Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring

Co-sponsored by the Graduate College


A well-crafted nomination for this award would clearly address sustained excellence and innovation in graduate student mentoring. Faculty members from academic units with graduate instructional programs are eligible for the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring. Up to two recipients will be selected to receive this award. The award consists of an honorarium and a personalized commemorative plaque.


Nominations are only accepted from colleges. Contact your college to determine its deadline for departmental submissions.

February 1 – Deadline for college nominations to be submitted.

Early March – Recipient(s) and their nominator(s) will be notified.

April – Awards are presented at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence.

*When a deadline falls on a weekend or campus holiday, nominations will be due the next business day.


  • Tenure-system or specialized faculty member at Illinois
  • Taught on the Urbana-Champaign campus for at least 5 years
  • Has not won this award in the previous 10 years
  • Department Chairs and Heads are eligible

Evaluation Criteria

  • Sustained excellence in graduate student mentoring
  • Innovative approaches to graduate advising
  • Major impact on graduate student scholarship and professional development.
  • Other contributions to improve graduate mentorship (e.g., developing courses and curricula; mentoring professional development; leading workshops on mentoring; advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning; or making other multidimensional contributions to graduate student mentoring beyond the classroom, laboratory, or studio; etc.)


A nomination may be submitted by students, faculty members, administrators, or alumni, and should be submitted to a departmental selection committee.* (See Selection section below for additional information.)

*The selection committee should include at least one graduate student member. Note that faculty members who have been nominated during a particular year should not serve on the committee during that same year.

Nomination packets must include all materials described below, and should be formatted in 12-point Times New Roman or equivalent font; single-spaced; and 1-inch margins. Please follow this outline when submitting a nomination:

  • The standard cover page (Attachment A) with the appropriate signatures. (Not to exceed 1 page.)
  • A nomination letter addressing each of the Evaluation Criteria described above. The nomination letter should indicate why the nominee is exceptional as an excellent mentor of graduate students. (Not to exceed 3 pages.)
  • A philosophy statement provided by the nominee. This statement should include a discussion of the challenges, methods, and goals of quality graduate student mentoring. (Not to exceed 2 pages.)
  • Two letters of support* from students, preferably one from a graduate student currently enrolled at Illinois and one from an alumnus. (See Attachment C for a sample solicitation letter.) (Not to exceed 2 pages each.)

*NOTE: Letters from students should be solicited by the departmental selection committee, not the nominee. The nominee may be asked to suggest some names and the department should add some names.



Nominations should be submitted first to a departmental committee. This committee will select its final candidates to forward to the college. (The college may establish a limit for the number of candidates each departmental committee can submit.)

A college committee, which should include at least one graduate student member, will select the final candidate nominations to submit to campus. As a general rule, each college may forward no more than one nomination; however, the College of Engineering may forward two nominations, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may forward three nominations.

Nominations are only accepted from colleges and must be submitted to tab-awards@illinois.edu. The nomination deadline is 11:59 p.m. February 1. If this date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is 11:59 p.m. the next business day.


The campus selection process is overseen by the Teaching Advancement Board, and is advisory to the Provost. Recipient(s) and their nominator(s) will be notified by early March. Awards are presented at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence.


For more information about Campus Awards for Excellence in Instruction, contact the Office of the Provost at tab-awards@illinois.edu or 217-333-6677.