Recent Honorees / 2020 Selection Comittee:

 Elizabeth Burroughs

Elizabeth Bird

Committee Chair

  Mary Murphy

Elizabeth Burroughs

 Department Head of Mathematics

Honored 2019

Elizabeth Bird

Project Development and 
Grants Specialist

Education, Health &

Human Development

Honored 2018

Mary Murphy



Honored  2017

Call for Nominations:

Nominations for the Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award are accepted during the month of October on the Provot's webpage, and are honored each year during Spring Convocation in January.


This award is intended to recognize the extraordinary efforts by a faculty and/or staff member in mentoring women students, staff, research associates, and faculty at MSU. In particular it aims to distinguish someone who has mentored junior faculty members both prior to and beyond tenure.The award will be presented to an individual who has contributed substantially to the career development of one or more women at MSU. 


Successful mentoring is a crucial dimension of developing and retaining faculty members. Ongoing mentoring relationships contribute to the happiness and success of female faculty members by helping them negotiate the promotion and tenure process and the path to full professor, by encouraging their research and teaching activities, and providing support and role models for healthy work-life integration. This award is a way in which to formally celebrate the commitment by some of our senior faculty and staff to the mentorship of students, staff, research associates, and junior women faculty members, as part of their formal and informal service activities to the university.

What is a mentor? 

A mentor is a person who creates a supportive environment that fosters a protégée’s realization of long- and short-term professional and life goals. A mentor helps facilitate access to institutional resources, helps a protégée develop a network of relationships that can contribute to her success, and guides successful navigation of the university system. Mentoring plays an important role not only in promoting the success of individual students, staff, research associates, and faculty members, but also in fostering community among scholars at Montana State University. 


All faculty and staff members who have dedicated significant time and energy to providing outstanding mentorship to women are eligible for this award.


Women’s’ Faculty Caucus 

Award Amount: 


Selection Criteria

  • Evaluation of the nominee’s mentoring activities and skills, especially regarding their support for junior faculty members, both prior to and beyond tenure.
  • Criteria for selecting the honoree will include depth (i.e. profound efforts and effects), breadth (e.g., mentoring multiple women), and effectiveness (e.g., successfully mentoring women with career obstacles) of mentoring efforts. 

Nomination Materials 

A candidate for this award can be put forward by one or more nominators. If there are multiple nominators for a single nominee, they may submit a collective nomination and letter or submit several individual nominations with their own letters. Nominators will first fill out a standardized questions on the database, then will be emailed and prompted to send additonal materials. Each letter of nomination should be no more than 2 pages in length and include:

  • The full name and position of the nominee and the nominator(s).
  • A detailed and specific description of the nominee’s mentoring activities and skills, including information about depth, breadth, and effectiveness (as explained above).
  • An explanation of the difference this made in the nominator(s)’s career.

Past Honorees:

  • Elizabeth Burroughs, 2019
  • Elizabeth Bird, 2018
  • Mary Murphy, 2017
  • Tracy Sterling, 2016
  • Linda Young, 2015
  • Laura Black, 2014
  • Suzanne Held, 2013
  • Sarah Codd, 2012
  • Cathy Zabinski, 2011
  • Bridget Kevane, 2010