College of Engineering Faculty Excellence Award for Graduate Student Mentorship

Purpose: The purpose of this award is to recognize a faculty member in the College of Engineering for excellence in the mentoring of graduate students.

Due: February 1, 2024

Eligibility: Any graduate faculty member (regular appointment) with at least a half-time appointment in the College of Engineering who has not received this award within the past five years.


Mentors, according to The Council of Graduate Schools, are: supporters, tutors, masters, sponsors, and models of identity (Zelditch, 1990). The nomination document for this award should address how the nominee has demonstrated excellence in expressing these qualities in their mentoring relationships. Nominations should explicitly address the impact and evidence of impact of the nominee’s mentoring of graduate students. Examples of impact could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Well-structured relationships with students that lead to successful completion of masters and doctoral degrees. These relationships include mentoring, intellectual and creative support, advocacy, respect for students, and genuine care and attention to their well-being. Evidence of the mentor inspiring success continuously and to a substantial extent is appreciated. Particular instances of the mentor tailoring their mentoring style and content for individual mentees are encouraged and could be documented by letters from past students who benefitted from such mentoring.
  • Distinguished sponsor support of Graduate Students. Investing financially in graduate student success (travel to conferences, trainings in field, collaborations, etc.)
  • Excellence in mentoring graduate students of races, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds that are different from the nominee.
  • Successful mentoring of PhDs after graduation for continued success in their careers, as evidenced by letters from past students who are well-placed, successful mentees in their chosen careers in academia, industry, government or civil society, etc.


  • Candidates may be nominated by a CURRENT Purdue Engineering faculty member or CURRENT graduate student mentee who has observed the nominee’s mentoring and can comment about its style and effectiveness.
  • The nomination package should include:
    1. Completed cover sheet.
    2. One letter of nomination (no longer than one page) that addresses how the nominee has demonstrated excellence in meeting the award criteria.
    3. Two letters of support from FORMER graduate students who have been successfully mentored by the nominee (no longer than one page each). Letter writers should explicitly address the award criteria.
    4. Nominee’s reflection (written in first person) on philosophy/approach to various aspects of graduate education (maximum two pages); this section should be written by the nominee and include, but not be limited to, excellence in graduate mentoring and graduate administrative service.
    5. Curriculum vitae including graduate courses taught; significant publications (indicate publications co-authored with graduate students by highlighting graduate student(s) names).
    6. List of past masters and doctoral students for whom the nominee served as major professor and their current positions if available (1-2 pages).
  • The above documents should be combined into a single PDF file.
  • The awardee will receive a cash award of $2,500 and an individual plaque. He or she will be honored during the annual faculty awards banquet and will be the college’s nominee for the Graduate School’s Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor Award.
  • If multiple nominations for one individual are received, the nominators will be contacted and asked to collaborate in order to submit one nomination package.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted.

Zelditch, M. (1990). Mentor roles. Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Western Association of Graduate Schools, Tempe, AZ, 16-18 March, 1990, P. 11.