Mentoring Award

We invite all GSAS students to nominate their professors and advisors to receive this unique honor. Awards will be presented annually to one or more faculty members on the basis of nominations from GSAS students. Nominations are judged by the selection committee to be prime examples of what it means to truly serve as a mentor. In addition to honoring individual faculty members for their concerns for students, it is the hope of the Council that these mentors will serve as models for the entire Faculty.

The GSC received a 1999 Program Award from the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students in recognition of the Excellence in Mentoring Awards. See the presentation made by the GSC during the recognition ceremony.

Mentoring Awards Nominations due: March 30, 2020 at 5PM


A fulfilling graduate education and successful professional and career development depends critically on the mentoring relationships students can form, especially but not solely with their thesis supervisor. Your nomination of a faculty member for an excellence in mentoring award should describe how the mentor has been outstanding in supporting, encouraging and promoting your research education, professional and personal development, and career as well as those of other students. Try to give specific examples and stories. The sole criterion for the awards is excellence in mentoring; the following are just some of the qualities which can contribute to good mentoring, and which you should look for in a mentor (in no particular order of importance, and a nominee need not have all these qualities):

  • advisor / guide in research
  • organizer of an effective environment for research and scholarship
  • developer of talents: research skills, teaching ability, presentations, writing, preparation of grant and fellowship applications, etc.
  • sponsor for students in the academic / professional community and elsewhere
  • advocate and guide in administrative, organizational and professional matters
  • successful role model
  • "friend": concern for students as people and support of their personal development
  • long-term commitment to mentoring (including changing their role as each student develops during graduate school)


The faculty nominee must have mentored one or more GSAS students.
The nominator must have been mentored by the nominee (although it is not necessary that the nominee be the nominee's principal research advisor).
All nominations will be kept strictly confidential.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I nominate my faculty mentor for an award?

If a faculty member has mentored you and made your graduate school experience academically and personally rewarding and fulfilling, the Council would like to provide recognition for these efforts which often go unnoticed. By honoring those who show concern for graduate students, the Council hopes to celebrate mentoring throughout the GSAS.

2. How do I nominate my faculty mentor for an award?

Follow the procedure outlined in the Application Procedure page. 

Although uploads are strongly preferred, in case of irresolvable technological difficulties, you may also submit your nomination by e-mail to

Please note that paper nominations will not be considered by the committee.

3. Will my advisor know that I nominated him/her? Will my advisor know that I didn't nominate him/her?

No, all nominations will be kept strictly confidential. Although we hope that students will want to inform their advisors that they have been nominated, the GSAS Student Council will not do so. You are strongly encouraged to invite your mentor to the Awards Reception and Student-Faculty Dinner, but only award recipients will be specifically invited by the Committee. Your name will not be attached to any nomination without your consent.

4. What should I include in the statement of nomination?

We have left the contents of the student statement up to you on purpose, so that you can described why the faculty nominee has contributed to your graduate school experience in whichever way is appropriate for you. Some qualities and characteristics you may want to consider, if you desire, are listed on the statement of awards criteria on this page. We encourage you to share stories and anecdotes and to be as specific as possible.

5. How long should my statement of nomination be?

Again, we have not specified a length. A paragraph may be sufficient, while several pages may be excessive. The committee will be guided by the content of your statement, not by its length.

6. What about soliciting additional letters of support?

You are welcome to ask other students to write additional letters in support of your nomination, although you are by no means expected to do so. A letter from a single student may be more than sufficient.

7. Does my nominee have to be my academic or primary research advisor?

No, students experience mentoring relationships with many faculty members, including committee members, course instructors, and others. You can nominate anyone you feel has served as a mentor to you.

8. My mentor is not in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Can I still nominate him/her?

Yes. The awards are designed to recognize faculty for mentoring GSAS students in the context of their Harvard academic program, regardless of the affiliation of the faculty members. Students in GSAS inter-Faculty graduate programs are encouraged to nominate their mentors in FAS as well as other Faculties.

9. How will the recipients be selected?

The GSC Excellence in Mentoring Awards Committee, which is composed of students from the four divisions of GSAS, will make the selections based solely upon the nominations of GSAS students. As such, the award is being bestowed by students. No faculty or administrators are involved in the selection process.