April 13, 2017

2016 OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Oscar Mentoring Excellence Award Recipients!

There was an amazing pool of nominees for the OSCAR Mentoring Excellence Award, but these faculty emerged based on their excellence in mentoring undergraduate students on their research and creative projects, and by fostering a culture of student scholarship at Mason!

Changwoo Ahn

Changwoo Ahn

What I have learned from my mentoring experience is that patience, flexibility, preparation, and communication are imperative to being a successful mentor. I want my students to be empowered and transformed through my mentoring on their research and scholarship activities, so that they can develop not only much-needed skill sets, but also gain an ability and insight to integrate the things that they have learned to be able to understand the larger context of learning. I make sure they are heard, seen, and  appreciated for their inquiries, actions, and progresses during the project, which I have observed truly motivate and empower them to move on to the next step, leading a necessary progress in their learning. 

 
 
 
Rick Davis

Rick Davis

The power of mentorship is imprinted on my teacherly soul. I feel compelled to pass it on. It is my great fortune to be able to work beyond the classroom walls with students in production settings, imagining worlds on stage, researching sources and influences, testing the validity of learned precepts, employing critical thinking to make real-time artistic and interpretive choices, and reflecting on the day's work to make tomorrow's better. In production we must always "publish" our work on deadline- opening night comes on a date and time certain, and the response is always going to be both crowd-source and peer-reviewed.
 
 
 
Jason Dunick

Jason Dunick

Mentoring helps to launch a student's professional self-identity with the confidence to create their own knowledge and give back solutions to the problems we face. I interact with students as an instructor, as an academic advisor, and as a thesis advisor. In these interactions, students often come to me with specific questions, but I don't want students to solely rely on me for the answers. Eventually, students will need to be confident enough in themselves to be the source of the answers that they seek. A question about "how do you do research?" is met with a response of "what have you read that peaks your interests?" Pushing a conversation in this way opens the door for students to think more deeply about their relationship to the knowledge and scholarship that they see in their courses. With this push, students will begin to try on the role of knowledge creator instead of being a passive consumer of knowledge.

 
 

Pamela Garner

Pamela Garner

As a developmental psychologist and because of my experiences with students at different points in their college careers, I take a developmental approach to mentoring students. One element that distinguishes my research is the high level of involvement and productivity of the undergraduate students working with me. Together, my students and I conduct research on the social emotional development of young children and we work together to identify and examine cultural and family factors that may be involved in young children's competence in this area. Though I am certain the students have benefitted greatly from their work with me, I have also grown exponentially from my work with them. 

 
 
 

Linda Merola

Linda Merola

It can be too easy for faculty members to forget what it is truly like to be new to a field - the necessity of making mistakes while learning, the need to be forgiven with patience, and the importance of building confidence. The uncertainty involved in learning translates into the fact that students need a good deal of guidance, patience, and even structure in order to thrive. Never is this more apparent then with the students who embark on the risky (yet exciting) venture of participating in original research. College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Greg Robinson

Greg Robinson

My own teaching and mentoring values center on helping undergraduate students understand music's crucial role in constructing concepts like race, nation, and tradition; getting them to see that these categories of differentiation are reflections of social relationships rather than elements of a "natural" order; and helping them develop an orientation toward research and critical thought that empowers them to move beyond unquestioning acceptance of handed-down assumptions and toward thoughtful living and listening.

 
 
 
J.P. Singh

J.P. Singh

Research mentorship for me is an inspiring task in encouraging the 'research imagination'. The 'imagination' taps into the scholars' commitment and creativity, while the research component allows them to move toward excellence in a methodological fashion. I find these scholars' dedication to research to be inspiring--it reminds me of my original commitment to the world of scholarship. They have questions about the world and, often, a sense of ethics and responsibility. 
 
 

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