A Winning Formula for Mentoring

Professor Michael Dorff of the Department of Mathematics will be announced as the recipient of the Lawrence K. Egbert Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship award at next year’s Annual University Conference.
The teaching and learning fellowship award, which has only existed for a few years, was created to recognize faculty members that have made a significant impact in the area of mentored learning.
Professor Dorff, who has been teaching at BYU for 12 years, was nominated and eventually selected as the recipient because of his extensive involvement in mentoring undergraduate students and helping other professors explore similar mentoring opportunities.
As part of Professor Dorff’s efforts to improve undergraduate research, he received a $1.26 million NSF grant in 2006 to create and direct the BYU sponsored “Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics,” (CURM). NSF has since renewed funding of the program with another $1.28 million grant to continue the successful project.
Dorff explains the purpose of this organization. “It is used to take the BYU model for mentoring and share it with professors and students at other institutions. CURM trains and offers financial support to these professors and students.”
Professor Dorff is very excited to continue working with students on a regular basis. Sometimes at a university, especially one the size of BYU, it’s difficult to maintain a close student-professor relationship. However, “when you are a mentor,” says Dorff, “you really get to know the students. You get to give help and guidance. You can offer career advice, spiritual advice and even sometimes you can help them with dating. You get to see them grow, and that’s really neat.”
The fellowship award will “provide some flexibility to do more things,” says Professor Dorff. “It’s nice to have funds to support undergraduate research and I’m very grateful to BYU.”
—Brian Shaw, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
—Photo credit to Mathematical Association of America

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