As a teacher, a collaborator, and a de facto career counselor, Tim’s investment in the students of our department is extraordinary.
Tim’s commitment to me as a mentor, however, extends beyond any particular project or paper. On numerous occasions, he has shown his commitment to me as an academic and an individual holistically.
I was even more impressed, however, when several weeks into the summer he approached me about collaborating on a new project … I am the first to admit that the work on this project has often caught me outside of my academic ‘comfort zone,’ and certainly Tim could have completed this project without my participation – nonetheless, throughout the process, Tim has treated me as nothing less than a full colleague and collaborator, and I have learned immensely from both him and the process.
Tim is uniquely able to walk the fine line between setting high expectations for his students and providing them with the encouragement necessary to meet those expectations.
One particular meeting stands out: last November, I was struggling to get a first draft of my dissertation proposal completed. Several days past our agreed upon deadline, I finally sent something to Tim. The document was embarrassingly underwhelming, and I told Tim in my email that I was struggling with getting a first draft written. In his (near immediate) response, he didn’t chastise me for my lateness nor comment on my lackluster output; rather he simply said (to quote): “ Congrats on getting this written up.” The next week, he met with me for nearly three hours, and while it was clear that he was not altogether impressed with my first draft, his commitment to me and the project was as strong as ever. I left the meeting with a new theoretical model for the dissertation, a new organization of chapters, and a renewed sense of confidence.
One of the endearing (and sometimes perplexing) aspects of Tim’s mentorship is that I often get the sense that he has more faith in my abilities than I do. This was exemplified when he took a paper that I had drafted and sent it off to two senior scholars in my field, along with a note praising it.
His mentorship extends beyond our formalized relationships as student‐teacher, research assistant‐principal investigator, associate instructor‐lead instructor, and so on. Tim has often taken time to teach me the ropes of the academic profession, answering my questions and showing an active interest in my disciplinary socialization. In this, he has been abundantly generous. On countless occasions, I have sent him papers (or even barely formulated ideas) to read, to which he always responds with lengthy and helpful insights. I meet with him frequently to discuss my dissertation ideas, my ongoing research projects, and our collaborative work. These meetings rarely last for less than an hour, and I always come away from them feeling a bit smarter and more confident in my ability to be a scholar.