Passionate global justice advocate wins MGA Lecturer of the Year award

27 April 2021

(L - R) MGA Executive Committee President Caitlyn Neale with award winner Jagjit Plahe.

A Monash Business School senior lecturer known for her strong commitment to global justice and sustainability and passionate teaching style has won a top Monash Graduate Association (MGA) award.

Senior Lecturer from the Department of Management  Dr Jagjit Plahe was on 19 April named the Monash Graduate Association’s Lecturer of the Year for 2020.

The annual MGA award honours excellence in graduate teaching, with students seizing the opportunity to formally thank their best lecturers.

Dr Plahe is known for her strong commitment to global justice, particularly in the area of equitable and sustainable agri-food systems, as well as her passionate and engaging teaching style.

She has broad experience working in trade and development in the NGO sector in Nairobi and Melbourne and for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the Global Environmental Outlook Report. She is currently working with NGOs and farmers’ movements in India, the Philippines, Kenya and the Pacific Islands.

Her main research focus is on the management and organisation of agri-food systems.

Thanking her Monash Business School colleagues and students, Dr Plahe says she has been “totally overwhelmed” by the accolade.

The award was “not just for me; this is for the entire Department and Monash Business School, for all the teams who support me,” Dr Plahe says.

“It’s a great win for everyone who went the extra mile in 2020.”

She says 2020 had been an incredibly challenging year, and her teaching approach has been a balancing act throughout that time.

“It was really about balancing where the students were at in 2020 with our high standards of education,” Dr Plahe says.

The award was ultimately “not about me, it’s about the students,” says Dr Plahe, crediting her students’ passion and commitment. “It’s hard work and there is no easy way. And I’m a very demanding teacher!”

Dr Plahe’s students describe her as an inspirational and engaging teacher who encourages them to celebrate their individuality and strive for self-improvement.

"I had a one-on-one discussion with Jagjit - she encouraged me to be proud of where I came from, celebrate individuality, and to utilise my experience to become a better person. (And) not be intimidated by the success of others,"  says Master of Global Business student Ma Theresa Troke.

“In my five years at Monash University, I have never met an academic who is as passionate about their subject matter as Jagjit,” says Lavan Ruban, who is also studying a Master of Global Business.

"Jagjit is extremely passionate about global justice and sustainability. Thus, her curriculum was taught in the same way.

“She would encourage us to learn the content and craft opinions and solutions of our own, and then would engage in class discussions about the ideas' appropriacy and feasibility.”

Nominations for MGA’s Lecturer of the Year 2021 are now open. If you have an outstanding educator you would like publicly celebrated, nominate them here.