Dedicated Monash Management academic wins Lecturer of the Year Award

31 May 2022

MGA Lecturer of the Year 2021 Paul Kalfadellis holding his award, surrounded by graduate students.

MGA Lecturer of the Year 2021 Paul Kalfadellis with graduate students.

The world has always held a deep fascination for Dr Paul Kalfadellis.

As a child, his favourite book was an atlas, and he spent hours poring over its pages copying country borders onto tracing paper.

These days, those same borders are an integral part of daily life for the Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Economics.

“I don’t know whether that sort of thing is in your DNA or not, but here I am, years later, teaching geopolitics and global business,” Dr Kalfadellis said.

However, a career in teaching wasn’t mapped out early for Dr Kalfadellis, who spent more than a decade working in the family seafood business.

“In my 30s, I just decided I wanted to do something else, so I went back to university to study,” he said.

“Then I started doing sessional teaching work, and I took to it like a duck to water. It was a revelation to me, how much I liked it – it just felt so comfortable and enjoyable.”

But first, Dr Kalfadellis had to overcome a fear of public speaking.

“I can remember holding onto the lectern for dear life during my first lecture – I could feel the sweat pouring down my back,” he said.

“Now I like to walk and talk and my hands fly – I’ve gone from one extreme to another.”

More than a quarter of a century later, the love affair with teaching is as strong as ever.

“Teaching is not a chore, it’s not a hassle, I get up in the morning and think what a great day it’s going to be because I’m going to work,” he said.

“I’m in that 10 per cent of people who love what they do. I don’t know that I could ever stop teaching.”

That commitment shines through for his students and has earned him a Monash Graduate Association Lecturer of the Year Award.

“I'm totally stoked, I’m totally surprised,” he said.

Nominations for Dr Kalfadellis for the 2021 award included one from student Carol Baulch, who said his passion for teaching ensured he was an obvious candidate.

“Paul inspires students to expand our thinking,” she said.

Monash Graduate Association Vice President Melinda Krebsz says the award enabled graduates to acknowledge teachers who have been a major inspiration throughout their time at Monash.

“As a graduate student association, we believe it’s important to celebrate excellence in academic teaching and give back to the teachers who go out of their way to inspire a love of learning,” Ms Krebsz said.

Lecturers are nominated by their graduate students and entries are judged by an independent subcommittee of graduates drawn from the MGA Executive Committee.

“The award is unique in that it is truly a decision of the graduate student community - the nominations are made by us and the winners are decided by us too,” she said.

Nominations for the 2022 MGA Lecturer of the Year award close Friday, 21 October at 5pm.

Nominate your favourite graduate teaching lecturer here.