Mentoring Awards

2020 Outstanding Mentoring Awards

Deadline: April 3, 2020 EXTENDED TO APRIL 20, 2020

In 2003 the Dean of the Graduate School and the Vice President for Research convened a University Task Force on Research Mentoring of Graduate Students.   Chaired by the late Dr. Hans Kende, University Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the 10 member group developed the Guidelines for Graduate Student Advising and Mentoring Relationships.  The Guidelines were adopted by Faculty Council in 2004.  

As part of their report, the Task Force recommended that there be more visible recognition of good mentoring practices at MSU. These awards highlight both the importance of exceptional mentoring to the quality of graduate education at MSU and the commitment of individuals and graduate programs to graduate student success in line with our Foundational Values for Graduate Student & Faculty Mentoring Relationships and Guidelines for Graduate Student Mentoring & Advising.

There are 3 separate award categories:

Outstanding Graduate Program Community Award, recognizing a graduate program/department that fosters the Foundational Values and proactively works to meet their students’ educational and extended professional development needs.  $5000 award in 2020-21 to support graduate program activities.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, recognizing faculty whose work with graduate students exemplifies the Foundational Values through ensuring that their students meet program expectations and milestones, and providing multiple enriched career and professional development opportunities  Two awards are available, one for an assistant /early associate professor (2-3 years in associate rank) and one for more senior associate and full professors.  $1500 awards in 2020-21 to support mentoring activities.

Outstanding Doctoral Student Mentor Award, recognizing a doctoral student who has already demonstrated the capacity to be a strong mentor of undergraduate or graduate students.  $1000 fellowship award for spring or summer 2020.

Nominations must be received by April 3, 2020 April 20, 2020.  Nominations for these awards must have 3 supporting documents.  The primary nominator/s must ensure that the packet is complete before submitting it to the Graduate School.  Nominating letters can come from current or former MSU graduate students, undergraduate students (in the case of the Doctoral Student Mentor Award), faculty members, or administrators.

  1. Each award requires a primary nominating letter.   This letter can come from an individual or a group of individuals.  The nominating letter should clearly articulate a) how the program or individual fits the criteria for the award, b) what activities best exemplify the program or individual contribution, and c) what the impact those activities have had for the success of students.
  2. Each award also requires a second letter of support that can speak to the fit with the criteria and describe the contributions.  If the nominating letter is provided by students, the support letter should be from faculty or administrators familiar with the nominee’s mentoring activities; if the nominating letter is provided by faculty or administrators, the letter of support should be from students.
  3. For nominations for the individual awards:  a CV for the nominee is required.   For program nominations:  the current Graduate Handbook should be submitted as a PDF (if no online version exists) or a link must be provided to an updated handbook.  Handbooks must be current (i.e., updated within the last academic year).

The packet should be submitted via e-mail to:  The e-mail subject line must clearly identify the name of the award for which the nomination is made, and the body of the e-mail must identify the individual or program being nominated.

Selection process: The Graduate School will convene a selection committee with representation from the following groups: college graduate associate deans, graduate program directors, Graduate School associate deans, COGS representatives.   The committee will evaluate the nominations and make a recommendation to the Dean, who will make the awards.

Recipients will be announced at the May 1 PHD Commencement. Because MSU has decided to postpone Commencement, the announcement of the recipient will not occur at Commencement.
For questions, please contact Judith Stoddart, Senior Associate Dean, Graduate School (

Winners of the Graduate School Mentoring Awards