The MPA Supervisor of the Year Award

The MPA Supervisor of the Year award was created to acknowledge and celebrate excellence in research supervision practice and has been presented annually since 1992.

The MPA award is truly a decision of the postgraduate community. Supervisors are nominated by their postgraduate students and entries are judged by an independent subcommittee of research postgraduates drawn from the MPA Executive Committee.

2017 MPA Supervisor of the Year Award - Stay tuned for award winner announcement!

Nominations for the 2017 MPA Supervisor of the Year are now closed. The winner will be announced in November or December this year, with the exact time and date of the presentation to be determined by the availability of the winning nominator and supervisor. The recipient receives a framed certificate and is permanently listed in the MPA Supervisor of the Year Hall of Fame.

2016 MPA Supervisor of the Year Winner

Dr Louisa Willoughby from the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, was announced the 2016 Supervisor of the Year at an award ceremony on Friday 9 December. The ceremony and the award were organised by the Monash Postgraduate Association (MPA) to recognise outstanding supervision at Monash University. The award is entirely student driven and has been presented each year since 1992.
Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Vice-Provost (Graduate Education), was in attendance and spoke candidly about his own experience as a research student and the importance of good supervision in fostering the next generation of thinkers and doers. MPA President, Peter Hurley, officiated proceedings and announced Dr Willoughby as the winner from a pool of 27 nominated supervisors – many of whom were also in attendance on Friday afternoon. All of the nominated supervisors this year were of an amazingly high calibre.
Dr Willoughby was nominated by Niru Perara, who said if it wasn’t for Dr Louisa Willoughby, she wouldn’t have embarked on her PhD journey. Niru, who lives in Queensland, also spoke about in a heartfelt and passionate speech how Louisa helped her overcome the many obstacles of being a distance education student from a traditionally non-academic background.
Louisa was particularly recognised by the Supervisor of the Year selection committee for going the extra distance in supporting a distance education PhD candidate (pun intended). In accepting her award, she took the opportunity to encourage any other staff who have the opportunity to work with distance education students to take that opportunity and learn from them.

The MPA committee and staff congratulate Dr Willoughby and thank her Niru Perera for her wonderful nomination. Our thanks to all the postgraduates who took the time to submit nominations of their fantastic supervisors, and without whom, this award would not be possible.

Award Hall of Fame


Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett
School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts

Her style is never imposing but constructive, a hallmark of an experienced and accomplished supervisor, one that treats her students as fellow intellectuals and collaborators.”.


Professor Jennie Ponsford
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences

We are in awe of Jennie's knowledge and clinical expertise as well as her collaborations with leading neuropsychology research groups.


Dr Helen Watt
Faculty of Education

…Helen offers constructive criticism and encourages students to strive for excellence…


Dr. David T. McCarthy
School of Civil Engineering

…Dave’s calendar is like Mary Poppins’ hand bag. Sometimes I think there must be some serious magic at work to fit in so much…”


Professor Jeffrey Walker
School of Civil Engineering

We have yet to see a person, as busy as our supervisor, who simply becomes a veritable Cheshire cat when we submit a draft for comments.


Dr Anna Peeters
School of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

It was purely luck that I was employed by Anna, but it was entirely at my request to have her as my supervisor.


Joint winners - Associate Professor Damon Honnery and Professor Julio Soria
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

They are simultaneously their students' greatest critics and strongest supporters, which in my opinion is the best definition of a good supervisor.


Professor Rodney Devenish
School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

"Because of the positive regard he has for all his students, he is often portrayed as the father figure amongst his students and is warmly referred to as “Uncle Roddy."


Professor Adrian M Walker
Ritchie Centre for Baby Health

"Adrian's vitality and passion for science, integrity and warm personality make him an inspiring role-model"


Professor Robert Faff
Department of Accounting & Finance

"My PhD canditature was not a smooth process. There were numerous times when I hit rock bottom...there was only one person who continued to beleive in me and support me, Robert Faff... His passion and belief in research is an inspiration to us all."


Dr Sue Burney
School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine

"Dr Burney's capacity to create a productive and flexible work environment for her students fosters research productivity. Her friendly and non-judgemental manner is particularly helpful in developing good communication and trust."


Professor Betty Weiler
Department of Management

"One of the things that I have always appreciated about Betty is that she always makes you feel that you are a priority. Given her countless other commitments in the context of administrative duties and other research projects and students (not to mention her own family) this is a remarkable achievement."


Associate Professor Frada Burstein
School of Information Management and Systems

"Frada has encouraged, inspired and cajoled us to continue and even enjoy the PhD process. She has encouraged us to look beyond our immediate task, to position ourselves according to our career aspirations. She ensures that students are supported in an open and caring environment."


Dr John Sentry
Department of Immunology and Pathology

"John is generous with his time and energy and is able to find an encouraging word when needed most. His example shows us the importance of patience, persistence and diligence. He has always encouraged our development, not just as scientists, but also as thinking people."


Dr Kay Stewart
Department of Pharmacy Practice


Associate Professor James Sarros
Department of Management


Professor Murrey Eslser  
Department of Medicine

"In publications arising from PhD studies the student is the first author always, and usually the corresponding author. Murray's financial support from personal laboratory funds and through applications to national funding bodies have meant that his students have been financially secure and well-supported to attend overseas meetings."


Dr Peter Lentini
Department of Politics

"I also feel indebted to Peter for accommodating my family responsibilities. He was flexible and able to work around restrictive childcare arrangements for my 4 year old; completely unfazed (well almost!) by a nursing mother with a 2 week old baby; and genuinely understanding of the stresses of trying to study with young children."


Professor Bill Schroder
David Syme School of Business


Professor Terry Threadgold      
Department of English

"Terry is remarkable for the instensity of her engagement with her students' ideas. She always receives us with enthusiasm. Her wealth of knowledge of a diverse range of discipline guides us to be ambitious with our own projects..."


Professor John Bradshaw
Department of Psychology

"I was (and still am) in awe of John's knowledge in the area, and at times I felt that my work was nowhere near good enough to be read by him, but he never put me down. I have gained so much confidence in my ability as a writer, a speaker, and as a person as a whole..."


Associate Professor Walter Veit
Department of German


Associate Professor Gilah Leder
Faculty of Education

"Gilah has the skills of an expert teacher - she knows how to ask questions, when to push for more detailed responses and for finer thinking, and, even more importantly, when to withdraw and let us reflect."


Dr Marian Aveling (now Professor Marian Quartly)
Department of History

"Marian is encouraging and enthusiastic about the students' work and has the special knack of being able to make her criticism constructive. She also displays a genuine interest, thereby instilling confidence and inspiring productivity."

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From left to right: Professor Zlatko Skrbis, Vice-Provost (Graduate Education), Niru Perara, PhD candidate who nominated the winning supervisor, 2016 winner Dr Louisa Willoughby and Peter Hurley, President of the MPA