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ASU names Outstanding Doctoral Mentors for 2016-2017

February 10, 2017

An award-winning professor in counseling and psychology, an international expert in linguistics, and a renowned authority in geographical sciences and urban planning have been named the Outstanding Doctoral Mentors of 2016-2017 by Arizona State University Graduate College.

Terence Tracey, Elly van Gelderen and Elizabeth Wentz have been lauded for their generous commitment to their students’ success while maintaining daunting speaking and publishing schedules of their own. 

Nomination letters from students and colleagues praised the mentors for championing students from diverse backgrounds, for including their graduate students as co-authors on published papers, providing the skills for their students to be professionals in their chosen careers and instilling high values and standards.

“ASU is fortunate to have hundreds of outstanding mentors,” said Alfredo Artiles, dean of the Graduate College. “We are honoring these three individuals who exemplify the commitment and caring of extraordinary mentors.”

Terence Tracey, Counseling and Counseling Psychology

Terence Tracey
professor, counseling and counseling psychology
College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Tracey’s research focuses on interpersonal models of personality and psychotherapy, the structure and development of vocational interests, and minority student academic success. His scholarly contributions have been recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) with the Leona Tyler Award for Lifetime Distinguished Contribution to Counseling Psychology and an APA presidential citation for the impact of his research on the fields of counseling and social psychology. One of the most published authors in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Tracey shares the spotlight with his graduate students, including them as co-authors in publications, presentations and book chapters. He is a registered psychologist and National Board Certified Psychologist as well as Counselor, and has also been a practicing therapist.

Tracey created the Personal Globe Inventory (PGI), a general assessment tool for measuring vocational interests and competence perceptions for those 15 years and older. The downloadable software is in use in schools internationally. Students credit his superior knowledge of statistics, research methods, supervision and clinical counseling as critical to their future careers. As a deeply committed mentor who communicates the highest expectations to students, they praise him as generous with his time, knowledge and patience. Tracey states that one of the goals of mentoring is to move students from receivers of information to contributors of knowledge.

“I give an annual lecture entitled 'Get B’s — stop getting A’s.' The gist of which is that graduate school is different," Tracey said. "Figure out what you wish to gain and then seize opportunities to do so. These opportunities do not generally arise in your courses. Search out mentors to give you wisdom.”

Elly Van Gelderen, English linguistics

Elly van Gelderen
Regents’ Professor, Department of English
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

A renowned author and authority in her field, van Gelderen lectures at conferences nationally and internationally. Her work focuses on linguistics, particularly in historical and comparative syntax. A colleague notes that her passion for linguistics is contagious to native and non-native speakers of English. Students aiming for a career in teaching and academics are her traditional students, but she also mentors students going into an applied area of linguistics such as Artificial Intelligence. “I have encouraged knowledge of and enthusiasm for my own area of syntax,” she says, “but have been excited to work with students in areas that are not my own.”

As van Gelderen continues to expand the boundaries of her own expertise, she encourages research in many languages and has conducted reading courses in Arabic, Dutch, Yiddish and Swedish, and with students who also wanted to study O’odham, Navajo and the Mayan languages. She has formed linguistics workshops at ASU which serve as a place for students and faculty to read the most current work in syntax and to practice their conference publications or dissertation chapters.

Selflessly dedicated to her students, she has been praised as consistently available to students, in person and by email, when she is traveling internationally. In addition to being an inspiration to students from many different backgrounds, nationalities and experiences, she is also an active participant in human rights and environmental organizations.

“I am very thankful to my PhD students in working with me on so many exciting projects,” van Gelderen said. “Students at ASU have incredibly diverse interests. I have had the pleasure to deepen my work on the grammar and history of English as well as to look into different languages, from Ainu to Zuni. I believe in enthusiasm, gaining a broad picture of the field, and in hard work.”

Elizabeth Wentz, Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Elizabeth Wentz
professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
dean of social sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wentz uses geographic technologies, which include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and spatial analysis to offer insight into urban environments. One of her current projects focuses on water resource management to help local decision makers, such as planning and zoning committees. One aspect of this is using the Environmental Spatial Decision Support System (ESDSS) modeling to improve household water and energy consumption, and how to plant trees so that they use minimal water while providing maximum shade for homes.

As a teacher of geographic technologies, research design and proposal writing, her students praise her for her willingness to share skills knowledge and expertise, teaching them to think critically and creatively, her encouragement to reach their full potential, and on her insistence that they maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Active in the Association of American Geographers and GIS community, her strong professional relationships have contributed to the success she has placing doctoral students after graduation. She keeps her students aware of the latest developments in the field as well as funding opportunities. Wentz stated that it is “an honor to be trusted by individuals with this important step in their professional and personal lives.”

Among her many publications is the book “How to Design, Write, and Present a Successful Dissertation Proposal,” which guides students through the dissertation proposal process.

“I consider it a privilege to advise hard working and intelligent individuals,” Wentz said. “It is the most significant place where I believe I’m making an impact.”

Photos by Andy DeLisle/ASU

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