Graduate College

Outstanding Doctoral Mentors

Each year up to three faculty are recognized with an Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Award. View the current Outstanding Doctoral Mentors. To nominate an ASU tenure/tenure track faculty, please visit Outstanding Doctoral Mentor Awards page for more information.

Terence Tracey, Professor, Counseling and Counseling Psychology, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (2016). “Get B’s—stop getting A’s.” This is the message I give new graduate students. My annual ritual lecture. This lecture is met with doubt from the students. Faculty tend to view this with bemused tolerance. Students have worked long and hard to attain their high GPA and they are appropriately proud... Read more

Elly van Gelderen, Professor, English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2016). I hope that my own expertise and commitment excites students and that their interests guide my explorations. I have encouraged knowledge of and enthusiasm for syntax (my own area) but have also been excited to work with students in areas that are not my own. The below points make some of my... Read more

Elizabeth A. Wentz, Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2016). The professor’s role is defined by impact. We shape student lives through instructing, evaluating, advising, and mentoring in the classroom and beyond. In the highly intimate role as a PhD advisor, this level of influence goes both broader and deeper than what is often experienced with... Read more

Donald L. Fixico, Distinguished Foundation Professor of History, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2015). On a sunny day in early June 1976 in Norman, Oklahoma, a 25­-year-old American Indian walked from the Memorial Union in the middle of campus with three fresh copies of his completed master’s thesis under his arm. Checking his watch, just after 1:00, he headed to Bizzell Memorial Library. As he... Read more

Margaret Schmidt, Assistant Director, Professor, School of Music, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (2015). I have very strong memories of my years as a doctoral student. I began my doctoral program after 12 years of successful public school teaching. I knew I wanted to work with future teachers, and I knew that a doctorate was required to do that. Beyond that, I knew almost nothing about what I had... Read more

Paul Westerhoff, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Engineering and Science, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (2015). My graduate students know that I like using analogies to describe complex engineering principles, so I will do so here to describe my teaching philosophy as that of training a cook to become an Iron Chef. If you are not familiar with the original Iron Chef series, the 1980’s Japanese TV show pitted... Read more

Pamela Swan, Associate Professor, Exercise and Wellness, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion (2014). Reflecting on my 20 plus years in academe I realize that I have come to view the PhD educational experience as a kind of Apprenticeship and my role as the Master who uses her expertise to guide those who have entered the “guild” of scholars. Successful mentoring, in my view, involves creating a... Read more

Sethuraman (Panch) Panchanathan, School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering (2014). Mentoring graduate students is a distinct privilege, a tremendous opportunity and a solemn responsibility. When I reflect on my own experience as a graduate student, I was very fortunate to have had an outstanding mentor (Professor Morris Goldberg) who emphasized excellence, motivated me to solve... Read more

Alfredo J. Artiles, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (2014). 1) Mentoring philosophy The notion of mentoring comes from the Indo-European root men (i.e., “to think”), and the term “mentor” appears to be an agent noun of mentos, which translates as "intent, purpose" (Online etymology dictionary). Thus, I assume mentoring unfolds in collaborative... Read more

Elizabeth A. Segal, Professor of Social Work, College of Public Programs (2013). My Mentoring Philosophy When I began teaching as an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois in 1986, my senior colleagues emphasized making connections between faculty and doctoral students. I was strongly encouraged to work with doctoral students. While so many of my colleagues were... Read more

James B. Blasingame Jr., Associate Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2013). Mentoring Philosophy Over the course of my life, I have been very lucky to meet and work with some of the most wonderful people in the world, people whom I admire and respect, people who make the world a better place. The group that has meant the most to me has been the doctoral students I have... Read more

Marilyn P. Carlson, Professor of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2013). Mentoring Philosophy To be entrusted with the development of a PhD student is the most important and gratifying aspect of my professional life. With this honor comes a tremendous responsibility to shape experiences that foster my students’ curiosities and passions for studying our field’s most... Read more

Steven L. Neuberg, Foundation Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology (Social), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2012). Graduate Mentoring Philosophy On most work days, I get to play. I refer here not to simple recreations and amusements, but rather to disciplined play. Disciplined play? The very juxtaposition appears a sadistic oxymoron, in which ‘disciplined’ destroys the joyful essence of ‘play.’ It is,... Read more

Elizabeth (Beth) Blue Swadener, Professor of Culture, Society and Education / Justice and Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2012). Mentoring Philosophy and Practice Having benefited from excellent mentoring from my professors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have tried throughout my career to pay it forward in a number of ways - with over 100 doctoral mentees in three universities in the U.S. and two abroad (in... Read more

Pat Lauderdale, Professor, Justice and Social Inquiry, School of Social Transformation (2011). My perspective on mentoring reflects the lessons I learned from my home in Comanche County, Oklahoma. I attended a very small school with a group of diverse students, and there were nineteen of us in my graduating class. My best teachers were mentors who emphasized how to learn rather than simply... Read more

Cecilia Menjívar, Cowden Distinguished Professor School of Social and Family Dynamics (2011). I believe that my mentoring philosophy is simple and straightforward: to impart knowledge to the best of my abilities, to instill a sense of excitement and adventure about learning and discovery, and to create an environment of mutual respect in which students take chances, ask questions, challenge... Read more

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Regents' Professor and Joaquin Bustoz Jr. Professor of Math Biology (2011). Powerful mentoring strategies have been identified for generations and yet the fact remains that their effectiveness is primarily mentor-dependent. Individual mentorship philosophies are not built overnight, or identified from a directory of possibilities, or mass “produced” from a cadre of... Read more

Kory W. Floyd, Professor and Associate Director, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (2010). My approach to mentoring doctoral students is one of engagement, encouragement, and embodiment. Preparing for a successful academic career requires doctoral students to learn far more than the theories and methods of their discipline. It demands that they hone a range of skill sets, so they can... Read more

Jon F. Harrison, Professor and Associate Director of Facilities, School of Life Sciences (2010). Mentoring Ph.D. students is one of the most vital things that we do as faculty at ASU. Training a Ph.D. student who goes on in turn to influence thousands of students, or who spends a career pushing back the frontiers of scientific knowledge, is a great amplifier of our effect on society. I have... Read more