CAGS is pleased to announce that Dr. Jing Jiang, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University, has been selected as a co-winner of the 2021 Dr. Suning Wang Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Jiang has been developing his mentoring philosophy and practice at Western University, during which time he has earned a reputation for being one of Canada’s most outstanding graduate student mentors. He has supervised a total of 26 PhD students, 38 MESc students, and 20 postdoctoral fellows, as well as many more professional MEng students. His impact on the broader graduate student community at Western has been consistent and significant, and scores of students have benefited from the graduate level courses he has developed and taught since joining the university. Dr. Jiang was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020 and was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2021.
Dr. Jiang has dedicated himself to discovering ways to inspire his graduate students to go beyond their own self-limiting beliefs and to reach their full potential. He mentors each student as an individual that possesses unique strengths and areas for improvement, and focusses particularly on the development of soft skills, oral and written communication, time management, and teamwork to bring out the best in his students. Dr. Jiang routinely reviews his students’ reports and applications, even after graduation, and he has developed training materials and seminars on how to enhance the clarity and impact of both academic and professional writing.
Dr. Jiang’s commitment to fostering a healthy, stimulating, and productive learning environment for his students is evident in the two research labs that he runs at Western University. A firm believer that learning comes from doing, Dr. Jiang ensures that graduates coming through his research group are well versed not only with theoretical knowledge, but also with the advanced practical skills required to excel in their chosen fields. Dr. Jiang also encourages students to take risks and to explore new areas with a curious mind. Well-known for repeating his mantra – “Every major advancement in this world is made by those who are unhappy with the status quo!” — Dr. Jiang’s philosophy of training inquisitive graduate students has led to many innovations, scientific discoveries, and patented technologies. Building on these successes, he has trained several graduate students on the commercialization process and on the development and protection of intellectual property.
“As a graduate mentor, my job is simply to inspire young minds, support them to discover their own strength and creativity, encourage them when their research seems to be stalled temporarily, guide them back on the right track if they have gone astray, and finally to cherish their successes as if they are my own. That’s all!”
“My experience in Dr. Jiang’s laboratory was most enlightening, inspirational, productive, and transformative.”
Career preparedness is one of the most important considerations in Dr. Jiang’s mentoring philosophy. From their first day in the program through to their last, each student is carefully guided through a series of experiences designed to uncover their personal career aspirations and connect them with relevant employers. One of the unique approaches adopted by Dr. Jiang in training his graduate students is to hold annual workshops between his research team and industry partners designed to foster the exchange of ideas and potential research topics. Dr. Jiang has organized fifteen of these workshops since 2005, providing graduate students with insight on a wide range of potential career trajectories. With these clearly defined career goals established from the start, many of Dr. Jiang’s students have gone on to become faculty members at major research universities and to secure leadership positions with industry partners such as Ontario Power Generation, the Canadian Nuclear Commission, and Google. Former students of Dr. Jiang have been awarded the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award (Dr. Ervin Sejdic) and the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (Dr. Qing Zhao).
Dr. Jiang is a passionate and inclusive mentor. His graduate students have diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, and many are from underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous peoples, and those with different physical abilities. The environment created in his labs is a model for compassion, accommodation, and the promotion of mutual respect and collaboration, and through workshops and listening sessions Dr. Jiang encourages his students to share and learn from each other’s lived experiences. “Dr. Jiang is an outstanding and passionate mentor to his graduate students, fully committed to training future generations,” writes a former PhD. “His inquisitive approach and positive attitude set an excellent example for all his graduate students.”
CAGS instituted the Dr. Suning Wang Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship in 2018 to highlight and celebrate faculty members who exemplify the highest standards in teaching, training, and mentoring. CAGS is delighted to showcase the hard work and dedication of Dr. Jing Jiang, and we hope that his strong commitment to graduate students will inspire others to reach similar heights.