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Dr Dorothy Economou

Dr Dorothy Economou

Dr Dorothy Economou

Academic Communication for Postgraduates, Faculty of Arts and Social Science
BA, MA, PhD (Sydney)

Consulation times: Please email for an appointment.

Dorothy has extensive experience teaching in universities in Australia and overseas. Since 1997, she has held positions at the University of Sydney, all with a focus on academic skills development - at The Learning Centre (2002-2011) and at The University of Sydney Foundation Programme (USFP) (1997-2002). As well as teaching, she developed the curriculum and materials for, among other courses, the one-year foundation course for ‘Media and Communication Studies’, still running at USFP, and a website for University of Sydney students, evaluating on-line academic skills courses and the online ‘Clearer Writing’ course, available on the Learning Centre website.

Her teaching experience, both in Australia and abroad, also includes professional teacher training for both in-service and Diploma courses, and lecturing undergraduates and postgraduates on language and linguistics, TESOL teaching/learning, academic skills and media and communications courses in Australia, at the University of Technology, Sydney, Wollongong University and the University of Sydney, as well as at universities abroad, in Finland and the U.K.

Research interests

Dorothy’s main research focus has been in applying functional theories of language to spoken and written discourse in learning environments. Her earlier research focused on spoken conversation for second language learners, later research on academic skills testing- and academic skills e-learning. Her most recent research interest combines her expertise in linguistics and discourse analysis with her cross-cultural experiences in journalism and media work. In her 2009 PhD, she has applied social semiotic descriptions of meaning to images and to image-text relations. Her thesis, entitled “Photos in the News: Appraisal Analysis of Visual Semiosis and Verbal-Visual Semiosis” extends present descriptions of visual grammar and explores how contemporary verbal-visual media texts in both English and Greek attitudinally position readers in respect to knowledge.


  • [In preparation] Telling a Different Story: Verbal-visual stance in civic journalism. In Critical Multimodal Studies of Popular Culture (Eds) S. Zhaou & E. Djonov. Routledge: U.K.
  • [In press] Standing out on Critical Issues: Evaluation in verbal-visual displays in English language news media. In Multimodal Texts Across Cultures (Ed) W. Bowcher. Continuum: U.K
  • 2010 Having it both ways: Images and text face off in the broadsheet feature story In Journalism and sense making: Reading the newspaper (Ed) V. Rupar. Hampton Press: U.K.
  • 2008 Pulling Readers In: News photos in Greek and Australian broadsheets In Communicating Conflict: Multilingual case studies of the news media (Eds) P. White & E. Thomson. Continuum Publications: U.K
  • 2006 The Big Picture: The role of lead image In Mediating Ideology in Text and Image (Eds) I. Larsenn, J. Strunck & T. Vestergaard. John Benjamins: Amsterdam
  • 1989 Systemic-Functional Linguistics and its application to TESOL curriculum in language development, In Language Development: Learning language, learning culture, (Eds) J. R. Martin and R. Hasan. vol XXVII, Ablex Publishing House
  • 1985 Coffee Break: understanding authentic Australian casual conversation (book, 2 cassettes, video for teachers), NSW Adult Migrant Education Service for the Adult Migrant Education Program: Sydney
  • 1984 The Academic Skills Test (AST) - Discipline-specific diagnostic language test for overseas postgraduate students, in-house Melbourne University publications

Recent Presentations

  • Free Linguistics Conference, University of Sydney, October, 2011 Telling a Different Story: verbal-visual stance in civic journalism
  • Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association Conference ASFLA, University of New England, September 2011 Telling a Different Story: verbal-visual stance in civic journalism
  • International Systemic Linguistics Conference 38, Lisbon, Portugal, July 2011 Playing to the Audience: editorial stance in verbal-visual news media
  • Free Linguistics International Conference, Sydney University, October 2010 Standing out on critical issues: verbal-visual appraisal in news media texts
  • 5th International Conference on Multimodality, University of Technology, Sydney, December 2010 Large pictures and bold words: attracting, engaging and distancing the reader
  • Free Linguistics International Conference, Sydney University, October 2009 Evaluative strategies in news photos
  • Semiotic Margins International Conference Sydney University, December 2007 Visual graduation: the flagging of attitude in news photos
  • International Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference Sydney University, September 2006 Wish you were here: The missing interpersonal dimension in e-learning
  • International Journalism Symposium, University of Hobart, December, 2006 Having it both ways: Images and text face off in broadsheet feature stories