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Scribner Award honors Kochan’s commitment to mentorship

Frances Kochan
Dr. Frances Kochan

Over the course of her career, Frances Kochan has touched countless lives while advising student groups, serving on dissertation committees, and counseling junior faculty members on the promotion and tenure process. Since joining the College of Education faculty in 1994, her door has always remained open to students and colleagues in search of encouragement and guidance. It didn’t matter if that door led to the Dean’s Office or to her present office space on the fourth floor of Haley Center.

“Her door was always open to us – even if we didn’t have an appointment,” Jennifer Wells, a doctoral candidate in educational psychology, wrote in nominating Kochan for the Jay D. Scribner Mentoring Award presented by the University Council for Educational Administration externalweb.

Kochan received the award externalweb, presented to educational leadership faculty who excel at providing mentorship to students and junior faculty, at the 2011 UCEA Convention in November. Named for University of Texas professor Jay D. Scribner, the award honors faculty members possessed of the ability to reach across lines of race, gender, and class in nurturing scholars from backgrounds under-represented in educational fields.

The award selection committee received a thick packet in support of Kochan, who served as the College of Education’s first female and fifth overall dean from 2005 to 2010. Kochan, a Wayne T. Smith distinguished professor of educational leadership, also directed the college’s Truman Pierce Institute from 1997 to 2001. She also served the college as an associate and interim dean.

However, Kochan’s current and former students know her as someone who is always willing to make time for them. In writing to the Scribner Award selection committee on Kochan’s behalf, Wells described her devotion to helping students in the Holmes Scholar program even while serving as dean.

“Rather than pass the work and responsibility of the program to someone else, she chose to invest her time, energy, and resources to ensuring that our journey was positive,” Wells wrote. “… She has the ability to see the best in others, even when they don’t see it themselves, and it motivates you to want to be the best person you can be.  She celebrates your accomplishments and helps you learn from your mistakes.”

Cindy Reed, director of the Truman Pierce Institute and Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck endowed professor for educational leadership, said Kochan has always been generous to students and colleagues.

“Fran has been one of my most important mentors,” Reed wrote. “… She is responsible for the creation of mentoring programs which have helped countless students, faculty members, and others in their academic and career journeys.”

Kochan received nomination from several colleagues from other UCEA member institutions.

Last Updated: Dec 06, 2011

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