Monday, October 5, 2015

Mentoring For the Win!

The Research Prizes came with a slick pamphlet!
I would like to thank the Academy, my agent, my manager, and, of course, my family.  Today, I received an award for Faculty Mentoring at Carleton.  Why?  Damned if I know.  Ok, I may have some clues.  Unlike my last few years at my old job, since I arrived in 2012, I have said yes to nearly everything, including helping other folks with their stuff.

I am my department/school's (is NPSIA a department or a school?  hmmm)  Research Mentor.  I had never heard of such a thing before I came here, but the Vice President for Research developed this position within each unit to help foster research.  But it came with no instructions/rules/expectations.  So, my primary focus has been to help my colleagues in their pursuit of grant money.  We have created the equivalent of study groups when multiple people apply for the same grant competitions (SSHRC's Insight Grants and Insight Development Grants).  We read each other's proposals and give comments.  Nothing too special.

I have little experience with the shake, hold and grin process.
I also participated in a couple of campus wide events that were aimed at giving advice to fellow faculty: one on publishing books and the other on social media.   And, I give out heaps of advice, solicited or otherwise.  Mostly otherwise.

Of course, I am sure my colleagues at my various stops along the way are thinking: people actually listen to him?

Seriously though, this award means a great deal, as this job is not just about research.  And I would not be here if I had received much mentoring over the years.  How much?  Well, given how many I thank below, a veritable heap.

I am very grateful to many, many folks for providing suggestions, constructive criticisms (even some helpfully destructive ones), shoulders to lean on, much patience as they listened to me whine, for many letters of recommendation, and all the rest.  I will probably forget a few, but I am very, very thankful for the mentoring I have received from:
  • Ben and Isebill at Oberlin to start me on this path;
  • Miles, David, Peter C, Arend, Lisa, and Phil who guided my early work and my professionalization (don't blame them for my various flaws) at UCSD;
  • the folks in and near my cohort who gave me so much useful feedback and served as role models, especially Debbi, Hendrik, Dave, John, Brian, Neil, Lisa, Lisa, and Mike;  
  • the folks in subsequent cohorts who demonstrated that the UCSD community is mighty cool especially intergenerationally (mentors can invent new words), especially Wendy and Idean;
  • some nice folks during hard times at UVM: Tony, Cherie (something about that name..), Peter and Bob;
  • my fellow POWs at TTU: Cherie, Irwin, David (the best chair I ever had), John T, Grant, lil' Steve, and Craig;
  • all of the folks near and/or in the J-5's Balkan Mosh Pit of Despair, but especially Colonel Jim, Captain Jim, Doug, and Ray;
  • the McGill mafia of mentoring excellence (a new brandname?) also known as the supervisors of last resort: Juliet, Jacob, Stuart and Dietlind;
  • the folks at my home away from home in Ontario at Queen's: Kim, John, Margaret and David;
  • the enemy--those bandits up the canal at U of O--thanks to Phil, Marie-Eve, and Roland;
  • the NPSIA folks, especially a couple of Davids, Jean, and Dane, not to mention my favorite dean of all time (Andr√©);
  • the bloggers and tweeps who have inspired me and advised me, especially Dan, Dan, Marc, Jon, Charli, Laura, Stephanie, Caitlin, and Erin;
  • my conference pals (now a 365 day thing thanks to fb and all that) who provided much guidance and support, especially Pat, Sara, Pattie (missed so very much), Johanna, Erin, Sherrill, the poker crew, and others that I am currently forgetting;
  • the co-authors who did more than just share the research/writing:  David, Erin, MJ, Johanna, Jonathan, Phil, and especially Bill and Dave;
  • and to all of my mentorees who have suffered through my trial and errors (that mentoring is always a two-way street), and who have taught me so much: Sam, Brent, Jonathan, Suranjan, Amy, Sarah-Myriam, Ora, Aisha, and Jessica (and honorary members of Team Steve: Theo, Cesi, David, and Julie).
I am honored by this recognition.  I feel really appreciated here, which, of course, makes it easier for me to agree to do more stuff.  Their dastardly plan is working!!

I enjoy working with others.  Academia can be seen as an individual sport and often seems like it, but it can be a team sport, and I am very glad to have found great teammates along the way.

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