The UF Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award recognizes faculty who excel at supporting graduate education and student research. Established in 2001, the award has never had a repeat winner — until this year. Russell Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., a distinguished professor and chair in the UF College of Pharmacy, became two-time award winners in 2018.
Russell Bauer, Ph.D., says that as he reflects on his mentoring philosophy he is reminded of the old adage: the key to success is to surround yourself with good people.
“I feel particularly fortunate to have worked with a group of outstanding young clinical psychology researchers-in-training who have made significant contributions not only to the culture of research in the department and beyond, but also to my own research program,” said Bauer, a professor and clinical training director in the department of clinical and health psychology. “I know that I have learned as much from them as they have learned from me.”
Bauer, who joined the department in 1980, has chaired 38 dissertation committees, co-chaired seven committees and served as a committee member on an additional 97 dissertation committees. His mentees have received numerous national awards and have gone on to postdoctoral and academic positions at prestigious institutions, including Brown, Dartmouth, Emory, Harvard and the Mayo Clinic. In the past year, Bauer’s students have published their work in several prestigious journals, including JAMA Neurology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Brain Imaging and Behavior, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, American Journal of Sports Medicine and Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
“In my view, successful mentors don’t just help students develop good dissertations,” said Bauer, who first won the doctoral mentoring award in 2003-2004. “They help students develop an inclination to engage in life-long learning and to make meaningful contributions to knowledge and to their communities during their career in science.”
Students say Bauer helps them manage the stress that comes with doctoral studies, encourages creativity, facilitates the exploration of new ideas and sparks a passion for science.
“He has consistently supported and assisted on project ideas and implementation over the past five years,” said Breton Asken, a clinical psychology doctoral student. “In retrospect, it is clear to me that several ideas I presented to him had little chance of success or achieving the ‘pie in the sky’ results I hoped. Rather than reject or dismiss, Dr. Bauer always exhibited patience and encouraged pursuit. As a result, I have developed a critical eye for realistic, focused and more impactful goals.”
Alumnus Taylor Kuhn, Ph.D., now an assistant project scientist at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neurosciences & Human Behavior, recalls Bauer lent him important brain-behavior texts from his own library.
“He encouraged me to pursue answers to my questions through an understanding of the origins of our field,” Kuhn said. “He then riffed with me for at least an hour every week on the seemingly endless questions these books inspired.”