Nancy Fichtman Dana, professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, was recently selected as one of five University of Florida faculty members to receive the 2019 Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award.

Chosen by the UF Graduate School based on nominations from current and former graduate students, fellow faculty members, and/or additional department and college staff, the award seeks to encourage and reward faculty members who exhibit “excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral and Master of Fine Arts students.”

Dana has served as a mentor to doctoral students since the start of her career and shared that she loves the act of mentorship because it is highly reciprocal.

“Mentoring doctoral students provides a partner in both thinking and learning about important problems facing the field of education,” she said. “It feels like you’re giving back to the profession but then at the same time, you’re getting so much out of the relationship,” she said.

Dana shared she often reflects on the words of author and educator Parker Palmer to encapsulate the meaning of mentorship: “Mentors and apprentices are partners in an ancient human dance, and one of teaching’s greatest rewards is the daily chance it gives us to get back on the dance floor. It is the dance of the spiraling generations, in which the old empower the young with their experience and the young empower the old with new life, reweaving the fabric of the human community as they touch and turn.”