Supervisor of the Year (SOTY) Award

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

The MGA Supervisor of the Year Award, established in 1992, was created to acknowledge excellence in research supervision practice.  The award was featured in peer-reviewed journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International where it was recognised as the longest running award of its kind, putting Monash University and Australia ahead of the UK with regards to student-led supervisor awards.

This award is truly a decision of the graduate student community. Supervisors are nominated by their students and entries are judged by an independent subcommittee of research graduates drawn from the MGA Executive Committee.

Call for Nominations: MGA 2021 Supervisor of the Year Award

Think you’ve got the best supervisor in the University? Show your appreciation and nominate them for the 2021 MGA Supervisor of the Year award! It’s a great way to acknowledge your supervisor for all the support and hard work they do behind the scenes. The award will go to one nominated supervisor who has created the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for their doctoral students. The winner will be judged by an independent subcommittee of research graduates drawn from the MGA Executive Committee.

Important details:

  • All nomination forms must be submitted using the Google Form provided below.
  • We highly recommend that you prepare your answers in a Word document before submitting your nomination, as it must be completed in one go. Have a look at this preview of the questions to help you prepare your response.
  • You must submit your nomination form by 5:00pm on Thursday, 30 September 2021.
  • For more information on the award nomination process, please read our FAQ below.

Award Nomination FAQ

What information is required in the nomination form?

The nomination form is broken down into 6 sections:

Section 1 – Details of the supervisor you wish to nominate (one supervisor per application).
Section 2 – Details of you/the student completing the nomination.
Section 3 – Describe your supervisor’s academic contribution in relation to your PhD.
Section 4 – Describe your supervisor’s management of your PhD.
Section 5 – Describe the support your supervisor has provided throughout the PhD.
Section 6 – Open comment.

How long does it take to complete the nomination form?

The nomination form should take you approximately 30- 45 minutes to complete, but this may take longer if you write really detailed responses. Some nominees have told us that they spend some time thinking of their responses or finding the best examples to ensure that they provide a strong application.

How do I submit a nomination form?

Nomination forms must be submitted using the Google Form provided. We recommend that you prepare your answers in a Word document first before entering the information on the nomination form, as it must be completed in one sitting. We have provided a preview of the nomination form to help you prepare your application.

Will my supervisor know that I have nominated them?

Supervisors will be informed that they have been nominated and by whom when they are invited to the award ceremony. During the award ceremony, parts of your nomination may be shared with whomever you nominate. We may also use parts of your nomination in promotional material.

Please let us know if you do not wish for your supervisor to know of your nomination application.

How are the nominations judged?

Nominations are judged by an independent subcommittee of research graduates drawn from the MGA Executive Committee.

When is the Supervisor of the Year Award ceremony usually held?

The MGA Supervisor of the Year Award will be announced in November or December, with the exact time and date of the presentation to be determined by the availability of the nominator and winning supervisor.

Award Hall of Fame

Associate Professor Steven Roberts

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts

“He is a perpetual cheerleader. Steve is very real and he makes the entire academic process a humbling and rewarding experience for his students.”

2020 Supervisor of the Year Nominees

We are thrilled that this year, we have received a record number of Supervisor of the Year nominations. Over 100 research students wrote in to tell us how their supervisors went above and beyond the duty of call to inspire, support and advance their research projects through a very challenging year. Each nominee is equally deserving of praise and and each nomination is worth celebrating.

The MGA would like to say a big thank you to all the students who took the time to nominate their supervisors, and congratulations to the nominees for their outstanding work this year.

See the full list of nominees here.

Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes
Criminology, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts

“Rebecca was one of the major reasons that I chose to come to Monash to do my PhD and I think one of the best things about doing my PhD here.”

Associate Professor Adrian Carter
School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences

“Adrian is a dream supervisor.”

Associate Professor Jane Southcott
Faculty of Education

“Jane made me feel like I was her ‘only child’. I know she would have made all her other students feel the same way.”

Dr Louisa Willoughby
School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Faculty of Arts

“If it wasn’t for Dr Louisa Willoughby, I wouldn’t have embarked on my PhD journey.”

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.”