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UW-Eau Claire faculty honored for student research mentorship

| Krista Raleigh

Three University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty members have been honored for their skill and dedication in mentoring student scholarly projects. A total of 65 individuals were nominated by students and alumni for these new mentoring awards, which will be presented annually through UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

"Great mentors need to be adept at a variety of roles; apart from intentional recruitment of students and careful design of research projects, they also serve as consultants, counselors and sometimes cheerleaders to their mentees," says Dr. Catherine Chan, executive director for research and sponsored programs. "Being a great mentor requires both skill and passion."

The Emerging Mentor in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award recognizes the following mentors who have been at UW-Eau Claire for five years or fewer:

  • Dr. Anjela Wong, associate professor of education studies, is in her fifth year at UW-Eau Claire. Student nominators describe Wong as a motivating, powerful and understanding force who displays empathy and compassion to all of her students.

  • Dr. Wufeng Tian, assistant professor of mathematics at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County, is in his fifth year in this position. Nomination materials describe Tian as always helpful and precise, while also aiming to provide as many opportunities as possible for his students.

The Excellence in Mentoring Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award honors the following mentor who has been at UW-Eau Claire for five years or more: 

  • Dr. Mary Beth Leibham, professor of psychology, has been a member of the UW-Eau Claire faculty since 2005. She has mentored numerous students, not only psychology majors but also those majoring in education, communication sciences and disorders, nursing and kinesiology. One nominator pointed to Leibham's intellectual curiosity, as she is passionate about each of the projects she and her students pursue. A second nominator shared that Leibham offers students the opportunity to enhance both their knowledge and self-confidence by engaging in truly collaborative research, thus preparing students for advanced coursework and opening doors for future opportunities.

"It has been a long-term goal of the Center of Excellence for Faculty and Undergraduate Student Research Collaboration to provide awards for top research mentors,” Chan says. "It is inspiring for me to go through the applications and understand the impact these mentors have on our students and the campus at large.”

Selection of the honorees began with nominations by students and alumni. Finalists then submitted materials, including a philosophy of mentoring and evidence of mentored student outcomes, which were evaluated by a faculty award committee. Criteria were developed by faculty and students based on published best practices and personal experience.

For more information about the awards, see Office of Research and Sponsored Programs mentoring webpage or contact Dr. Catherine Chan at