"Suzana is sincere, compassionate, authentic, and always puts the interests of others ahead of herself."

Shivanad Balram, former graduate student

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2016 Award for Excellence in Supervision: Suzana Dragicevic

May 19, 2016

In the last fourteen years, Suzana Dragicevic has overseen the completion and graduation of approximately 40 graduate students, many of whom now hold prestigeous positions at universities, in the government, and in the private sector. Her selflessness and commitment to seeking opportunities for her students are made clear by their many successes.

Understanding how important it is to be published in academia, Dragicevic has sacrificed first authorship time and time again. This kind of selflessness has given her the reputation of being the “supervisor who gets the most out of her students”, a point highlighted by former Graduate Program Chair for Geography, Geoff Mann.

Dragicevic encourages her graduate students to guest lecture or be teaching assistants for her undergraduate courses, allowing them to understand their studies from a new perspective. Shivanand Balram, a former student of Dragicevic who is now a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, says, “Suzana is sincere, compassionate, authentic, and always puts the interests of others ahead of herself.” Balram recounts benefitting from her philosophy that “to be a good researcher you must also be a good teacher.”

In addition to providing these valuable learning experiences for her graduate students, she also co-designed a graduate course (GEOG 651) in conjunction with an undergraduate course (GEOG 451) to facilitate a higher level of learning. This design bridges the gap between undergraduate and graduate experiences, and the unique class composition makes for thought-provoking questions, discussions, and dialogue.  

Dr. Christopher Bone, a former student and now Assistant Professor, has tried to mirror Dragicevic’s supervision. He says, “I have tried to employ the same supervisory approach in my own lab at the University of Oregon. The challenge, I have quickly realized, is that this approach takes much time, effort and patience.”

For this reason, and many others, Suzana Dragicevic has become known for her students' success. Through her efforts, she has facilitated the creation of a safe and enjoyable learning environment for future students in the Department of Geography.