In conversation with Dr Susie Ho – winner of the Monash Postgraduate Association Lecturer of the Year Award
There’s a certain kind of magic around Master of Environment and Sustainability Course Director, Dr Susie Ho.
No one knows this better than her students.
On Friday as thousands of schoolchildren skipped school to demand federal government action on Climate Change, Susie won the Monash Postgraduate Association (MPA) 2018 Lecturer of the Year Award.
Her students mean everything to her.
Nothing is ever too much trouble and her passion for a better world permeates everything she does.
“This award is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she says, self-consciously.
“To be recognised in this way by students, no teacher or educator could ever ask for more.”
Susie graduated with a Monash Science PhD in 2012.
Her PhD is in freshwater ecology.
In just four years, Susie, who is from the School of Biological Sciences, has become the public face of the hugely popular Monash Master of Environment and Sustainability, first as course coordinator (2015 – 2018) and now as course director.
This is a truly multidisciplinary course that harnesses the expertise of Monash Arts, Science, the School of Business, and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI).
The course attracts interest from over 1000 applicants from 35 countries.
Earlier this year the Faculty of Science also appointed Susie as Deputy Associate Dean (Education), where she has oversight of the Faculty’s postgraduate coursework portfolio.
“I believe this generation cares more about sustainability than any other generation,” says Susie.
“You can see this in their career aspirations, activism, and wisdom.
“They are more aware of the interconnections between environmental, economic and social issues than those generations before them.
“I see in them a real willingness to work across silos to confront complexity.
“They also take a more global view of things; they know sustainability is a global issue which needs a global response.
“I want to empower them with the boundary-spanning capacity they need to address complex problems.
“I am passionate about sustainability education delivered in a holistic framework.
“Our Master of Environment and Sustainability is highly interdisciplinary and includes technical skills and leadership building skills.”
Not only is Susie honoured to have received the MPA Lecturer of the Year Award but the timing of the announcement on Friday – when schoolchildren took a stand for climate change - could not have been better for her.
Late last year Susie attended the UN Katowice Climate Change ConferencCOP24, which she says is still vivid in her mind.
“A highlight of this conference for me was the presence of young people…their voices were urgent and represented at all levels from high-level meetings to student-led activism.
“This is what inspires me, and I hope to be able to take that inspiration to my students.”