Distinguished Mentor Award

Distinguished Mentor Award Recipients


Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award

To honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who consistently serve as effective mentors of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, The Graduate School established a Distinguished Mentor Award in 2006 for faculty from any discipline.

The award recognizes faculty who effectively guide graduate students and postdoctoral scholars throughout their professional training in a continuing, multifaceted partnership sustained by mutual respect and concern. The relationship between a graduate student and/or postdoctoral scholar and his or her faculty advisor is one that can have a profound, lifelong influence on both parties. At its best, this mentoring relationship inspires and gives confidence to the student or postdoctoral scholar while providing the faculty member with a valued colleague.

The effective mentor serves as advisor, teacher, advocate, sponsor, and role model. Thus we seek nominations of faculty who:

  • Provide intellectual leadership. Model a record of excellence in research and/or creative work, teaching skills, research and artistic presentation and publication; ensure that students and postdoctoral scholars master the content and skills of their discipline; clearly articulate expectations and hold students and postdoctoral scholars to high standards.
  • Create a supportive environment for research, scholarship and/or artistic production; respect student and postdoctoral scholar goals and assist them in goal attainment; provide students and postdoctoral scholars with the resources necessary to take full advantage of institutional, academic and professional opportunities (publications, conferences, networking, etc.).
  • Promote successful and timely completion of students’ degree programs and postdoctoral scholar projects; are proactive and effective in student and postdoctoral scholar posttraining placement.
  • Act as advocates for students and postdoctoral scholars individually or collectively; help in overcoming problems, discord, barriers.
  • Maintain accessibility by providing consistently open lines of communication; assist students and postdoctoral scholars outside of “own group.”
  • Integrate students and/or postdoctoral scholars into the broader culture of the discipline.

Recipients of The Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award will receive an award of $2,500. Up to three awards will be made in 2017.



Nominees must be faculty members who have established a track record of advising graduate students and/or postdoctoral scholars. Nominators may recognize the many forms that mentorship can take. We encourage nomination of women, faculty of color, and members of other groups historically underrepresented in their disciplines.

Nomination procedure

Nominations may be submitted by current and former graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty.

The nominations should be addressed to:

Distinguished Mentor Award
The Graduate School
302 Park Building
201 S Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Nominations should include the following:

  1. Nominating letter (3 p maximum) addressing the criteria in this announcement.
  2. Current curriculum vitae for nominee (shorten to 5 p maximum). The CV should include material that addresses the mentor criteria, including a list of past graduate students/postdoctoral scholars with their placement/position upon leaving the University of Utah.
  3. At least three but not more than five additional letters of support from colleagues and former students and postdoctoral scholars.
  4. A letter from the department chair or dean supporting and evaluating the nomination.

Selection Process

Nominations will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee composed of faculty (including past recipients of the Distinguished Mentor Award, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students. Awardees will be selected by the dean of The Graduate School based upon recommendations of this committee.


The nomination deadline for the 2017 Distinguished Mentor Award has been extended to March 1, 2017.