VALE Associate Professor Elizabeth (Liz) Davis
It is with incredible sadness that the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute announces that Elizabeth (Liz) Davis passed away on 26 October 2021, with her husband Ric and daughters Jessica and Caitlyn by her side.
Liz lived a healthy and vibrant life that ended much too early as a result of an unexpected cardiovascular event. She was cared for at Monash Medical Centre. Her family have been by her side and have been overwhelmed by the love and support that they have received from her Monash friends and beyond. Liz was enormously valued by everyone in our community - her generosity of spirit, kindness toward others and endless talents as a teacher and mentor have benefited everyone who has had the pleasure of knowing her. We will all miss her.
Liz commenced her Monash journey as an Honours student in 1982, arriving from University of Queensland, and studied and worked in various capacities within the Department of Pharmacology, culminating with her PhD awarded in 1992; with her last appointment being as Associate Professor in 2015. During all of this time, Liz has been a staunch, ardent supporter of students and their educational pursuits at Monash. Liz was also a devoted mother and worked on a part-time basis during the late 90s-early 00’s while still managing to share her caring around.
In 2010, while Deputy Head (Education) in the Department of Pharmacology, Liz was appointed as the first Education-focused academic at Monash University. She was also the Convenor of several flagship pharmacology units, and her role encompassed curriculum design and implementation, with a focus on student engagement and the use of technology to increase student engagement. Liz wore many hats within the broader MNHS Faculty and, notably, was a key advocate of procedural fairness for students, as a key member of various committees including medical admissions, student Academic Progress and Discipline committees, MNHS Board of Examiners, to name just a few.
Liz was a founding member of the School of Biomedical Science Education Committee and later became Director of Education within the Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and Course Convenor for the Faculty’s flagship Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (BBiomedSci), which has become the main feeder course for Monash’s graduate-entry Medicine program. Liz was tireless in her pursuit of improving educational standards and helped reorganise the BBiomedSci course to align its course content with entry requirements for graduate medicine. She also pioneered formal standardised training of Practical Class staff and Teaching Associates across the preclinical biomedical departments.
Liz’s reputation for excellence and leadership in education was recognised both nationally and internationally. She was awarded a Teaching Excellence Award from her national pharmacology society (ASCEPT, 2013) and won the VC’s Teaching Excellence award in 2018 and a National University Award for outstanding contributions to student learning (AAUT citation, 2019). Acknowledging her incredible efforts managing the education portfolio during the pandemic, Liz was awarded the Monash BDI Above and Beyond Award (Education) in 2020. She was Chair of the ASCEPT Education Forum (2007-2013; 2018-2020), an elected member of the Education Section of the International Union of Basic & Clinical Pharmacologists (IUPHAR) and, most recently, was Chair of the Education Section of IUPHAR (2018-current).
Liz was awarded her 25-year Service Award at Monash University in 2012, taking her total service to Monash to more than 34 years. In all this time she never stopped challenging but also supporting Monash students across a range of courses throughout her teaching career. Liz inspired students to engage in their own learning and prepared them for their future professions. She was genuinely interested in the students’ experiences and provided support at all stages of their career. Indeed, her educational research, education delivery and service were all heavily intertwined ensuring educational excellence for Monash Graduates
Liz was a valued mentor to many colleagues both within, and outside of, the Monash community. She helped junior academics develop and excel in their own teaching portfolios, sharing her experiences and educational approaches and was always generous in her help and advice. Liz’s collegiality and inclusive leadership extended to staff across the BDI and beyond, with a particular strength being her effective and valued approach to collaboration and teamwork with academics and professional staff alike, to deliver various high-quality and innovative teaching programs.
Liz leaves a lasting legacy as a much-remembered and -loved educator by past students and she will be sorely missed by her friends and colleagues within her larger Monash family, which was a huge part of her life.
Tribute prepared by Professor John Carroll, Professor Rob Widdop and Associate Professor Barb Kemp-Harper
A/Prof Elizabeth Davis and A/Prof Barbara Kemp-Harper worked together, gaining a national Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning as part of the 2019 Australian Awards for University Teaching, and also won the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2018, the MNHS Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018, and were the inaugural recipients of the Monash BDI Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2017.
A/Prof Liz Davis with part of the Pharmacology teaching team in 2018.