Stuart Sweeney, a UCSB Professor of Geography since 1998, has developed an impressive record of “stepping up” to mentor graduate students with a unique combination of patience and optimism. He has supervised, as chair or co-chair, 12 Ph.D. and 2 masters students, and been a member of nearly 70 other graduate committees. His advisees note that he consistently takes personal concern regarding their professional development and that his mentoring often begins during recruitment, as he checks in on their decision ‘processing,’ and continues well after graduation.
Students collectively praise Stuart’s rigorous, exacting guidance and his availability to assist. Many graduate students rely on him for their development, and he offers support even to students who are not his formal mentees. A current student notes, “Stuart treats us equally but his mentorship is customized to each student’s abilities and needs. Though this is a difficult task to achieve he succeeds, and because of this (and his personality characteristics), his very diverse research group is a supportive, happy, healthy and effective research unit.” Stuart’s former students have gone on to successful careers as faculty members and researchers at top university departments and in federal and major metropolitan agencies. The Academic Senate is delighted to recognize Stuart as one of this year’s winners for the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award.
Stuart says, “I feel so lucky to be working in a department that attracts such fantastic students and to have been surrounded by senior faculty who provided outstanding graduate mentoring role models. Working with our graduate students has definitely been the most rewarding and fulfilling aspect of my career. It is incredibly gratifying to have my graduate mentoring recognized by this award from UCSB.”