Congratulations to the Winners of the 2015 Faculty Awards!


John Abowd, Professor, Department of Economics

Durba Ghosh, Associate Professor, Department of History

Matthias Liepe, Associate Professor, Department of Physics


Do you know a Cornell faculty member who displays an extraordinary commitment to graduate and/or professional students? The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GPSA) is currently seeking nominations for its fourth annual Awards for Excellence in the Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring of Graduate and Professional Students.

The nomination process for the 2015 GPSA Faculty Awards is now open. Please submit nomination letters to (or to before April 3rd, 2015. Award recipients will be recognized at a reception in May.

How to Submit a Nomination

To nominate a Cornell faculty member, please submit a letter of approximately 1-2 pages to (or to by April 3, 2015. In your letter, explain how your nominee has displayed excellence in the teaching, advising, and mentoring of graduate and/or professional students. Also, please include in your letter contact information (names and e-mail addresses) for other current or past graduate or professional students who the Committee might contact for additional information about the faculty nominee. The Committee encourages writers of nomination letters to ask their colleagues to write nomination letters supporting the nomination, so that the Committee can compare multiple perspectives on a nominee’s candidacy.

In your nomination letter you might wish to address some of the following topics: advising, mentoring, professional or pedagogical development, collegiality, leadership, responsiveness, and teaching. For a more detailed (but not exhaustive) list of qualities or activities relevant to these topics, please see the Selection Criteria described below.

All Cornell faculty members are eligible for these Awards. Nomination letters may come from past or present graduate or professional students at Cornell University. The contents of nomination letters will remain confidential to the Committee, with the exception that brief quotations may be excerpted (to be read aloud at the reception, for instance) as examples of excellence in teaching, advising, and mentoring. Quotations will be excerpted anonymously as much as possible. (We cannot guarantee that quotations from nomination letters for winning candidates, for instance, will be completely anonymous.)

Check out all the past GPSA Faculty Award Winners!


Selection Criteria

The following eight selection criteria are not meant to be exhaustive, but here are the sorts of things that we believe constitute excellence in the teaching, advising, and mentorship of graduate & professional students. In your nomination letter please describe how the professor was an exemplary teacher or advisor and/or the ways in which he or she furthered your educational, scholarly, or professional goals.

  1. Advising:
    • Provides student-specific guidance on how to achieve successful completion of program requirements (i.e. exams, thesis, etc.), both in terms of content and process
    • Sets clear and reasonable expectations for progress
  2. Mentoring:
    • Provides helpful advice throughout various stages of graduate or professional school
    • Directs students towards resources, literature, and potential collaborators that can assist them in their work
    • Effectively motivates students to succeed
    • Provides helpful advice about work-life balance, as necessary or appropriate
  3. Professional Development:
    • Expresses a willingness for ongoing engagement regarding professional development
    • Works with students to define their professional goals and helps to prepare them for success
    • Suggests relevant programs, conferences, workshops or other opportunities
    • Goes above and beyond to provide students with guidance regarding time management & productivity, grant preparation, work-life balance, and other intangibles essential for professional success
  4. Collegiality:
    • Takes student ideas seriously and treats students as future colleagues
    • Provides constructive criticism
    • Attends or moderates presentations by students, when possible
    • Goes above and beyond to engage with graduate and/or professional students, including active participation in department/field life
  5. Leadership:
    • Fosters community and collegiality among students and faculty
    • Creates or implements new programs, beneficial policies, or funding opportunities for graduate and professional students
    • Outstanding service in positions relevant to graduate and professional students (both formal and informal), such as Director of Graduate Studies, job-placement officer, Department Chair, etc.
    • Serves as a good role model for the values, professional conduct, and disciplinary practices that promote the aims of research
  6. Responsiveness:
    • Provides thoughtful and timely feedback on student work
    • Creates comfortable environment for communication
  7. Teaching:
    • Offers innovative courses which provide students with a foundation in the methodology and state of knowledge in their discipline, often focused on original research, discussion of research practices/techniques, and applications
    • Creates a challenging and constructive seminar environment
  8. Pedagogy Development:
    • Models or teaches students how to be an effective teacher in the classroom and how to train and mentor undergraduate students
    • Engages graduate students in conversations about pedagogy, demonstrated through course visits, teaching feedback, incorporation of a pedagogy component into a graduate seminar, supervising courses, or discussion of pedagogy in meetings with graduate students.


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