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Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

PLEASE NOTE: We have substantially changed the guidelines and process for awards nominations. Please remember to read through the description below.

To honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who consistently serve as effective mentors of doctoral students, the Graduate School has established the Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Awards for tenured faculty from any discipline. Nominators are encouraged to identify faculty who guide students throughout their professional training in a continuing, multifaceted partnership sustained by respect and concern. The successful mentor serves as advisor, teacher, advocate, sponsor, and role model. This award is part of the Graduate School's continuing efforts to foster a culture of mentoring and increase awareness that such mentors serve as models for the entire faculty.

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General Information


Nominees must be tenured faculty members who have advised a substantial number of doctoral students over a number of years. More than one nomination may be submitted from any one program. Nominators are encouraged to identify outstanding women, faculty of color, and members of other groups historically underrepresented in their discipline or profession. Note: because the D'Arms Award specifically recognizes distinguished mentoring in the humanities, this award will typically go to faculty members in fields other than the humanities.

Selection Criteria

Nominees should be scholars with a demonstrated commitment to fostering the intellectual, creative, scholarly and professional growth of their doctoral students at the highest level. Review committee members recognize that mentoring takes a variety of forms.

Number of Awards

We expect to make 3-5 awards in 2014. Each recipient receives an award of $1,000.

Source of Nominations

Nominations may be submitted by deans, directors, department/program heads, executive, promotion or award committees, or individual faculty members. If you plan to re-nominate a competitor from a prior year, please contact Pat McCune to arrange for activation of the online dossier.

Selection Process

Nominations will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee composed of senior faculty members who have themselves been recognized for their record of mentoring. Awardees will be selected by the Dean of the Graduate School, based upon recommendations of this committee. The names of the recipients will be announced shortly thereafter and the awards will be formally presented at a ceremony in April 2014.


The nomination deadline for 2014 Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award is January 29, 2014, 12PM/noon EST.

For more information contact:

Pat McCune, Ph.D.
Senior Project Manager
Telephone: (734) 936-1647

Guidelines for the Preparation of Nominations

The complete instructions for submitting a nomination for this award are available here as well as on the separate nomination website.

Listed below are the four items that must be included in the dossier before the nomination can be submitted. You will be asked to either enter text into text boxes or online forms, or upload documents in Adobe PDF format.

A nomination dossier can be set up by a U-M faculty or staff member. Up to six others may be given access to the site by the person who opens the dossier on the website. After a nomination dossier is started the nominator(s) and assistant(s) may login to the faculty awards nomination system as many times as needed in order to complete the nomination.

Contact Information Form

Provide in the online form all the contact information requested for both the nominee and the nominator--not the administrative contact.

Letter of Nomination

You may submit your nomination letter by uploading the document in Adobe PDF format. If this is a re-nomination you have the option of submitting an addendum to your earlier nomination letter or of uploading a new letter that will replace the earlier one. The nomination letter may be no longer than five pages (3,400 words) in length.

The committee members represent a range of disciplines and may not be familiar with your nominee's field; remember to describe achievements in a way that conveys the significance to those not acquainted with the discipline. It’s important that the nomination make it clear why this particular individual was nominated given the notably accomplished and engaged number of faculty mentors at U-M. If this is a re-nomination, read through the following to determine if a new letter of nomination should be submitted as guidelines have changed.

If you wish, you may include in your five pages evidence of teaching excellence or impact other than the standard teaching evaluations provided by the Registrar’s Office or used by your school or college. Please note that we will collect the teaching evaluations for your nominee and add them to the file, so that you do not need to obtain and upload this information.

While letters from others may not be included, the nominator is welcome to solicit in advance short descriptions of the nominee’s abilities and achievements from former and current students, peers and faculty with whom the nominee has co-advised. Excerpts from these may be incorporated where appropriate in the letter of nomination.

Committee members often find the following information helpful as they try to evaluate and distinguish among a highly competitive set of nominees. Persuasive letters of nomination will include reference to how the nominee:

  • models an impressive record of excellence in research and/or creative work, teaching skills, research integrity, publication or artistic presentation, and the ability to obtain funding;
  • ensures that students master the key content and skills of their discipline;
  • attracts an increased number of students to Michigan and to his or her field of study to study with the nominee;
  • promotes successful completion of students' graduate work and degree programs;
  • creates a supportive environment for research, scholarship and/or artistic production;
  • maintains accessibility by providing consistently open lines of communication;
  • provides students with the confidence, encouragement, and resources necessary to take full advantage of academic and professional opportunities;
  • integrates students into the broader culture of the discipline;
  • collaborates with other faculty in building stimulating intellectual cultures in which students thrive;
  • advances and enriches students' long-term professional development—whatever career path the student may choose;
  • contributes to graduate education in general at the University of Michigan.

Curriculum Vitae

Include the nominee's most complete and current c.v. by uploading the most recent version in Adobe PDF format.

Doctoral Committee Service Form

Complete the online form by providing in the text box the following information for all doctoral committee service in the past ten years: name of student, student’s department/program, year the degree was conferred or is expected, role served by the nominee, and placement information for the student. Please list first those for which the nominee was chair or co-chair. The awards selection committee considers placement information to be valuable in their assessment.

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Recipients of the Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award


  • Roy Clarke, Marcellus L. Wiedenbeck Collegiate Professor of Physics
  • John Jackson, M. Kent Jennings Collegiate Professor of Political Science
  • Anna Mapp, Edwin Vedejs Collegiate Professor of Chemistry
  • Shuichi Takayama, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Macromolecular Science and Engineering


  • Gerald Davis, Wilbur K. Pierpont Professor of Management and Professor of Sociology
  • Sioban Harlow, Professor of Epidemiology
  • Lori Isom, Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Daniel Klionsky, Alexander G. Ruthven Professor of Life Sciences and Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Ronald Koenig, Professor of Internal Medicine


  • Jeffrey Fessler, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor of Radiology
  • Lorraine Gutierrez, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Social Work
  • Rachel Kaplan, Samuel Trask Dana Professor of Environment and Behavior, Professor of Natural Resources, and Professor of Psychology
  • James Morrow, Professor of Political Science and Research Professor, Center for Political Studies


  • Sally Camper, Human Genetics
  • Carol Fierke, Chemistry
  • Howard Kimeldorf, Sociology
  • Ormond MacDougald, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • Theodore Norris, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


  • Mary Corcoran, Public Policy & Political Science
  • Ruth Dunkle, Social Work
  • Joseph Krajcik, Education
  • Duncan Steel, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Earl Werner, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


  • Margaret Gnegy, Pharmacology
  • Theresa Lee, Psychology
  • Karin Martin, Sociology and Women’s Studies
  • Bradford Orr, Physics
  • James Wight, Civil and Environmental Engineering


  • Robert Franzese, Political Science
  • Carol Loveland-Cherry, Nursing
  • Mark Mizruchi, Sociology
  • Michael Morris, Chemistry
  • Beverly Rathcke, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Jessica Schwartz, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Cell and Molecular Biology


  • David Engelke, Biological Chemistry
  • Mike Woodroofe, Leonard J Savage Professor of Statistics
  • Demosthenis Teneketzis, EECS
  • Rosemary Sarri, School of Social Work, Center for Political Studies, ISR
  • Bobbi Low, SNRE


  • Kate Barald, Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Mark Meyerhoff, Chemistry
  • Philip Savage, Chemical Engineering
  • Norbert Schwarz, Psychology
  • Lynn Walter, Geological Sciences