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Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award

"Mentoring is... the heart of graduate education. The mentor is responsible for ensuring that the student becomes sophisticated in a discipline or field of study, is challenged intellectually, learns how to think critically, and aspires to create new knowledge. In addition, the mentor is responsible for assisting the student in developing the interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the discipline. Mentoring is distinct from advising because it involves a personal relationship... . It recognizes that graduate school includes socialization to the values, norms, practices, and attitudes of a discipline. Mentoring gradually transforms the student into a colleague."

- Mentoring The Faculty-Graduate Student Relationship. A Position Paper of the Graduate Council of The University of Arizona. July, 2001.

Award Description

The Graduate School's Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award was established to recognize and encourage outstanding mentoring of graduate students by OSU Graduate Faculty members. Recipients will have direct and significant impact and involvement with graduate students, outstanding commitment and effectiveness as a mentor of graduate students, been innovative in mentoring, and have demonstrated unusual effort to provide consistent mentoring of graduate students during the course of their careers at OSU. Recipients of this award are Graduate Faculty members who have extraordinary records of excellence and effectiveness in activities such as facilitating smooth transitions for both entering and exiting graduate students; showing sensitivity to students' academic, personal and professional goals and needs; being accessible to students; playing an active role in effectively coaching graduate students through the graduate school experience and connecting them to appropriate intellectual and professional networks; and guiding graduate students toward intellectual and professional independence.

The Award

The recipient receives a plaque and a check for $2,250.


The award is open to Graduate Faculty members who mentor graduate students.

Selection Criteria

  • Extraordinary commitment and effectiveness as a mentor of graduate students including activities such as serving as major professor, minor professor, Graduate Council Representative, committee member, and so forth.
  • Demonstrated record of graduate student success in graduate school and in their professional careers (e.g. scholarships/fellowships, awards, placement, career achievements, scholarly works).
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating an environment supportive of graduate student success.

Nomination Procedure

Only one nomination may be submitted by a department. The nominator shall submit a completed nomination form, the nominee's vitae, position description, and three letters of support. Additional information submitted with the nomination will not be considered.

One original and 6 double-sided copies of each nomination for the Graduate School's Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award must be received by April 12, 2013. Send nominations to: Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award Committee, c/o Graduate School, 300 Kerr Administration. Nominations will be reviewed by the Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award Committee. Award selection will be made on the basis of the information submitted.

Letters of Support

One letter of support shall be from an OSU Graduate Faculty member, one shall be from a current graduate student and the third may be from a graduate student, Graduate Faculty member, advanced degree alumnus or other individual who can comment on the nominee's qualifications. The nominator is not eligible to submit a letter of support.


The vitae should specify graduate students (current and former) who the faculty member has mentored. The committee is better able to assess a candidate's excellence in mentorship when the vitae clearly highlights information such as which scholarly works are co-authored or co-produced by graduate students, the nominee's roles on graduate committees, and other relevant activities.

Position Description

The nominee's position description will permit the selection committee to formulate realistic expectations and compare candidates with differing responsibilities and to identify Graduate Faculty members who perform beyond the call of duty.

Guidelines for Faculty Graduate Mentoring Award Nomination Packets

These guidelines are meant to aid in the organization of nomination packets. The committee's ability to compare nominees will be enhanced if the information in each nomination packet is presented in a similar manner. It is hoped that this will make the nomination and selection process a little easier.

Nomination Form. Provide very specific information about the candidate's qualifications and demonstrate how each criterion for selection is satisfied. It is important to demonstrate ways in which the candidate meets each of the criteria for the award. The Nomination Form is required; a nomination letter from the nominator will not be accepted.

Supporting Letters. It may be helpful to forward a copy of the criteria to those writing supporting letters and remind them that the supporting letters should address each criterion as specifically as possible. Of course, those writing letters may not be familiar with the candidate's qualifications in every area and should address only those criteria with which he or she has direct knowledge. A good rule of thumb is to discuss only criteria for which specific examples illustrating the candidate's qualifications can be provided. Especially compelling are supporting letters that demonstrate guidance and care for graduate students that goes well beyond the ordinary.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact Brenda McComb, 541-737-1457 or brenda.mccomb@oregonstate.edu.

Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award
Previous Recipients

2012Chenhuei Chi
2011Brent Steel
2010Peggy Burnett
2009Carol Mallory-Smith
2008Anna Harding
2007Un-Ku Moon
2006Peter J. Bottomley

Nomination Form