Grad Students Honor Professors for Mentoring

The student council of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) presented three professors with the Everett I. Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award yesterday.

Professor on Health Policy and Management Robert J. Blendon of the School of Public Health, Jayne Professor of Government Jennifer L. Hochschild, and Associate Professor of Medicine Raghu Kalluri of the Harvard Medical School each received an award, which honors “those Harvard faculty members who truly go out of their way to mentor GSAS students,” said Graduate School Council (GSC) President Crystal M. Fleming.

Hochschild said yesterday afternoon after receiving the award that she valued her relationship with her advisees.

“Working with these students is just extraordinarily fun,” Hochschild said. “My job is to make them do their job better.”

Before the ceremony, GSC Vice-President Sarah A. Carter ’02 stressed the importance of mentoring, adding that it “is crucial because faculty are not just shaping you in the classroom, but also preparing you to be a future professor.”

“That is a complicated job that incorporates teaching, publishing, and your own research and writing,” Carter said. “Mentors recognize this.”

Graduate students could nominate their professors, and according to Carter, there were over 90 nomination letters for more than forty faculty nominees.

GSAS Dean Theda Skocpol called the awards “a wonderful thing” that “generate a sense of community.”

“I’m hoping before long that the descriptions of what those mentors have done to earn these wonderful awards will be posted on our new Web site at Harvard University, so that over the years everyone can see what counts for devoted and effective mentoring in the graduate school at Harvard,” she said.

While the students and professors in attendance did not discuss undergraduate advising, one student said that graduate students—who are often advisors for undergraduates—can gain insight into advising from their own mentors.

“We really care about [undergraduate] advising as graduate students,” Winthrop House Residential Tutor Jamie L. Jones ’00 said before the ceremony.

“When we have a role model ourselves for what a good adviser looks like, that makes our job easier too,” she said.

While the students and professors in attendance did not discuss undergraduate advising, one student said that graduate students—who are often advisors for undergraduates—can gain insight into advising from their own mentors.

“We really care about [undergraduate] advising as graduate students,” Winthrop House Residential Tutor Jamie L. Jones ’00 said before the ceremony. “When we have a role model ourselves for what a good adviser looks like, that makes our job easier too,” she said.