Divisions – Health Sciences Innovative Mentor Award

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Health Sciences Division offers the Innovative Mentor Award to honor exceptional higher education mentors across all health sciences subdivisions.  This award is for mentors but not for classroom teaching. Mentors are leaders and role models for undergraduate research, scholarship, creative activities, or innovative projects. Health science disciplines focus on the core curriculum of health, wellness, disease, health care, or health management. In addition to traditionally considered health science disciplines, kinesiology, counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology are also considered part of health sciences.

The award recognizes transformative mentoring and advising of the following:

  • Innovation: Implementation of Innovative undergraduate projects or mentoring methods that are novel, unique, and proven effective
    • Uses innovative methods in guiding mentee’s research project development, management, and progress monitoring
    • Uses Innovative approaches in developing critical/creative thinking skills or in cultivating intellectual reasoning and professional growth of the mentee
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Utilization of best mentoring practice in undergraduate research/creative projects that foster diversity and inclusion;
    • Works with mentees from different backgrounds (race, religion,  gender, and age)
    • Guides mentee to interact with individuals from various backgrounds in research projects, including participants and collaborators
  • Integration and Application: Integrated mentoring approaches that connect the academic curriculum into undergraduate research to facilitate student’s future professional development.
    • Has a successful track record of mentees attending graduate school and/or entering into the professional workforce
    • Has a successful track record of mentees presenting at university-level research forums and conferences, honors thesis, and/or publications

The Award includes:

  • A cash award to the recipient,
  • A certificate of recognition,
  • Recognition through CUR’s media outlets, and 
  • A letter of commendation from CUR addressed to the recipient’s institution.

Please combine all nomination/application materials into one PDF file, and submit it online by February 11, 2024


Faculty members in health science disciplines are eligible for the award. Individual or institutional CUR membership is a requirement.

One award will be honored in each of the two categories below. 

  • Early Career: Faculty who have 0-7 years mentoring experience
  • Mid- to Advanced Career:  Faculty who have 7 or more years of teaching/mentoring experience


We encourage nominations from peers or former students, as well as self-nomination. The deadline to nominate was February 11, 2024.

Nomination Process 

The nomination packet should include:

  • A cover letter highlighting the nominee’s contributions to the mentoring of students in health sciences with descriptions of the main points of review criteria listed below (no longer than two pages)
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) tailored to showcase undergraduate mentoring activities, including publications, presentations, exhibitions, or performances with undergraduate coauthors (no longer than three pages). 
  • Optional student statements – Personalized statements from current or former undergraduate research students mentored by the nominee. The statement should include (1) how their mentor contributed to their success and (2) how the mentor provided a role model or inspiration (up to two of these statements, and each statement should be within 500 words). 
  • In lieu of statements, nominees can include up to five statements from the nominee’s course evaluations in a course that contains an undergraduate research component. 
  • Optional letter of support – A letter from the nominee’s department or program chair may be included.  The letter should focus on the nominee’s mentoring commitment and accomplishments (no longer than one page).

Review Process

A committee composed of councilors from the Health Sciences Division will review applications. We are planning to notify the award recipients in late spring.

Key Points of Review

Nominations will be evaluated and ranked on the following basis:

  • Evidence of undergraduate student mentoring
  • Evidence of professional development of students mentored
  • Evidence of impact and success


All CUR Award recipients are responsible for any and all applicable tax obligations associated with receipt of the award.

All students, faculty, mentors, organizations, and institutions honored with becoming a part of the CUR award recipient community, you have the professional and ethical responsibility to maintain the highest professional conduct standards and embody the CUR Code of Ethics for Undergraduate Research in your words, actions, and deeds. In addition, all participants are expected to abide by the CUR Code of Conduct. Expectations for awardees are to show courtesy and civility in both their personal and professional communications while forever representing CUR and the distinguished honor of the specific award rewarded. One must conduct oneself in a manner both professional and ethical.

Questions may be addressed to Kelly Massey, Ph.D.