Winner:
Associate Professor Gimme Walter
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Organisational Unit:
School of Life Sciences

walter

Gimme Walter is Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences where his research focus is on integrated pest management and the ecology of agricultural pests.

Gimme has successfully supervised to completion 20 PhD and 14 research masters' student's theses. Many of his students have moved into senior research or academic positions in Australia. Five former students are Directors of Research, one is a Deputy Director of Research and six are Lecturers or Senior Lecturers. Others have moved into senior research scientist positions. Currently, Gimme supervises 10 PhD students: eight as the Principal Advisor and two as Associate Advisor.

Gimme's strengths as a supervisor include his approachability and availability to his students.  He encourages and nurtures independence and creativity.  He believes that a good research topic should contain an element of risk.

Gimme has always had a high international research student load and around half of his students are from overseas.  He provides early attention to these students and has frequent meetings with them initially to ensure their needs are met.  He emphasises a relaxed relationship between student and supervisor, which  often contrasts with students' experience in their home country.

Discussion groups are vibrant and stimulating, and both Gimme and his students find them a real pleasure. Gimme also holds regular lab meetings with his students in an informal setting to which academics and students from other local institutions are invited. These meetings generate ongoing discourse about novel ideas and the current literature.

Gimme chooses associate supervisors for his students that complement his own education, experience, position and skill-set and so they often come from other schools or from industry.  Ultimately, he says, he provides linkages with experts across diverse technologies and sub-disciplines.

Gimme arouses curiosity and stimulates independent research.  His students appreciate that they must formulate their research approach and specific questions, although under guidance. To develop independence, he encourages them to focus on their research area and to untangle the theoretical strands that relate to that area. The student is then in a position to assess the validity of the assumptions, and develop strong tests. Gimme insists that students publish their work in significant disciplinary journals and that they attend conferences to present their work.

Gimme's skills as a supervisor have been attested to by examiners' remarks regarding the quality of the theses submitted.  Some of the examiners' comments - ?interesting and innovative,' ?original and courageous' - read like appraisals for best-selling books.

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