Purpose of the Award

As research and problem solving skills become a more important part of the skill set required by the knowledge-based global economy, the demand for research mentoring has grown rapidly. Adequate mentoring support helps undergraduate and early-career graduate students develop an understanding of the demands and benefits of the research process. Students who have mentoring relationships are also more likely to properly assess their academic skills and intellectual passions and pursue graduate research opportunities to fully develop their talents for the good of society. Graduate students are uniquely positioned to identify promising researchers and help provide a supportive environment in which a passion for the discovery of new knowledge can thrive.

To recognize the considerable efforts and accomplishments of graduate students who consistently serve as effective mentors of undergraduate and early-career graduate students, the Duke University Graduate School includes a Student Award as part of the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring. Designed to allow the Duke community to identify graduate students who embody both the letter and spirit of mentoring, this award contributes to the university’s continuing efforts to cultivate a culture of mentoring.

Award Criteria

  • Recognizes the natural talents and acquired skills of undergraduates and early-career graduate students and connects them with colleagues who can help them assess and pursue a relevant and rewarding educational and professional path
  • Helps students define and achieve their academic and personal goals
  • Ensures that fellow students develop an understanding of the content and skills that undergird research in their discipline
  • Promotes the development of research skills and interests by monitoring progress and offering honest, constructive feedback when needed or sought
  • Creates a supportive environment for research and scholarship by fostering mutual respect and demonstrating sincere and active interest in the well-being of their fellow students
  • Maintains accessibility by providing consistently open lines of communication
  • Demonstrates significant growth in the development of research and teaching skills, as well as progress toward regular publication and presentation of research
  • Thoughtfully directs students to appropriate resources and shows a willingness to work collaboratively with others in multiple-mentoring relationships
  • Actively supports the academic and personal success of students who are of color, female, LGBTQ, first-generation degree-holders or non-native speakers of English—especially in fields in which those students are underrepresented. Additionally, we seek to recognize those mentors who promote an inclusive and diverse environment.