CAGS is pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen Ross, Full Professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, has been selected as a co-winner of the 2021 Dr. Suning Wang Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship.
Dr. Ross is one of Canada’s most respected and effective graduate mentors. An internationally recognized scholar in the field of Modernist Studies, Dr. Ross has been a faculty member at the University of Victoria since 2001. He has supervised 6 doctoral students and 32 master’s students to completion of their degrees and has overseen 5 postdoctoral fellowships. He currently supervises 5 graduate students and 1 postdoctoral fellow. Admired as an intellectual and professional leader by both peers and students alike, in 2020, Dr. Ross received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship, a top award that recognizes the faculty member who fosters the highest level of intellectual, professional, and personal development of graduate students at the University of Victoria.
Dr. Ross characterizes the very best of the academy in his research, his scholarship, and his engagement with students at all stages of their careers, including post-graduation. As the letters of support written by his students testify, Dr. Ross invests considerable amounts of time and energy into building carefully curated and individualized programs of study for his trainees. He founded and runs a weekly “Write Club” to provide a supportive, collegial, and inspiring environment that enables faculty and students alike to come together with a single purpose – to write. In addition to frequent collaborative work and teambuilding initiatives, Dr. Ross offers highly tailored and personalized skill sets that his graduate students carry with them, and mirror, long after their time at the University of Victoria. As one former student reflects, “Dr. Ross encouraged me to pursue my goals, and he made sure I had the material support I needed to start my degree with the help of research assistantships. Because of him, I not only attained my MLIS, but I also was the successful candidate for my dream job at UVic Libraries.” In the words of a former PhD student, now in the charge of their own mentees — “I consider myself exceedingly fortunate to have had Dr. Ross as my graduate supervisor, and I strive to live up to his example when supervising graduate students of my own.”
“Success – in grad school and academia more broadly – has at least as much to do with the relationships you build as with the material you study. Cultivate those relationships and the paths to success open up.”
“The nuances of Dr. Ross’s supervisory excellence are increasingly apparent to me as time goes on… No single person has had a larger impact on my personal and professional life.”
Exceptional supervisory diligence and responsibility are noted in all of the letters written by Dr. Ross’ former students. “Nobody has contributed more time, energy, and generosity of spirit to my intellectual and professional development,” writes a recent graduate, “and — equally as important, I’ve come to learn — nobody has been more effective in doing so.” A dedicated advocate for his students, Dr. Ross is known for going out of his way to publicly defend their interests while privately working to advance their chosen career path. According to one former PhD student, “Stephen made compelling cases on my behalf that were integral to my receiving both a Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal and — fittingly, for this nomination — the CAGS Distinguished Dissertation Award.” Other students attest to Dr. Ross’s generosity of spirit extending well beyond the classroom and even the graduation stage, with many noting they continue to seek his guidance and advice as they progress through their careers and their lives. This network of former trainees extends across North America and abroad and, coming full circle, serves to further enrich the training and support provided to Dr. Ross’s current graduate students.
For some graduate students, Dr. Ross’ demonstrated excellence in supervision and mentorship has had truly profound impacts on their lives. “I would like to fill this page with superlatives praising the generosity, patience, and elbow grease that Stephen gives students each day, but I also want to express somber and deep emotion,” writes a former postdoctoral fellow. “In short, Stephen Ross saved my life and helped me achieve my dreams of becoming an academic librarian.”
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. Stephen Ross, and we hope that his strong commitment to graduate students will inspire others to reach similar heights.