The University of Utah and the Spencer Foundation have both honored William Smith, chair of the Education, Culture & Society department in the College of Education and professor of Ethnic Studies in the School of Cultural and Social Transformation, with awards recognizing exemplary mentorship. He is one of three recipients of the U’s Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award and one of six recipients of the Spencer Foundation’s Spencer Mentor Award.
“I believe the key goals in being a successful mentor are to understand that there is unfinished business that needs to be done,” Smith wrote in connection with his U award, “unlimited (and maybe untapped) potential in people to accomplish this work, be receptive to the best information available (even if it conflicts with your previous beliefs), and believing that being a service to humanity is bigger than one person’s job to complete.”
“He provided me the tools and direction along the way (informal and formal) to make my academic career flourish,” said Jeremy D. Franklin, a student of Smith’s, in the citation for Smith’s Spencer Mentor Award. “He opened up doors for me professionally and helped me better understand what a career in research means.”
The Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award has been awarded by the Graduate School since 2006 “to honor and encourage the considerable efforts and accomplishments of faculty who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.” Learn more here.
The Spencer Foundation “has been a leading funder of education research since 1971 and is the only national foundation focused exclusively on supporting education research,” according to the foundation’s website. The Spencer Mentor Award includes a $10,000 grant to support the ongoing mentorship of winners. Learn more here.