She received the accolade after defending her thesis entitled 'Deaf Education: Changed by cochlear implantation ' in front of a delegation of professors from the UK, The Netherlands and Germany.
For a Teacher of the Deaf to be awarded this was highly unusual and her promoters, Professor Cor Cremers from the University Medical Center of St Radboud and Professor Gerry O'Donoghue from the University of Nottingham were delighted to share such a special occasion. Professor Cor Cremers commented: "This very special and rare distinction is only given in about 2 % of the PhD Theses in Nijmegen and mainly for non-clinical PhD Theses.
"The PhD promotion committee made the award following the great social impact of Sue's work on society, especially for deaf children and their families and the multi-disciplinarity of her approach to study the outcomes of cochlear implantation in children."
Sue's thesis documented the changes that the introduction of cochlear implants has made to the education implications of deafness in childhood - and provides the evidence that she and colleagues had published over the years. Cochlear implantation has dramatically changed educational choices - with a move towards the use of spoken language, to mainstream education and an improvement in educational attainments.
Sue said: "The answer to the question is - yes, deaf education has changed - but not yet enough to maximize the educative benefit of the exciting hearing technologies available. There remains so much to be done, particularly in the area of multi-professional research and training.
"I am proud to have received my PhD in Nijmegen, a prestigious University with whom we have strong links"
Copies of Sue's thesis are available from www.earfoundation.org.uk