Professor Field Rickards was appointed Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne in August 2004, following four years as an officer of the Academic Board (of which he was President 2003-July 2004). He was appointed to the Foundation Chair in Education of Hearing Impaired Children at The University of Melbourne in 1994 after four years of Reader in charge of the Deafness Studies Unit. Prior to this, he was Senior Lecturer in Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Melbourne, where he established Australia’s first post-graduate course in Audiology in 1974. He is a Fellow of the Audiological Society of Australia.
His research in the 1980s led to the commercial development of an automatic evoked response audiometer (ASSR) which can accurately measure hearing in infants. The system is manufactured in the US and has been translated into standard international practice as an important tool in the diagnostic assessment of very young infants and children who have failed hearing screens.
His move from audiology to education of the hearing impaired focussed his research on early detection (the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program) and early diagnosis of hearing impairment, early intervention (play development and social competence) and factors affecting educational outcomes for hearing impaired. He has had a close involvement with the Advisory Council of Children with Impaired Hearing, which has run a state-wide early intervention program since the early 1970s, and chaired the Victorian State Infant Hearing Working Group. The working group was the major catalyst for the introduction of Universal Newborn Screening in Victoria. He has studied the onset of Otitis Media in Aboriginal Infants in association with the Menzies School for Health Research in Darwin.
He was a recent co-investigator on the ARC funded Young Learner’s Project, a collaboration between t