Prof Cynthia White staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 83565

Prof Cynthia White

Professor in Applied Linguistics

School of Humanities

Research Director

CoHSS - Deputy PVC's Office

Cynthia White is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the School of Linguistics and International Languages, and has published two books (Cambridge University Press, Multilingual Matters), and over 60 articles and chapters on distance and online language learning, language and migration, and language, emotion and identity. In 2004 Cynthia received the International TESOL Virginia French Allen Award for Scholarship and Service to the TESOL profession. In 2008 she was invited presenter at the Bertelsmann Foundation, Berlin, on language, settlement and social cohesion among immigrant youth. She serves on the Editorial Boards of seven international journals including Language Learning & Technology, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, Language Teaching and Language Learning Journal. She was an invited member of the International Project on Language Learner Strategies (IPoLLS) (2004-2008), and serves as external expert at the US National Middle East Language Resource Centre for Arabic distance learning initiatives. Cynthia has completed collaborative research projects with the Open University UK and Nottingham University in online language teaching and has been plenary speaker at international conferences and workshops in Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, China, UK, Hawai'i and Malaysia.

Roles and Responsibilities

Cynthia White is Head of the School of Linguistics and International Languages, and a member of the Massey University Council and the Honorary Awards Committee. She is a member of Academic Board and of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Executive Group and serves on the Professorial Promotions Committee and the Maori Language Advisory Group. Nationally she has acted in advisory roles for the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the National Association of ESOL Home Tutor Schemes. She served as honorary member of the Research Committee, Centre for English Language Education, University of Nottingham, and is a member of the Humanities and Law PBRF Panel 2006-2012.

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Research Expertise

Research Interests

Research interests include strategies, emotion and identity in online and distance language learning, language and settlement issues for immigrants and refugees, and more recently discourses of national identity, resilience and belonging in transnational digital networks.


21st Century Citizenship

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics (200401): Languages, Communication And Culture (200000): Linguistics (200400)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Not Specified 1 0
Project Leader 5 5

Research Outputs


White, CJ. (2017, July). ”I felt the need to hide how I felt”: Emotion and agency in teacher narratives of conflict in a language class for immigrants and refugees. Presented at Emotissage Conference. Louvain-la-Neuve University, Belgium.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: White, C.
White, CJ. (2016, March). Locating autonomy practices in contemporary arenas for language learning. Presented at IATEFL Autonomy Conference. University of Antwerp.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: White, C.
White, CJ.Locating autonomy practices in contemporary arenas for language learning. . University of Antwerp
[Conference Paper]Authored by: White, C.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 4 13
CoSupervisor 1 4

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Thi Anh Hong Nguyen - PhD
    Emotion in second language acquisition in Vietnamese high school contexts.
  • Siti Nur Aini - PhD
    Figured Worlds as an identity frame in the learning experiences of multilingual English learners in Tegal – Banyumasan area, Central Java Indonesia
  • Panithi Amatayakul - PhD
    Teacher Cognition about Business English in the Thai Tertiary Context
  • Fahd Hamad A Alqasham - PhD
    "Virtual social networking mediated English language learning in the Saudi tertiary EFL context: Innovation and agency"

CoSupervisor of:

  • Lin Li - PhD
    A Corpus-based research on the use of verb and noun collocations by advanced English-speaking learners of Chinese and the construction of Chinese collocation knowledge database

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2016 - Huy Cuong Pham - PhD
    An ecological perspective on the motivational trajectories of high school students learning English in rural areas in Vietnam
  • 2014 - Hong Anh Pham - PhD
    Innovation and Identity in Web 2.0 Environments: Perspectives and Experiences of Vietnamese University Teachers and Learners of English
  • 2014 - Adele Jeannette Scott - PhD
    Teachers of additional languages in New Zealand schools: A national survey and case studies
  • 2014 - Jane Louise Kehrwald - PhD
    Towards An Understanding of Language Learner Development and Learners' Self-Concepts: An Exploratory Practice Approach
  • 2012 - Maryam Mariya - PhD
    'I dont learn at school, so I take tuition' An ethnographic study of classroom practices and private tuition settings in the Maldives
  • 2011 - Van Long Nguyen - PhD
    Computer-mediated collaborative learning in a Vietnamese tertiary EFL context
  • 2010 - Thitirat Suwannasom - PhD
    Teacher cognition about technology-mediated EFL instruction in the Thai tertiary context
  • 2009 - Arianna Berardi-Wiltshire - PhD
    Italian identity and heritage language motivation: Five stories of heritage learning in traditional foreign language courses in Wellington, New Zealand
  • 2008 - Elva Anne Shine - PhD
    Written feedback in a freshman writing course in the U.A.E: Instructors' and students' perspectives on giving, getting and using feedback
  • 2008 - Gillian Ray Skyrme - PhD
    Learning "blood lessons":Expectations,emerging issues and change for Chinese international students in a New Zealand university
  • 2006 - Miss Mei Fung Yong - PhD
    The Nature and Dynamics of Collaborative Writing in a Malaysian Tertiary ESL setting.
  • 2004 - Ms Ute Gerda Walker - PhD
    Language, Migration and Continuity of Being: Notions of Migrant Language Proficiency and Self-Concept among Multilingual Migrants in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
  • 2003 - Mr Hiroji Ishida - PhD
    Interpretation of contextualization cues in Japanese conversation: Back-channel cues and Turn-taking cues.

CoSupervisor of:

  • 2011 - Farzana Nisa Gounder - PhD
    Restorying Indenture: The first Fiji Hindi speakers Narrate Girmit.
  • 2007 - Bee Hoon Tan - PhD
    On-line Writing Laboratories and their application to ASEAN countries
  • 2005 - Mrs Penelope Anne Haworth - PhD
    Developing Praxis for a few Non-English Speaking Students in the Class.
  • 2001 - Mr Ian Samuel Christensen - PhD
    Ko te Whare Whakamana: Maori Language Revitalisation (Te Whakaora i te Reo Maori).

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