2020 MGA Supervisor of the Year Award

The MGA’s President Caitlyn Neale and MGA Research Education Officer Emily Pryor revealed the 2020 winner at a surprise Zoom presentation in early December. 

Associate Professor Steven Roberts from the School of Social Sciences was stunned when he discovered that his meeting with the Dean of Arts, Sharon Pickering, turned out to be a top secret award ceremony for the MGA Supervisor of the Year.  

“I’m glowing with pride!” Steven said. “Though now I will have to battle for a time to talk to the Dean about career advice because I had prepared a bunch of questions!”

Three of the PhD candidates who nominated Steven were present to tell us all the reasons why they had nominated him:

“Steve has an incredible knack for framing feedback and can tell me what I’m doing wrong in the most positive possible way.”

“His unwavering support, reliability, and relaxed and generous nature is the cornerstone of our shared successes.”

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

Callum Jones, Brittany Ralph and Rebecca Stewart. Steven was also nominated by a fourth PhD candidate, Nathan McMillan.

“I’m humbled and thankful,” Steven responded. “We all did our very best to support one another this year. These students are my teammates. I mentor them, but they teach me so much as well and I couldn’t wish for a better bunch of people.”

Also present to offer some words of support was Professor Marc Parlange, Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University. “Supervising has given me some of the most enriching moments of my own career,” he acknowledged. “This award is a sign of the appreciation of our students who worked hard to put together these nominations.”

He thanked the MGA for holding the online ceremony. “It’s a highlight of the academic year, and gives us a chance to stop, reflect and celebrate our great PhD supervisors.”

Although the pandemic has significantly tested the resilience of teaching and learning this year, the MGA were astounded by a record of over 100 nominations this year. As Arts Dean Sharon Pickering pointed out, “the record number of nominations for supervisors tells us how much everyone needed each other. We see the cracks under pressure, but we also see the ferocity and strength of good relationships and good practice. We got through it together.”

For twenty-eight years, the Monash Graduate Association (MGA) has invited graduate students to nominate their supervisors for the annual MGA Supervisor of the Year Award. The nominations are then judged by a student panel. This award is truly the decision of the graduate student community to celebrate the unique supervisor-student relationship!

Check out the MGA’s Supervisor of the Year Award Hall of Fame.