Barchers & Rolfe Receive 2023 SBS Outstanding Mentor Award
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Mentor Award: Camille Barchers, assistant professor of landscape architecture and regional planning (LARP), and Meredith Rolfe, associate professor of political science. This award, which includes a $1,000 prize and plaque, recognizes SBS faculty who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the mentorship of students.
Nominees for the Outstanding Mentor Award include faculty at any stage in their career who either guide students individually or, more broadly, through developing mentoring communities or other innovative models for mentoring undergraduate or graduate students.
Professor Barchers was nominated by several of her peers and students, all praising her ability to create a supportive environment. As part of her work as the lead advisor for six master’s student thesis committees, Professor Barchers has developed a group advising model that “creates an atmosphere for peer feedback and group learning.” The model has been such a success that others within the department are beginning to take a similar approach.
In addition to her work with LARP master’s students, Professor Barchers also teaches the graduate planning studio class for the department. The course includes 12-20 students working on projects for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. During the experience, Professor Barchers provides her students with team leadership training and client relations skills. The cohort for the fall 2022 class notes, “Professor Barchers guided the cohort through this process, not by holding their hands through it, but rather by giving each student confidence in their own knowledge, skills, and abilities.”
Professor Rolfe was recognized by many graduates for her mentoring work, noting that Professor Rolfe went above and beyond in her efforts to make data analysis accessible, guiding them through what can seem like intimidating subject matter. One student admires Professor Rolfe’s “knack for spotting students with untapped potential, her ability to instill confidence in them, and her willingness to value determination and hard work over privilege or past performance.”
Thanks to successful mentorship, many DACSS graduates have gone on to successful careers using their knowledge of data analysis across several industries. Still, other graduates have pursued doctoral degrees in highly-ranked programs nationwide. Each student providing nomination materials noted that Professor Rolfe opened doors for them that they might not have otherwise considered.
SBS recognizes the outstanding work of these two faculty members. The SBS Outstanding Mentor Award is presented annually to those nominated by their peers and students. Please visit the SBS website to see the complete nomination requirements and a list of all past winners.