Dean Yang receives Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award

March 30, 2022

Ford School Professor Dean Yang has been honored with the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award by the Rackham Graduate School. 

The award recognizes tenured faculty who are “outstanding mentors of (graduate) students, who support their intellectual, creative, scholarly, and professional growth, and foster a culture of intellectual engagement in which they thrive.”

Yang, a professor of public policy and economics, is known for his recruitment of graduate students to U-M, creating a rigorous and supportive environment for student scholarship and research, and advancing and enriching students’ long-term professional development.

“Dean works extremely hard to provide opportunities for his students to conduct their own independent dissertation research within the context of his research projects,” Ford School professor Brian Jacob said. “He is extraordinarily generous in providing his students opportunities to coauthor.” 

Yang often brings graduate students along with him on research trips to an array of countries, including El Salvador, Mozambique, Malawi, the Philippines, and Qatar. These trips immerse students in learning experiences and help them master sophisticated research skills.

“Meeting and working with Dean changed my professional life and set my career on a completely unexpected—incredibly rewarding—trajectory. (My trip to the Philippines) was characteristic of what I later learned was Dean’s approach to mentoring: full intellectual immersion,” Jessica Goldberg (PhD Economics and Public Policy ‘11), associate professor of economics at the University of Maryland, said. “Dean involved me in every aspect of the trip. One of the gifts Dean gives his mentees is taking their ideas seriously despite inexperience or gaps in knowledge.”

“This is wonderful news and a well-deserved award for Dean's commitment, creativity, and energy in working with our graduate students,” Ford School Dean Michael S. Barr said. “He is an outstanding mentor to doctoral students and committed to their intellectual, scholarly, and professional growth. I am really proud of his work, and so glad that Rackham has acknowledged it in this way.”