Jean DeSaix (left) and Peggye Dilworth-Anderson were recognized as top faculty mentors.

Two University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty members, one in the College of Arts and Sciences, received mentoring awards from the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council March 1 at a ceremony at the Blue Zone inside Kenan Stadium.

Jean DeSaix (pronounced De Say), a senior lecturer in the biology department in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the faculty-to-student mentoring award. The faculty-to-faculty mentoring award went to Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, a professor of health policy and management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The awards include a $5,000 stipend.

The leadership council, sponsor of the award, is a volunteer committee formed during the Carolina First Campaign, a major fundraising drive that ended in 2007. Council members have raised more than $360,000 to endow the mentoring awards.

Now in their seventh year, the awards recognize outstanding faculty members who make extra efforts to guide, mentor and lead students or junior faculty members as they make career decisions, embark on research challenges and enrich their lives through public service, teaching and educational opportunities.

“With each year, the strong culture of mentoring at Carolina becomes even stronger,” said Carol Tresolini, vice provost for academic initiatives. “Many thanks to the council members for sponsoring these awards, and congratulations to the outstanding faculty members who received them.”

DeSaix earned both her master’s degree and doctorate at UNC and has taught about 800 students in each of her nearly 40 years at Carolina. She has also been active in the Episcopal Campus Ministry, UNC Habitat for Humanity, Pre-Health Advising and Carolina Covenant, a UNC program that enables low-income students to graduate debt-free. She serves as an adviser, participates in department and campus committees, and has held leadership positions in the Faculty Council.

“She was incredibly supportive of my intellectual pursuits, often encouraging me to pursue topics of interest in research papers and course presentations,” said Paul Shorkey, a former student who went on to become a Rhodes Scholar. “[A]s I entered my senior year, she was one of my biggest advocates in applying for the Rhodes Scholarship. It was through her incredible support, both written and verbal, that I even had the confidence to apply.”

Dilworth-Anderson, who came to UNC in 2002, earned her doctorate at Northwestern University. A sociologist by training, she has researched aging for nearly 40 years, with a focus on caregiving among minority elders and Alzheimer’s. She currently serves as the interim co-director of the Institute on Aging at UNC.

Dilworth-Anderson secured a federal grant from the National Institute on Aging in 2005, awarded to senior leaders and scientists in the field of aging to promote and advance aging research. She has used the funds — more than $500,000 over six years — to help support six junior investigators and to establish a mentoring group at UNC that focuses on minority aging and health disparities. The group has met monthly since 2005.

During her career, Dilworth-Anderson has mentored more than 20 doctoral students, as well as many junior and mid-career faculty members, from a variety of disciplines. At UNC, she has served on the Provost’s Task Force on Promotion, contributing to its mentoring section.

“Mid-career and even senior scholars often seek her out for her advice in working effectively with more junior colleagues,” said one nominator. “She is seen as a role model for minority and women scholars and trainees doing scholarship in minority aging across the University and throughout the United States.”

First awarded in 2006, the Faculty Mentoring Awards are open to tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as fixed-term faculty who have taught at UNC for at least three years. A selection committee appointed by the executive vice chancellor and provost reviews and recommends the award recipients.

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