PROF Lea Waters

PROF Lea Waters


  • Careers and organisational behaviour
  • Positive education
  • Positive psychology
  • Strength based parenting



  • Professor Lea Waters (Ph.D.) holds the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. She is the first Australian to be appointed a Professorship in Positive Psychology and has held an academic position at the University of Melbourne for the 20 years. 

    Lea is the president elect of the International Positive Psychology Association and holds affiliate positions at Cambridge University and the University of Michigan. 

    She is a registered psychologist (AHPRA), a full member of the Australian Psychological Society and is on the Advisory Board for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

    She was listed in the Financial Times and Westpac Bank 100 Women of Influence (2015)

    You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ProfLeaWaters 

    You can learn more about Lea at her website

    You can watch her TEDx talk at

    Lea's Youtube talk on 'Gratitude at work': 

    Lea's Youtube talk on Positive Education: 

    Latest Publications

    Waters, L. (2016). The relationship between parent mindfulness, child mindfulness and child stress, Psychology, 7, 40-51.

    Rusk, R., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Waters, L. (2016). Gratitude or gratefulness? A conceptual review and proposal of the system of appreciative functioning. Journal of Happiness Studies, 5(1) first on-line

    Brunzell, T., & Stokes, H. & Waters., L. (2016). Trauma informed positive education: Using positive psychology to repair and strengthen vulnerable students. Contem   


Member of

  • Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management. Member 2004 -
  • American Academy of Management. Full Member 1999 -
  • Australian Psychological Society. Full Member 1999 -
  • College of Organisational Psychology. Full Member 1999 -
  • Victorian Psychological Council. Registered Psychologist 1996 -
  • Work/Life Association. Vice president 1999 - 2000
  • Australian Psychological Society. Associate Member 1993 - 1995


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, Deakin University 1999
  • BA(Hon), University of Melbourne 1992

Awards and honors

  • Melbourne Graduate School of Education Teaching Excellence Award, 2011
  • Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, Dean�s Certificate for Excellence in Postgraduate Teaching, 2008
  • Australian Universities teaching Excellence Award. Law, Economics and Business category, 2007
  • Dean's Certificate for Excellence in Postgraduate Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2005
  • Dean's Certificate for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2005
  • Edward Brown University Teaching Award, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Awarded 'Management Educator of the Year', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, 2004
  • Best Paper Award at Annual Meeting (with Muller, J.), American Academy of Management (Career's Division), 2004
  • Dean's Individual Award for Innovation in Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2002
  • Dean's Individual Award for Good Teaching and Innovation, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2001
  • Best Paper based on a dissertation, American Academy of Management (Career's Division), 2000
  • Dean's Award of Good Teaching, Faculty of Economics and Commerce, The University of Melbourne, 2000
  • Isi Liebler Prize - Best PhD in the area of Community Relations, Deakin University, 1999
  • Australian Postgraduate Research Award, Deakin University, 1994



Available for supervision

  • N

Supervision Statement

  • Ong Ken. (2013 - on going). An evidence based synthesis of the influence of workplace mindfullness interventions on employee wellbeing.

    Tom Brunzell. (2013 - on going). Neuroinformed learning and positive psychology for traumatised youth.

    Rusk, Reuben. (2012- on going). Positive Psychology Interventions: A Nonlinear  Dynamic Systems Approach using Five Positive Domains of Functioning

    Vass, Athena. (2012 - on going). The impact of resilence training on teacher wellbeing

    Strauss, Gabriel. (2012). The Effects of Leader Psychological Capital on Team Psychological Capital and Team Outcomes

    Williams, Paige. (2011 - ongoing). Exploring implicit attitudes as the causal mechanism in the positive impact of individual psychological capital on perceptions of virtuous organisation culture and employee  work happiness.

    Abrahams, Lisa. (2010). The interrelationships between mentoring, job satisfaction, stress and teacher efficacy.

    Sankey, Michael. (2006-2010). Examining the role of regulatory focus in escalation of commitment scenarios.

    Yim. Laetitia.  (2006-2009). The Role of Interpersonal Comfort, Attributional Confidence, and Communication Quality in Academic Mentoring Relationships

    Joslin, Felicity. (2002-2005). A longitudinal examination of the process of acculturation during organisation change.

    McArdle, Sarah (2005). The role of employability in assisting unemployed people to find quality re-employment.

    Russo, James. (2004). The Association between workaholism and work-family conflict.

    Dunstan, Sam. (2001). Mission statements and HRM: An exploratory case study of an Australian Organisational Change Initiative.

    Hunter, Sarah. (2001).The impact of gender on the level and antecedents of work-family conflict.

    Teo, Claire. (2000). The role of human res