Nabila El-Bassel Receives Faculty Mentorship Award from Columbia Provost

May 13 @ 11:19 pm
By Communications Office

Nabila El-Bassel, University Professor and Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work, has received a 2021 Faculty Mentoring Award from the Office of the Provost of Columbia University. She is one of three Columbia University faculty members to be so honored this year. The announcement was made in conjunction with the University’s Commencement ceremony, held on April 30. Dr. El-Bassel has served on the CSSW faculty since 1992.

The Faculty Mentoring Award, now in its second year, recognizes senior faculty who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to developing the careers of tenure-track and mid-career faculty. Exceptional mentoring can include offering advice, feedback, and guidance on research activities; coaching mentees on work-life balance issues; providing professional opportunities for mentees; and assisting in development of teaching skills.

“Ever since arriving at CSSW, and even before, I have heard about Dr. El-Bassel’s remarkable capacity for mentoring,” said Dean Melissa Begg. “Her junior colleagues have sung her praises as an ideal role model and supporter, always thinking holistically about her mentees and their career development. I am so pleased she is receiving this well-deserved recognition for contributing to an inclusive environment where all faculty can thrive.”

El-Bassel, who is the director of the Social Intervention Group and Principal Investigator of the NIH-funded HEALing Communities Study, expressed her appreciation for being honored in this way. Describing her philosophy for working with up-and-coming faculty, she said:

In addition to meeting with mentees regularly one on one, I also encourage developing a mentorship team that stresses collaboration and team-building. This configuration challenges the traditional dyadic mentoring relationship, providing greater value to the mentee.

One of El-Bassel’s mentees, Associate Professor Carmela Alcántara, who joined the School of Social Work in 2015 and received tenure in 2020, offered a ringing endorsement of this mentoring style. “During our very first meeting, Nabila talked openly and directly about the structural barriers we both face as women of color in the academy,” she said. “Nabila understood right away the explicit and implicit challenges that I faced, and her support, critical feedback, nudges, redirection, and infectious laughter have been invaluable.”

WATCH: Video about the three 2021 awardees