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Rounds garners mentoring award from women’s leadership council

The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council honored University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professors Kathleen Rounds and Cynthia Bulik for being great mentors. The awards were presented during the council’s annual meeting at the Carolina Inn on Feb. 26.

Rounds, a professor in the UNC School of Social Work, received the faculty-to-student award. Bulik, the William R. and Jeanne H. Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the department of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine, received the council’s faculty-to-faculty mentoring award.

The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council, a volunteer committee formed during the Carolina First Campaign – the University’s major fund-raising drive that ended Dec. 31, 2007 – sponsors the awards. The council continues to be engaged with the University, and council members have raised $230,000 to endow the mentoring awards as an effort to bolster faculty support.

Bulik (left) and Rounds with their awards

The awards, which carry a stipend of $5,000 each, recognize outstanding faculty members who go the extra mile 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.

Along with her post as a professor of social work, Rounds directs the doctoral program at the School of Social Work. The school’s dean, faculty, students and friends nominated her. They described her mentorship as broad, deep, inspiring, steadfast and generous.

Dean Jack Richman said two key programs have had direct benefit of her commitment and service. They are the Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Public Health dual-degree program that she initiated in 1992, and the School of Social Work Ph.D. program, which began in 1993.

Many doctoral students wrote letters in support of Rounds’ nomination. One said this: “Kathleen lets us know that she cares about us, she is constantly available for consultations and she is ever-encouraging. Kathleen has the ability that not many teachers or bosses have to balance guidance with the provision of freedom to tap into individuals’ own skills. Her love of social work and public health and her depth of experience have truly inspired me, and I hope that someday I can be the woman and faculty member that she is.”

Another said this: “More than anything I appreciate her humor – laughter is powerful medicine for doctoral students! She is incredibly deserving of this award.”
Rounds’ nominators noted that even though this award is for faculty-student mentoring, Kathleen’s mentoring does not stop at graduation. “She helps students consider employment opportunities, reviews their curriculum vitae, conducts mock job interviews and even helps them negotiate job offers,” Richman wrote. “Many of her mentees remain in contact with her and seek ongoing counsel throughout their professional career.”

Sarah Smith Carey, who graduated from Carolina in 1969 and is a member of the council’s executive committee, said the council is pleased to sponsor these awards every year as part of its overall mission to support the University and individual students’ educational experiences.

“We created these awards to honor and recognize exceptional men and women faculty members,” Carey said. “They go above and beyond in their commitment to mentor and nurture students and junior faculty throughout their careers.”

First awarded in 2006, the mentoring awards will be an ongoing recognition program, open to tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as fixed-term faculty who have taught at UNC for at least three years. Nominations may be submitted by anyone from the UNC community, including current and former faculty, staff and students. A selection committee appointed by the provost and on which Carey serves reviews and recommends the award recipients.

The Carolina Women’s Leadership Council is a nationwide network of women. Along with providing financial support, members volunteer their time and share their expertise, champion UNC in their regions and serve on boards that further the University’s mission.

The council is co-chaired by Mary Anne Dickson, class of 1963; Molly Dewar Froelich, class of 1983; and Drucie French, classes of 1971 and 1978.