Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award

About the award

The Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes the paramount role that inclusive mentoring plays in the professional development and career advancement of OIST students, postdoctoral scholars, and research staff, and the lifelong impact of excellent mentors. The award honors Faculty members’ demonstrable commitment to engender effective mentoring relationships and their ongoing efforts to cultivate productive, inclusive research environments.

Present and Past Award Recipients 

2024- Dr. Franz Meitinger

2023- Dr. Filip Husnik; honorable mention: Dr. Christine Luscombe

2022- Dr. Paola Laurino; honorable mention: Dr. Tadashi Yamamoto and Dr. Gail Tripp

2021- Dr. Kazumasa Tanaka

2020 - Dr. Amy Shen

2019 - Dr. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari & Dr. Thomas Busch

2024 Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award Citation


Award winner, Prof. Franz Meitinger holding the 2024 Faculty Excellence in Mentoring award plaque.

Professor Franz Meitinger, who leads the Cell Proliferation and Gene Editing Unit Unit, was awarded OIST’s 2024 Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award. 

The award was presented Friday, April 12, 2024, at an awards ceremony during the Faculty Retreat. President Karin Markides presented the custom-designed Okinawa glass plaque and delivered the official citation to Professor Meitinger at the ceremony. 

Here is the citation in full:

Amongst the many attributes your students and researchers have highlighted, the theme that resonates most strongly is the welcoming and collaborative research environment you have fostered, where every individual has been able to grow professionally and personally. Your mentees have extensively described examples of your patience, your encouraging feedback, and your ongoing investment in not only their research progression but just as importantly, in their wellbeing. They express deep appreciation for the countless ways in which you build their self-confidence, placing high importance on their aspirations and challenges to tailor guidance and unwavering support throughout their journey. Your leadership style embraces the unique perspectives and experiences that each member brings to inspire innovation and creativity. Again and again, your lab members express their appreciation for the inclusive climate you have created and your open and positive communication.

In the words of one mentee:

“Franz’s dedication extends beyond mere mentorship; he actively invests time and resources to nurture our holistic development, instilling [our] confidence and a passion for inquiry… He tirelessly champions mentees’ interests, amplifies their voices, and creates pathways for meaningful engagement and advancement. By fostering a supportive ecosystem, he empowers us to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and forge meaningful connections that extend beyond our immediate sphere, ultimately fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation within the scientific community.”

Nomination Process and Criteria for the Award 

Nominations may be initiated by students, researchers (postdoc, research fellows, staff scientists), and research unit technicians only. 

Only one nomination per person is allowed. However, multiple nominations from the same unit are highly encouraged as the number of nominations per nominee will be considered during the evaluation process.

Previous award recipients are not eligible for the following two years.

The nominator must complete an on-line nomination form with a required narrative statement that articulates the faculty member’s significant contributions to creating an effective, inclusive, and enriching research environment, and their impact on unit members’ personal/career development and professional advancement.

While dedicated, highly effective faculty often demonstrate effective and inclusive teaching practices, the nomination should focus on the faculty member’s contributions to mentoring but not on teaching relationships between a faculty member and students, trainees, researchers, and administrators. This award is distinct from the Excellence in Teaching Award annually conducted by the Graduate School.

The outcomes of C-Hub’s Inclusive Mentoring Mini-Symposium, together with research on mentoring have consistently revealed the following key attributes that are demonstrable of effective, inclusive mentors:

1. Inclusive, empathetic leadership and ongoing cultivation of a respectful, healthy, and collaborative research climate for all members.

Effective mentors engage in intellectual, empathetic leadership to support and foster inclusive, equitable, and productive research environments that allow all individuals to develop and succeed. They model best practices and treat every individual respectfully, sharing experiences – including successes and failures – to enable mentees to recognize the multiple pathways in career development.

2. Empowerment of mentees through ongoing feedback and clear communication

Mentoring relationships are strengthened through effective ongoing guidance and constructive feedback. Effective mentors are active listeners, and provide and facilitate clear and transparent communication. Expectations, roles, and practices are clearly articulated for all members of the research team, and mentors also model their own commitment to meeting expectations as well.

3. Commitment and valuing of personal and professional growth

Inclusive mentorship enables all members to develop a sense of belonging and gain ownership over their career trajectory. A mentor’s interest in, and commitment to the mentee’s personal and professional growth and their career interests builds confidence and agency, engenders motivation, and supports the mentee’s lifelong skill development.

4. Proactive advocacy and enhancement of mentee support networks

Effective mentors recognize the constellation of support networks that provide the diverse needs of mentees at various stages of their career. They are strong advocates for their mentees, connecting them to a variety of key individuals, opportunities, and/or resources that can contribute to the mentee’s professional or personal support networks. Supporting mentees to build their networks fosters independence, while enhancing their agency to seek opportunities and benefit from their expanding mentorship community.

Nominations will be reviewed based on the four criteria described above.

Award selection committee:

  • 2 previous faculty award recipients
  • 2 representatives of the OIST Researcher Community
  • 2 student representatives