as a goal in itself. She has always used her results to help develop treatment plans and test methods for use in diagnosing and treating patients. She works closely with professionals and patients in the health service. Bastiaanse was also the driving force behind the Groningen Center of Expertise for Language and Communication Disorders (GELC), where academic research and patient care go hand-in-hand. She recently designed an application for a tablet computer to replace printed language tests. The first trials were greeted enthusiastically by both therapists and patients. This unique aphasia diagnostic tool for tablets is the first of its kind in the world and due to be released soon. This is yet more evidence of how Bastiaanse is able to put her extraordinary academic ability into practice in order to benefit not only science, but also people with language and communication disorders.
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