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Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Time of assuming the current leadership role

In September 2017, Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Previous experience and education

Helen Kelly-Holmes is Professor of Applied Languages in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and is an active member of the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), having previously served as Director of the Centre.

Helen holds an Adjunct Professorship in Discourse Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Helen is a graduate of the University of Limerick, where she studied Marketing and German (1987-1991). She completed her PhD in 1995 at Aston University Birmingham on the topic of advertising as a new discourse in the former German Democratic Republic. She took up a Lectureship in German at Aston University in Birmingham in 1995, and joined University of Limerick in 2002 as a UL Foundation Research Scholar (2002-2007). She was appointed as a Lecturer in Sociolinguistics in 2007 and was appointed to the Chair in Applied Languages in 2015.

Helen was, up to recently, Co-Editor-in-Chief (with Kate Menken, CUNY) of Language Policy (published by Springer), the leading journal in the field, and of Palgrave's long-running Language and Globalization book series (with Sue Wright).

Research/Professional interests

Helen’s research concerns sociolinguistics, the study of language in society, and focuses on the interrelationship between media, markets, technologies and languages. She is particularly interested in the economic aspects of multilingualism, especially in relation to minority languages and the global political economy of English and has published widely in a range of leading journals.  Recent books include: Sociolinguistics from the Periphery: Small Languages in New Circumstances (Cambridge University Press, 2016); Language and the Media (Routledge Critical Concepts in Linguistics 2015).

For a full list of publications see:

Areas of responsibility

  • Leadership, governance and management of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, which includes the following units:
    • Department of History
    • Department of Politics and Public Administration
    • Department of Sociology
    • Irish World Academy of Music and Dance
    • School of Law
    • School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics
    • School of English, Irish and Communication (including Aonad na Gaeilge)
    • University of Limerick Language Centre
  • Accountable for the academic programmes within the Faculty
  • Staffing and resourcing in the Faculty
  • Quality in research teaching and processes
  • Risk Management
  • Budgetary control
  • Member of the University’s Executive Committee and Academic Council
  • Chairs Faculty Board and Management Committee
  • Develops and implements the University’s vision and strategy.