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McVee, Qiao named recipients of Graduate Student Mentoring Award

Concept of mentoring featuring two heads facing each other, in one head is a light bulb and in the other is a sprouting plant.


Published December 13, 2022


UB faculty members Mary McVee and Chunming Qiao have been selected as the recipients of the 2022-23 Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award.

The award is presented by the Graduate School to recognize UB faculty for their support and development of graduate students through their mentoring activities.

Established in 2012, the award is given annually to members of the graduate faculty who have demonstrated “truly outstanding and sustained support and development of graduate students from course completion through research and subsequent career placement.”

McVee, professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction, Graduate School of Education, was nominated by Erin Kearney, associate professor of language education and multilingualism, and department chair.

Qiao, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was nominated by Jinhui Xu, professor and department chair.

The winners were announced by Graham Hammill, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School. Hammill said McVee will be UB’s nominee for the Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award administered each spring by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS).

The winners will also be recognized at a reception on Feb. 9 at UB.

Mary McVee.

Mary McVee

In her letter nominating McVee for the award, Kearney cited her “unparalleled mentorship and its impact on graduate students, colleagues, our department and the field of education.”

“Mary is a model of scholarly excellence for her own advisees and all students who have the good fortune of taking her classes and who come into contact with her through departmental and Graduate School of Education activities,” Kearney wrote.

“Mary’s research is of the highest quality, has had profound theoretical and empirical impacts, and has moved the field of literacy education forward. Her students routinely see, through her example, collaborative, innovative, rigorous research in action. Mary mentors students by being a consistent role model of innovative and rigorous scholarship, and routinely extends that modeling when she brings them into her work.”

Chunming Qiao.

 Chunming Qiao

In his nomination letter, Xu praised Qiao for his ability and willingness to “treat his students as his own children.”

“He cares deeply about them and is always there for them, whether they encounter difficulties in life or challenges in school,” Xu wrote.

“He celebrates their joys in life or success in school. For example, when one of his student’s younger sisters in China needed to borrow money to receive urgent medical treatment, Chunming lent a helping hand and also made sure his student received financial aid. When another student had his baby, Chunming brought flowers and baby items to his apartment.”

The nomination packets for each award recipient also included supporting letters from some of the students they have mentored.

Kearney cited a former McVee student who called McVee’s style “an immersive mentorship, since her advisees are so plugged in to opportunities to learn by doing while under her guidance.”

“Among her six student letter writers, five currently hold tenure-line positions (one is tenured),” Kearney wrote. “All speak to the profound impact Mary’s mentoring has had on their abilities to make their own contributions to the field, and all of their work is observably scaffolded by Mary, not just when they are students but in their early career stage induction to the academy.”

A former student of Qiao’s attributed his success as a professor and active researcher “largely because of the astute tutelage of Professor Qiao.”

“I owe a great deal to Professor Qiao for whatever national and international recognitions I have achieved today as a researcher,” the former student wrote. “I could weather the hardship of many professional challenges because of the training that I got through the intense scrutiny that Professor Qiao had on my progress as a researcher, as well as a person.”