Unveils Two New Awards for Faculty Who Advise and Mentor Undergraduates

By Susan Hagstrom
December 20, 2001

2000-2001 Awardees for Distinguished Research Mentoring of Undergraduates

Calls for 2001-2002 Nominations

February 8 Deadline

The Rhoda H. Goldman Award for Undergraduate Advising is designed to recognize faculty members who have made a significant contribution to undergraduate education by offering outstanding counsel and guidance to undergraduates in planning their academic and professional careers.

The Distinguished Research Mentoring award seeks to recognize faculty members who create extraordinary research opportunities for students beyond the classroom, and who devote unusual time and effort to encouraging and developing undergraduate researchers.

Any Berkeley student, faculty, or staff member may initiate a nomination. However, they must do so well before the Feb. 8 deadline for Departmental Chairs.

"Whatever you think I've done for you, do for at least one other person during your career." So advises Integrative Biology Professor Tyrone Hayes when undergraduate students express their appreciation for his mentoring. Hayes was one of five recipients of a new award that recognizes research mentoring at UC Berkeley. On December 6th, the College of Letters & Science honored the first recipients of the L&S Award for Distinguished Research Mentoring of Undergraduates. The five awardees, Elizabeth Abel (English), Tyrone Hayes (Integrative Biology), Renate Holub (Interdisciplinary Studies), Robert Lin (Physics/Space Sciences Laboratory), and Beth Simmons (Political Science), received the award and shared insights on mentoring undergraduates in their fields.

Professor Paul Licht, Dean of Biological Science and Chair of the L&S Deans, welcomed the audience and explained that this new award "acknowledges for the first time what Berkeley faculty have been doing for a long time with little fanfare and recognition: outstanding undergraduate mentoring." The award was initiated by Undergraduate Divisional Dean Kwong-loi Shun and was quickly supported by the other Deans of the College, allowing for one award per Division. The awardees are as follows:

Elizabeth AbelDivision of Arts and Humanities
Elizabeth Abel
, Professor of English

Professor Abel's current research project examines Jim Crow imagery in the American South. According to Abel, student research groups promote an egalitarian and collaborative method of learning. Being in the position of "co-investigators" alters power and knowledge relationships and demystifies research for students. Abel pointed to the value of fostering an interdisciplinary research group through URAP, which she sees as otherwise hard to generate on campus, and as beneficial for both students and faculty.

Tyrone HayesDivision of Biological Science
Professor Tyrone Hayes
Integrative Biology Department

Dr. Hayes studies comparative endocrinology and development, specifically the effects of environmental contaminants. On a personal note, Hayes told of the friendship, mentoring, and encouragement he received from his mentor when he was an undergraduate at Harvard, and the influence that this professor has had on his professional career.

Renate HolubUndergraduate Division
Professor Renate Holub

Dr. Holub examines the transformations taking place in the New Europe since 1989. In particular, her research focuses on the cultural, social, political and economic effects of the formation of the European Union and on the effects of migration flows—from Muslim majority countries—into Europe. Holub enjoys the interdisciplinary exploration that becomes possible when bringing together students with many diverse backgrounds.

Robert LinDivision of Physical Science
Robert Lin, Professor of Physics and Director of Space Sciences Laboratory.

Dr. Lin expressed his strong belief that undergraduates should participate in research and that they should begin early. In order to accommodate as many excellent students as possible, Lin engages his research group and graduate students in the mentoring process. Lin believes that both the students and the department benefit from this research opportunity.

Division of Social Science
Professor Beth Simmons, of the Political Science department researches the conditions under which states comply with international rules in the absence of strong central mechanisms for their enforcement. In particular, her project deals with human rights, trade disputes, and exchange controls. Simmons urged the campus to take more active steps to encourage faculty participation in undergraduate research, which includes changing the way course offerings are structured on campus. In the "hourglass" model that Simmons proposes, there would be many very large courses, a much smaller number of middle-sized courses, and a large number of smaller seminars appropriate for the teaching of hands-on research. Changing the campus culture is a challenge, but the award is a start. "It's nice to know that somebody notices," said Simmons.

The L & S colloquia, which take place once or twice each semester, provide opportunities to learn about and discuss the overarching issues affecting undergraduate education at U C Berkeley. For more information on upcoming or past programs, contact Alix Schwartz at alix@uclink4.berkeley.edu or (510) 642-8378.

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