Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring
(Co-Sponsored by the Graduate College)

A well-crafted nomination for this award would clearly address sustained excellence and innovation in graduate student mentoring.

Quick Jump:
I. Overview
II. Calendar
III. Eligibility
IV. Evaluation Criteria
V. Nominations
VI. Selection
VII. Submission
VIII. Other Awards
IX. Attachments


Faculty members from academic units with graduate instructional programs are eligible for the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring.  Up to two winners will be selected to receive this award, which was originated by the Graduate College.  The award consists of $2,000 in cash for the personal use of the faculty member selected.  Each winner will also receive a personalized commemorative plaque.

In addition, the award recipient’s academic unit will receive fellowship funds in the amount of $10,000 from the Graduate College, to be awarded in the next academic year. The academic unit, through its regular process for identifying fellowship winners, will select the fellowship recipient.  Units may use the funds to award a waiver-generating fellowship ($5,000 stipend per semester or $10,000 for the academic year) or to award a fellowship as a supplement to a waiver-generating appointment (assistantship or fellowship).

The award recipient’s academic unit also will receive $1,000 to support graduate student conference travel in the next academic calendar year.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017: Nominations are due by 5pm.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017: Awards presented at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence.

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  • Tenure-system faculty member at Illinois.
  • Taught on the Urbana-Champaign campus for at least 5 years.
  • Has not won this award in the previous 10 years. 
  • Department Chairs and Heads are eligible.

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Evaluation Criteria

  • Sustained excellence in graduate student mentoring.
  • Innovative approaches to graduate advising.
  • Major impact on graduate student scholarship and professional development.
  • Other contributions to improve graduate mentorship.  Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:  Developing courses and curricula; mentoring professional development; leading workshops on mentoring; advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning; or making other multidimensional contributions to graduate student mentoring beyond the classroom, laboratory, or studio.

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  • A nomination letter (written in narrative form) may be submitted by students, faculty members, administrators, or alumni to a departmental selection committee, which should include at least one graduate student member.
  • Faculty members who have been nominated during a particular year should not serve on the committee during that same year.

All nomination packets must contain the following information (please follow this outline when submitting your nomination):

  • The standard cover page (Attachment A) with the appropriate signatures. (Not to exceed 1 page.)
  • A nomination letter addressing each of the Evaluation Criteria described above.  The nomination letter should indicate why the nominee is exceptional as an excellent mentor of graduate students. (12 point Times New Roman or equivalent font; 1 inch margins; Not to exceed 3 pages.) 
  • A philosophy statement provided by the nominee.  This statement should include a discussion of the challenges, methods, and goals of quality graduate student mentoring.  (Not to exceed 2 pages.)
  • Two letters of support* from students, preferably one from a graduate student currently enrolled at UIUC and one from an alumnus.  (See Attachment C for a sample solicitation letter.)  (Not to exceed 2 pages each.)

    *NOTE:  Letters from students should be solicited by the departmental selection committee, not the nominee. The nominee may be asked to suggest some names and the department should add some names.

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  • Each departmental committee to which nominations are made will select its final candidates to forward to the college.  (The college may establish a limit to the number of candidates forwarded by each departmental committee.)
  • A college committee, which should include at least one graduate student member, then will select from among the final candidates which nominations to forward to the campus selection committee.  As a general rule, each college may forward no more than one nomination.  However, the College of Engineering may forward two nominations, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may forward three nominations.

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Selected nominations from each college committee should be forwarded electronically to the Office of the Provost, tab-awards@illinois.edu.  The campus selection process is overseen by the Teaching Advancement Board, and is advisory to the Provost.

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Other Awards

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List of Past Winners

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Programs & Courses / Teaching and Advancement Board / Awards for Excellence in Instruction / Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring