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The University recognizes and celebrates the contributions and achievements that MU faculty make to advance graduate and postdoctoral education.

Graduate Faculty Mentor Award

The MU Graduate Faculty Mentor Award recognizes the mentoring relationship a graduate faculty advisor has developed with graduate students.

A $1,500 honorarium is awarded to the graduate faculty member selected for this award. Only full-time, active, current graduate faculty on the MU campus are eligible.

Each department or program may nominate one faculty member. Nominators should consult with graduate students in the department or program before selecting a nominee. Past recipients of the award are not eligible. Nominations from previous years do not carry over.

Nominations are due by 5 PM (Central Time) November 1st each year. If the first day of November falls on a weekend, then the due date is the following Monday.

The nomination packet should be saved as a single pdf file labeled with the nominee’s name. It should include the following documents, saved in the following order:

  1. A completed Graduate Faculty Mentor Award Nomination Form as the cover sheet, with signatures
  2. The nominating letter, no longer than three typed pages, from a director of graduate studies, department chair/director, or dean
  3. Three to five letters of support written by former and/or current advisees
  4. One to three letters from other MU graduate faculty colleagues
  5. A one- to two-page statement from the nominee about their philosophy of working with and mentoring graduate students
  6. A list of supervised theses and dissertations

The award recipient will be selected by the Graduate Faculty Senate Awards Committee on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Quality of the philosophy of working with and mentoring graduate students
  • Quality of mentoring as perceived by former and current advisees
  • Quality of mentoring as perceived by graduate faculty colleagues
  • Productivity of the nominee’s mentoring career

Nominations will be submitted via InfoReady starting in Fall 2024

Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) Award

The Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) Award honors a faculty member who is serving as a DGS for their exceptional leadership and commitment to their graduate program and graduate students.  Awardees demonstrate innovative practices in graduate education, strong support and advocacy of graduate students, and significant advancements or positive contributions to their graduate program.

Submit a letter of nomination from the Department Chair stating why this DGS should receive the award and any other supporting documents that support the nomination.  You can include letters from students, colleagues and staff.

Nominations will be submitted via InfoReady starting in Spring 2024. The Outstanding DGS is recognized at the Graduate School’s Awards Reception in April each year.

The deadline for nominations is March 20 each year. (If March 20 falls on the weekend, then nominations will be due the following Monday.) DEADLINE EXTENDED IN SPRING 2024 TO APRIL 7.

Required Material: Submit a letter of nomination (no more than 3 pages in length) from the Department Chair explaining why the DGS should receive the award. The Chair’s nomination letter can include quotes from students, faculty colleagues, and/or staff. Upload to InfoReady as a PDF.

Optional Materials: Only the Chair’s letter of nomination is required, however you may additionally submit up to 2 supporting documents, e.g., letters from students, colleagues, and/or staff. Please combine all optional materials into a single PDF. Optional materials will uploaded to InfoReady as a single PDF. The optional supporting materials are not needed to make a competitive nomination.

Submission Process: Nomination must be submitted via InfoReady (select Outstanding DGS Award).

Postdoctoral Faculty Mentor Award

This award represents appreciation for an individual who has demonstrated either a profound, sustained, or leadership contribution to improving the postdoctoral experience.

The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to improving the postdoctoral experience through:

  • Pioneering efforts to improve postdoctoral policies, benefits, and programs.
  • Influencing sustained leadership in national systemic and/or local change for the improvement of the postdoctoral experience.
  • Advocating and raising awareness of significant and important issues that have significantly altered the postdoctoral scholar landscape.
  • Contributing to professional development, career development and resource development for postdoctoral scholars.
  • Creating agency and opportunity for postdoctoral research and advancement into academic and nonacademic careers.

Nominations are due by December 1st of each year. If the first day of December falls on a weekend, then the due date is the following Monday.

The nomination must be made by a postdoctoral scholar (anyone who is currently a postdoc or within 5 years of completing their postdoctoral training). The nomination packet should be saved as a single pdf file labeled with the nominee’s name and Postdoctoral Mentor Award. Email nominations to Dr. Valli Sarveswaran at The Office of Postdoctoral Education and the board members of the MU Postdoctoral Association will review nomination packets and select a winner.

The nomination packet should include the following documents, saved in the following order:

  1. Brief description of the nominee. Please include the nominee’s full name, title, and academic credentials.
  2. Nomination letter from you, as a current MU postdoc, describing why you believe the nominee should receive the award (1200-word limit). Consider the following points:
    • How the nominee provides “hands-on” professional development experiences for postdocs, such as writing papers or reviews and applying for grants and fellowships.
    • How the nominee provides postdocs with guidance on networking and planning for their future careers.
    • What are the philosophy, activities, characteristics, or traits of the nominee that makes them a truly outstanding mentor? Be sure to give specific examples.
    • How the nominee’s mentoring has benefited you personally (if applicable).
    • A summary of the nominee’s mentoring efforts, including, for example, the length of time that they have served as a mentor; the number of postdocs that the nominee has mentored; and examples of the success these postdocs have had under the mentor’s guidance, especially regarding increased proficiency in any of the six National Postdoc Association’s Core Competencies.
    • How the nominee has influenced the qualify of the postdoctoral experience on a local, regional, or national level.
  3. Up to three (3) supporting documents (e.g., letters of support from former postdocs within 5 years from completing their postdoctoral training and/or current postdoctoral scholars, news or journal articles).