Chong Fang, 2023
Jennifer Field, 2022
Robyn Tanguay, 2021
Yanyun Zhao, 2020
Ramesh Sagili, 2019
David Ji, 2018
Kagan Tumer, 2017
Chris Hagen, 2016
Tom Dietterich, 2015

The Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award is awarded annually to the faculty member who best exemplifies the role of a mentor and who has provided exceptional mentoring to one or more postdoctoral scholars during the previous year.  

The interaction between the faculty mentor and postdoctoral scholar plays a central role in the development of the postdoc.

“..Effective mentoring is critical for postdoctoral training and requires that the primary mentor dedicate substantial time to ensure personal and professional development. A good mentor builds a relationship with the trainee that is characterized by mutual respect and understanding. Attributes of a good mentor include being approachable, available, and willing to share his/her knowledge; listening effectively; providing encouragement and constructive criticism; and offering expertise and guidance…”

Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors, American Association of Medical Colleges, October 2006.

To promote the importance of mentoring, the OSU Graduate School, Research Office and Office of Postdoctoral Programs will award the Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award annually to a faculty member who exemplifies the role of a mentor and who has provided exceptional mentoring to one or more postdoctoral appointees during the previous year. Nominees are identified by current postdocs, as described in the award announcement.

Award Description

The Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award was established to recognize and encourage outstanding mentoring of postdoctoral appointees by OSU Faculty members. Recipients will have direct and significant impact and involvement with postdocs, outstanding commitment and effectiveness as a mentor of postdocs, been innovative in mentoring, and have demonstrated unusual effort to provide consistent mentoring of postdocs during the course of their careers at OSU. Recipients of this award are Faculty members who have extraordinary records of excellence and effectiveness in activities such as:

  • setting mutually agreed upon expectations and goals
  • maintaining relationships with the postdoc(s) that are based on trust and mutual respect
  • showing sensitivity to the academic, personal and professional goals and needs of postdocs
  • promoting ethical standards for conducting research, including compliance with all institutional and federal regulations
  • providing sufficient opportunities to acquire the skills necessary to become an expert in an agreed upon area of investigation
  • providing a training environment that is suited to the individual needs of the postdoctoral appointee in order to ensure his/her personal and professional growth
  • encourage (and financially support) the postdoc’s attendance at professional meetings
  • recognize that there are multiple career options available for a postdoctoral appointee and providing assistance in exploring appropriate options
  • being accessible to postdocs
  • connecting them to appropriate intellectual and professional networks
  • and guiding postdocs toward intellectual and professional independence

The Award

The recipient receives a framed certificate and funding in the amount of $2,000, to be transferred to a department fund for use by the faculty awardee.


The award is open to Faculty members who mentor OSU postdoctoral appointee(s) (Postdoctoral Scholars, Research Associate Postdocs and Postdoctoral Fellows).

Selection Criteria and Process

  • Extraordinary commitment and effectiveness as a mentor of postdocs in accordance with the activities listed above
  • Demonstrated record of postdoctoral appointee success at OSU, as well as in their professional careers (e.g. scholarships/fellowships, grants, awards, placement, career achievements, scholarly works, leadership roles).
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating an environment supportive of postdoctoral appointee success.

A committee assembled by the Director of Postdoctoral Programs will review the nominations and will select the faculty member who is judged to have had the greatest positive impact on his or her postdoctoral appointee(s).  Final selections will be announced to the OSU community.

Nomination Procedure

Faculty candidates for this award must be nominated by members of the OSU postdoctoral community.  All OSU postdoctoral appointees (Postdoctoral Scholars, Research Associate Postdocs and Postdoctoral Fellows) are eligible to submit up to one nomination per year, but must have been under the mentorship of the faculty member for at least 12 months prior to the call for nominations.

To nominate a faculty member, postdoctoral appointees should write a letter that provides the following information:

  1. Name, Department/School, and email address of postdoctoral appointee
  2. Name and Department/School of faculty nominee
  3. A brief statement of the faculty member’s mentoring and its impact on the postdoctoral appointee’s development. Mentoring can relate to research design and progress, career and professional advice, personal guidance, and/or other aspects of a postdoctoral appointee’s development.
  4. A brief supporting letter from the Department Chair, School Head, or equivalent unit leader.

Letters should be no more than 2 pages in length and should be submitted electronically to the Office of Postdoctoral Programs by email to [email protected]. The subject field of the message should include the phrase “Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award”.

Electronic copies of nomination packages (including the required nomination letters and CV) for the Graduate School's Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award must be received by March 29, 2024. Award selection will be made on the basis of the information submitted.

Letters of Support

The main letter of support shall be from one or more OSU postdoctoral appointee(s), and a supporting letter is required from the Department Chair, School Head, or equivalent unit leader.  Additional letters of support from recent mentees can be submitted along with the two required letters.


The CV should specify postdocs (current and former) who the faculty member has mentored. The committee is better able to assess a candidate's excellence in mentorship when the vitae clearly highlights information such as which scholarly works are co-authored or co-produced by postdocs, the nominee's roles in postdoctoral career and professional development, and other relevant activities.

Guidelines for Nomination Packets

These guidelines are meant to aid in the organization of nomination packets. The committee's ability to compare nominees will be enhanced if the information in each nomination packet is presented in a similar manner. It is hoped that this will make the nomination and selection process a little easier.

Supporting Letter

It may be helpful to forward a copy of the criteria to those writing supporting letters and remind them that the supporting letters should address each criterion as specifically as possible. Of course, those writing letters may not be familiar with the candidate's qualifications in every area and should address only those criteria with which he or she has direct knowledge. A good rule of thumb is to discuss only criteria for which specific examples illustrating the candidate's qualifications can be provided. Especially compelling are supporting letters that demonstrate guidance and care for postdocs that goes well beyond the ordinary.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact Maureen Childers at 541-737-2033 or [email protected].