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ASU Graduate College announces 2019-20 Outstanding Faculty Mentors


2019-20 Outstanding Faculty Mentoring Award winners Gregory Dawson, Mirka Koro, Tess Neal and Yang Weng.

January 28, 2020

For 32 years, the Graduate College has asked Arizona State University graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to nominate their mentors for what has become a prestigious and time-honored award.

“What we’re looking for in nominees are faculty members that can demonstrate a long-standing commitment to mentoring excellence,” said Zachary Reeves-Blurton, program manager of mentoring initiatives and professional development engagement at the Graduate College.

Kathleen Oakes nominated Gregory Dawson, her mentor at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

“I know if not for him, I would not be a graduate student, pursuing my passion and my dreams. Like Greg's parents, my parents did not go to college. If not for someone like him to help mentor me throughout this process, I would have been lost. His mentorship at the graduate level is the continuation of a long relationship.”

“To me," Dawson said, "our highest calling as educators is to help our students become successful in life and in their chosen fields. As such, this is, to me, the highest honor that the university can bestow, and I am humbled and honored to receive it.”

The Graduate College is hosting the 2019-2020 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awards from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Attendees can RSVP here.

The ceremony is not only a way to recognize deserving mentors, it’s also a way for professors and faculty to connect and learn from each other about mentoring philosophies and practices.

“This event demonstrates that ASU places an extremely high value on mentorship,” said Gabriel Shaibi, an associate professor and Southwest Borderlands Scholar at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and the winner of last year’s Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor award.

The Outstanding Faculty Mentors for 2019-20 are:

• Outstanding Doctoral Mentor, Mirka Koro, professor and director, doctoral programs, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

• Outstanding Master's Mentor, Tess Neal, assistant professor, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

• Outstanding Instructional Faculty Mentor, Gregory Dawson, clinical associate professor, School of Accountancy, W. P. Carey School of Business.

• Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor, Yang Weng, assistant professor, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The Graduate College is dedicated to professional development, of which mentoring is a central pillar. A good mentor is essential to the success of students in their transition to a career, their ability to be a leader and their pursuit of knowledge mobilization.  

A faculty mentor invests a significant amount of time and effort in their mentees. Not only do they help students navigate their academic colleges and scholarly communities, they also typically offer personal support. If students are struggling emotionally or with work/life/school balance, mentors can serve as a support and guide.

“Through these awards we are recognizing faculty mentors that take a much more holistic approach to the mentoring relationship, to the personal, to the career and to the long term,” Reeves-Blurton said.

Faculty mentors include all levels of faculty, including tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure-track clinical and instructional faculty and postdoctoral advisers.

“This year’s nominations are the strongest we’ve had yet — the quality and depth of the student testimonials are very impressive,” Reeves-Blurton said.

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