Graduate School News

Dr. Christina Burch and Dr. Thomas Whitmore win awards for excellence in doctoral mentoring

May 10, 2008

The winners of the 2008 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring are Dr. Thomas Whitmore, Department of Geography and Dr. Christina Burch, Department of Biology.

Both have mentored students in their respective fields who have gone on to successful teaching and research careers. Tom’s and Christina’s commitments towards the advancement and success of their students’ scholarship, and their compassion towards the process of completing a doctoral degree have impacted their students in ways that could not be predicted. Their nominators speak to their caring approaches, endless energy, and on-going encouragement as they navigated the path to the PhD.

Here are a few student comments from their respective nominators:

picture of Dr. Thomas WhitmoreThomas Whitmore:

“It comes as no surprise that Tom is held in the highest regard by the graduate students in our department. He gets excited about our accomplishments, he is quick to forward congratulations to departmental list-serves, and it is not uncommon for him to do graduate courses for only one student. Add to this that his students have won the top graduate fellowships and the most competitive jobs in Geography. Tom’s hard work has benefited a large number of other students as well, and they will overwhelmingly confirm his passion and dedication to graduate mentoring.”

Picture of Dr. Christina BurchChristina Burch

“...what makes Christina most worthy of an award for her doctoral mentoring are not the easily quantifiable measures of student success, although her accomplishments in these categories are impressive. Rather, it is the care, attention and effort she put into ensuring that her students were happy, healthy, and successful through their graduate careers. Christina encouraged us to establish our own record of scholarly activity, provided a supportive environment to facilitate our development onto independent researchers, and achieved a successful record of graduate degree completion among her PhD students. Christina has worked tirelessly ... to ensure that her students were mentally and emotionally and financially supported throughout the entire process of graduate school.”