2019 Richard C. Tees Distinguished Leadership Award Winner: Dr. Debra Titone

Dr. Debra Titone is a respected and important leader in Canadian Psychology and the CSBBCS community. She has made significant impact through her innovative psychological research, her extensive involvement in Canadian organizations and committee work, and her sustained efforts to advance the knowledge and skills of trainees in the field.

Dr. Titone is a world leader in the field of psycholinguistic research, with a specific focus on multilingualism and reading. As a Tier-2 CRC (2003-2013) and Full Professor since 2014, she has conducted ground-breaking work on the cognitive mechanisms of language processing – particularly in the area of figurative language and bilingualism – that has had significant impact in the research community and beyond. She has pushed the boundaries of her research, either incorporating new techniques (e.g., portable eye tracking devices) or providing new interpretations of important human cognitive functions that change the research landscape. Dr. Titone has received more than 80 invitations for talks, symposia, and colloquia from across the globe. She has published more than 70 peer reviewed articles in psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, including publications in top-tier journals such as Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Neuropsychologia; and PNAS. Her work has been supported by NSERC since 2003, SSHRC grants, and provincial grants in Quebec (FRQNT).

As a Canadian psychologist, Dr. Titone makes extraordinary efforts to promote science and psychological research within our country. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology since 2013 and last year assumed the role as Associate Editor. She has served on CIHR and NSERC granting evaluation panels; she is a current member of the NSERC Discovery Grants Adjudication Committee (Evaluation Group 1502, since 2017). She has organized numerous symposia and workshops within Canada, including methodological training sessions. In addition, Dr. Titone also served on the CSBBCS Executive as a member-at-large from 2015 to 2018.

A particular noteworthy example of Dr. Titone’s dedication to the advancement of Canadian psychology is her role as co-founder of the NSERC/CSBBCS-funded Women in Cognitive Science – Canada (WiCSC) organization. Established in 2016, WiCSC has developed quickly into a thriving national organization, with membership in the hundreds, busy social media channels, an awards program, annual meetings, and a national advisory board. Dr. Titone’s foundational role in WiCSC reflects her strong commitment to making our discipline as inclusive as possible.

Dr. Titone also serves as an exemplary ambassador for Canadian cognitive science in her international service activities, as Associate Editor of Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, as an Officer of the US-based Women in Cognitive Science (WiCS) Society, through committee work for the European Conference on Eye Movements and the Society for Neurobiology of Language, her membership on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Review Panels, and on the Editorial Boards of international journals such as Bilingualism: Language & Cognition.

Dr. Titone’s extraordinary leadership and commitment is also felt within McGill University. She was an elected Council Member of the McGill Association of University Teachers, and co-organized Tenure & Mentoring workshops through this association. She has chaired ethics review boards and served on numerous fellowship review committees. Dr. Titone has also been a member of many Departmental committees and served as Graduate Program Director.

Dr. Titone is a strong leader and role model for many trainees. Her students have gone on to obtain successful postdocs at Harvard and MIT, tenure track professorships, and positions in industry. Dr. Titone received the Feminist Mentoring Award from the Section of Women and Psychology at the 2017 Canadian Psychological Association conference.