Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring

Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring

Strong mentoring support is a key factor in graduate student success. The primary purpose of mentoring in Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences graduate programs is “to ensure that graduate students have every opportunity for success both during and after graduate study.” (Dietrich School Graduate Council, Brief Guide to Graduate Student Mentoring). Students who enjoy effective mentoring tend to be more productive as well as more involved in their programs.

There are two awards each year: one for an untenured member of the graduate faculty and one for a tenured member of the graduate faculty who received their highest degree no more than twelve (12) years before the time of nomination. By inviting graduate students and Department Chairs to identify faculty in the early and early-middling stages of their career who embody excellence in mentoring, the Dietrich School seeks to reinforce and highlight practices that enhance the overall quality of graduate education.

Each spring, the Dietrich School will recognize colleagues who best exemplify the considerable efforts and accomplishments of members of the graduate faculty serving as effective mentors of our graduate students. These awards are important examples of the School’s continuing efforts to cultivate a culture of inclusive excellence in mentoring. Each award carries a cash prize of $1,500.


Nomination deadline for AY2021/22 Awards: February 15, 2022

Graduate students and/or chairs of departments with graduate programs may nominate any eligible member of the graduate faculty. Nominations must be submitted as a single .pdf attached to an email to , and must include, in this order:

  • A letter of nomination that addresses the particular ways the nominee has exhibited outstanding mentorship (2 page maximum). Please identify specific examples of unique contributions and accomplishments, innovative methods, and/or exceptionally valuable types of mentorship provided by the nominee. The letter should demonstrate the outcomes that resulted from such mentorship. The letter of nomination should include the primary nominator’s full name and University of Pittsburgh email address.
  • Two or three letters of support that provide specific examples of the nominee’s mentoring innovations, accomplishments, and impact. Two of these letters must be authored by one or more current and, where applicable, former students. An additional letter can come from either additional graduate students, faculty, and/or staff members (1 page per letter).
  • Nominee’s statement on graduate mentoring (2 page maximum).
  • Nominee’s CV (2 page maximum).

Selection Process and Criteria

Nominations will be evaluated by a committee composed of Deans, Chairs, DGSes, and past winners of the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring and of the DSAS Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring.

Strong candidates for the awards –

  • ensure that their students master the content and skills of their discipline, including the ability to teach and communicate with professional and non-professional audiences;
  • promote their students’ successful and timely completion of degree programs, including by providing clear guidance on expectations and the prevailing norms and criteria used to define quality performance, monitoring progress, and offering honest, constructive feedback on conducting scholarly activities of the highest rigor;
  • provide guidance for adhering to high ethical standards for conducting scholarly activities;
  • promote an inclusive and diverse environment and actively support the success of students who are underrepresented in their fields
  • create a supportive environment for research by fostering mutual respect and integrity, maintaining open lines of communication, and demonstrating sincere interest in their students’ well-being;
  • advance students’ professional development, including by assisting with developing professional goals, connecting them with opportunities and resources, integrating them into the broader culture of the discipline, and helping them develop their professional networks within and beyond academia;
  • collaborate with other faculty in team-mentoring approaches;
  • encourage the effective use of time and advise on balancing work and life responsibilities.



.This award is modelled in part on examples at the University of Oregon, Duke, and Harvard