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Psychology Professor, Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne

Professor Lea Waters AM, PhD, is an Australian academic, psychologist, author and speaker who holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology and has expertise in School and Educational psychology. She is the Director of the school program Visible Wellbeing and the parenting program the Strength Switch.

Professor Waters was the Founding Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology, University of Melbourne where she has held an academic position for 24 years. She currently also holds a position on the Science Board of The University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Lea has published over 110 scientific publications and has been awarded academic prizes for research excellence by the American Academy of Management and the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.

In 2015, Professor Waters was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Financial Review. In 2020, Lea was honoured by the Governor General of Australia and made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) which is one of the highest civilian honours in Australia. She was made a member based on her leadership to psychology, education and the mental health sector in Australia.
Lea is the recent Past President of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) (2017-2019) and is a Board member of IPPA as well as being the Patron for Flourishing Education Japan and the Ambassador for Positive Education Schools Association.

Lea’s parenting book, 'The Strength Switch' was the top release on Amazon in the parenting category and was listed in Top reads for 2017 by Berkeley University’s Greater Good Science Centre. It has translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Hungarian, Arabic, Spanish, French and Russian.

Lea's work is featured in the Wall Street Journal, Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, the Toronto Globe, the Guardian (UK and Australia) and more. Her TEDx talk, Warning: Being positive is not for the faint hearted!, explores how we can use social media to have a positive impact on others’ wellbeing and has been viewed more than 130,000 times.


  • 2010–present
    Associate Professor, Director Master in School Leadership, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
  • 2014–present
    Professor, Director of Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
  • 1998–2009
    Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Master of Applied Commerce, Faculty of Business and Commerce, University of Melbourne


  • 1998 
    Deakin University, PhD (Organisational Psychology)
  • 1992 
    University of Melbourne, BA(Hons) (Psychology)

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Psychological Society
  • International Positive Psychology Association

Research Areas

  • Education (13)
  • Educational Administration, Management And Leadership (130304)
  • Psychology (1701)
  • Organisational Behaviour (150311)
  • Industrial And Organisational Psychology (170107)


Order of Australia (AM)