Mentorship Kudos


Since the 2017 Mentorship Climate Survey was conducted by the Associate Students of the Graduate Division (ASGD), there has been a notable increase in both the prevalence and visibility of programming efforts to improve the climate of mentorship here at UCSF.

Whether it’s hosting events with expert speakers or creating opportunities for students to network with potential peer-mentors, UCSF students, staff, faculty, and administration have been making an active effort to evaluate and nurture quality mentorship.

A new development in this arena is the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars.

The push for the development of this award came from a graduate student who made use of Dean Elizabeth Watkin’s open office hours to share how the peer mentoring that graduate students and postdoctoral scholars perform often goes unrecognized, yet is essential for the social well-being, academic-progression, and career development of those involved in the UCSF graduate community.

While UCSF already had an award for recognizing faculty who excelled in their role as formal mentors, there was not a similar way to recognize graduate students and postdocs who consistently serve as excellent mentors, formally or informally, during their training.

A taskforce of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate division staff developed these awards to recognize three graduate students and three postdoctoral scholars for their efforts.

After nominations close for this year’s awards on March 31, 2019, the selected nominees will be recognized during a ceremony on June 7, 2019 in Genentech Hall and awarded a $500 prize.

This will precede the end of the year social hosted by ASGD to reinforce that this award is meant to recognize the often unseen work that graduate students, both master’s and PhD, and postdocs engage in that shapes our community and the culture of mentoring.

The selection process will involve a committee of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate division staff who will select awardees based on the merit of their nomination, not the quantity of recommendations they receive, in recognition of the diversity of our programs and ways to serve as a mentor.

To further promote the creative ways that graduate students and postdocs serve as mentors, the award recognizes three areas of mentoring:

  • Research mentoring – providing training directly related to research training and goals
  • Career and professional mentoring – supporting the non-academic or academic career goals of mentees
  • Social and inspirational mentoring – indirectly or directly guiding the mentees ability to persist and succeed in their position

This is an opportunity to give back to those among us who have gone above and

beyond the base expectations of what it means to be a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar here at UCSF.

For those who make a noticeable effort to check-in with every lab member or classmate, who share their advice on communicating with advisors, who send you their grant applications when you are unsure of how to describe your qualitative research, and those who generally go out of their way to give to our community more than they may be receiving.