Lea Waters


Professor, University of Melbourne

Founding Director, Positive Psychology Centre

Lea Waters, PhD, is a psychologist, researcher, speaker, and author who specializes in positive education, positive parenting, and positive organizations. She is the President Elect of the International Positive Psychology Association, has affiliate positions with Cambridge University and University of Michigan, and is the Ambassador for the Positive Education Schools Association. She has been listed in the Marques Who’s Who in the World since 2009 and has published over 90 scientific articles and book chapters. In 2015, she was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence by the Financial Review and Westpac Bank and has been included in the 2017 edition of Who’s Who of Australian Women.

Waters’ recent research sits at the intersection between positive organizational scholarship and educational psychology with a focus on how to create schools as positive institutions. Her focus is both at the student-level and staff-level and she researches the applications of positive psychology in classrooms, staff rooms, and school-wide cultural practices. At the student level, she is calling for schools to consider that curriculum which builds student character and well-being is of equal importance to curriculum focusing on academic achievement. She has researched mindfulness in schools together with examining the effects of positive education interventions on student hope, optimism, and resilience. She has also called for a greater focus on staff wellbeing and cultural virtues in schools. At the staff level, she has applied Cameron’s Organizational Virtues model as well as Cooperider’s Appreciative Inquiry technique to examine the factors that build a positive institutional culture in schools.