We are pleased to announce the appointment of Elin Thordardottir, PhD, as Associate Dean and Director, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders (SCSD), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), effective September 1, 2024. Prof. Thordardottir will replace Susan Rvachew, PhD, who has served in this role since 2019. Included among the highlights of Prof. Rvachew’s term, are the planning and implementation of the new M.Sc. (A) program for speech-language pathology training, the raising of funds to begin both an on-site clinic for children with speech and language disorders and the Scaringi Lecture Series, as well as provincial government funding to support curricula for working with Indigenous communities. We thank Prof. Rvachew for her leadership of the School these past five years.

Prof. Thordardottir is a three-time graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she obtained a BA in Liberal Arts (major in Communication Disorders), an MSc in Communicative Disorders, receiving a dual degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and a PhD in Communicative Disorders.

At the SCSD, Prof. Thordardottir is Graduate Program Director and Chair of the Research Committee in addition to being Full Professor. She is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Iceland. During a sabbatical year in 2016-2017, Prof. Thordardottir was a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, Poland, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, as well as a visiting scientist at Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language in San Sebastián, Spain.

From 2013 to 2021, Prof. Thordardottir was the Scientific Director of the Institut Raymond-Dewar at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR). From 2015-2019, she led a European Union COST Action network on Developmental Language Disorder as Vice-Chair.

Fluent in Icelandic, English and French, Prof. Thordardottir’s research focuses on language development and Developmental Language Disorder in children and adolescents in bilingual and multilingual environments, with an emphasis on assessment, intervention and educational policy. She has developed several diagnostic and assessment tools to detect language impairments in children.

Her research program has been funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, RANNÍS, the Icelandic Research Fund, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture and by European Union COST Actions.

In addition to her work at McGill, Prof. Thordardottir has been a researcher at the ReykjavíkurAkademían in Reykjavik, Iceland, for more than 20 years, and is currently Chair of ECHO, a European research network on Developmental Language Disorder.

Prof. Thordardottir is the author of 65 refereed research publications in addition to articles for professional and public audiences, has made numerous appearances in media and podcasts, and has given more than 60 invited research talks and more than 60 invited continuing education workshops and presentations to professional and public audiences. Since 2019, she has been on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Communication Disorders.

As Associate Dean and Director of the SCSD, Prof. Thordardottir will be responsible for leading the educational mission of both the clinical and research programs and for setting the scientific priorities and goals of the School. Prof. Thordardottir will also be a member of the FMHS leadership team and will work closely with leaders across the Faculty to sustain and enhance a collaborative inter-professional and interdisciplinary academic culture.

Prof. Thordardottir will also oversee the SCSD’s collaborative ties with the programs and departments of Psychology, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Otolaryngology and Biomedical Engineering at McGill, the McGill Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music, the CRIR, the Montreal Neurological Institute and other Québec universities. She will also maintain national and international educational and research collaborations.

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Thordardottir on her appointment and wishing her every success in her new role.


Lesley Fellows, MDCM, DPhil
Vice-President (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
and Health Sciences

Christian Pineau, MDCM
Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs