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The lasting impact of an outstanding mentor

A new faculty award highlight’s the key role played by graduate supervisors at Concordia
November 23, 2016
By Tatiana St-Louis

Tenacious motivation, hard-rock perseverance, virtuosic organizational skills and an admirable amount of studying … that’s what graduate success look like. But can you guess the one thing missing from this list? The support of a good supervisor, of course!

The relationship between student and supervisor can help distinguish between an average file and a stellar dossier, between a generic learning experience and a life-changing set of opportunities.

To highlight the critical work that graduate supervisors do on a daily basis, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) has launched its first Award for Graduate Mentoring.

Recognizing work and passion

The responsibilities of a supervisor are manifold, from the usual refining of thought processes and research angles to providing visibility, connecting students to broader networks and even assisting in the job search. Often, the relationship will continue after graduation, the supervisor having become a mentor, a colleague and in some cases a friend.

“Supervisors have a lot of impact on students,” says Amir Aghdam, associate dean of Student Affairs and Postdoctoral Studies and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“They share important lessons and behaviours, including how to relate to people like their own future mentees, colleagues and collaborators. Being a true mentor is not just about the final grades; it goes beyond.”

This is why the Graduate Mentoring Award will be allocated to a faculty member whose outstanding support, from course completion to research and placement, has contributed positively to graduate students’ success.

The recipient will receive a $1,000 professional allowance in January 2017 and will be nominated for the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools’ Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award.

Providing the tools to succeed

This award goes hand-in-hand with another landmark initiative led by the SGS. For the first time since 1996, Concordia’s guidelines for the supervision of master’s and PhD students have been reviewed and updated.

The aim is to better assist supervisors and students in fostering a meaningful academic partnership. Both parties are encouraged to get acquainted with these new recommendations.

“There are one or two people in your career who you can truly say have had a life-changing influence. They help shape the way you define who you are, both professionally and personally,” Aghdam says.

“With these initiatives, we want to give faculty members and students the tools to ensure that this impact is as positive as it gets.”

Consult the new guidelines for the supervision of master’s and PhD students.

Learn more about Concordia’s School of Graduate Studies.


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