Mentoring Milestones

Two doctoral dissertation advisers capture top honor, again, for exemplary guidance

The UF Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award recognizes faculty who excel at supporting graduate education and student research. Established in 2001, the award has never had a repeat winner — until this year. Russell Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the UF
College of Public Health and Health Professions, and Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., a distinguished professor and chair in the UF College of Pharmacy, became two-time award winners in 2018.

Dr. Russell Bauer has received UF's Doctoral Mentoring Award. This is his second time receiving it and only one other UF faculty member has received it twice

Dr. Russell Bauer has received UF’s Doctoral Mentoring Award. This is his second time receiving it and only one other UF faculty member has received it twice

By Jill Pease
Russell Bauer, Ph.D., says that as he reflects on his mentoring philosophy, he is reminded of the adage: The key to success is to surround yourself with good people.

“I feel particularly fortunate to have worked with a group of outstanding young clinical psychology researchers-in-training who have made significant contributions not only to the culture of research in the department and beyond, but also to my own research program,” said Bauer, a professor and clinical training director in the department of clinical and health psychology. “I know that I have learned as much from them as they have learned from me.”

Bauer, who joined the department in 1980, has chaired 38 dissertation committees, co-chaired seven committees and served as a committee member on an additional 97 dissertation committees. His mentees have gone on to postdoctoral and academic positions at prestigious institutions, including Brown, Dartmouth, Emory and Harvard universities and the Mayo Clinic.

“In my view, successful mentors don’t just help students develop good dissertations,” said Bauer, who first won the doctoral mentoring award in 2003-04. “They help students develop an inclination to engage in lifelong learning and to make meaningful contributions to knowledge and to their communities during their career in science.”

Students say Bauer helps them manage the stress that comes with doctoral studies, encourages creativity, facilitates the exploration of new ideas and sparks a passion for science.

“He has consistently supported and assisted on project ideas and implementation over the past five years,” said Breton Asken, a clinical psychology doctoral student. “In retrospect, it is clear to me that several ideas I presented to him had little chance of success or achieving the ‘pie in the sky’ results I hoped. Rather than reject or dismiss, Dr. Bauer always exhibited patience and encouraged pursuit. As a result, I have developed a critical eye for realistic, focused and more impactful goals.”

By Matt Splett – 

Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D.,

Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D.

Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., planned to return to Germany after spending two years in Gainesville.

That was 37 years ago.

Since then, he has made his mark at the University of Florida: mentoring more than 50 graduate students, 500 interns and postdoctoral fellows and numerous professional students. The numbers are impressive, but even more so is the quality of mentoring each student receives.

“Dr. Derendorf is very modest in that he really puts the spotlight on his trainees and lifts them up,” said former student Amelia Deitchman,
Pharm.D., Ph.D.

It’s no wonder that Derendorf has received one of UF’s highest teaching honors, for the second time. The UF Graduate School selected
Derendorf, the V. Ravi Chandran Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a distinguished professor and chair of the department of
pharmaceutics in the UF College of Pharmacy, as a 2017–18 UF Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentor Award winner. He won the
award the first time in 2008-09.

The award recognizes Derendorf for his dedication to graduate education and sponsorship of student research at the highest levels. “Teaching is my passion, and seeing a previous student mature and succeed in their career is a very rewarding event,” he said.

Many of his former students have enjoyed successful professional careers, including two former postdoctoral fellows that have become
presidents of universities. Others have joined the pharmaceutical industry, the FDA and other international regulatory agencies. Derendorf maintains contact with his former students, meeting up with them at least every other year at international conferences.

“For someone who is one of the most distinguished and well-known professors in the field of clinical pharmacology, he is very approachable
and nonjudgmental. He always puts a positive spin on things,” Deitchman said. “I recall in one situation, he said, ‘How can everyone win here?’ and that really sums up his philosophy. He is always trying to find a solution to satisfy everyone, when possible.”