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IUB FINAL update: Power has been restored to residence halls, IMU and other areas. Full restoration expected soon. We continue to monitor the situation.

December 1, 2022, 9:42 PM EST

IUB FINAL update: Power has been restored to residence halls, IMU and other areas. Full restoration expected soon. We continue to monitor the situation.

Wong wins faculty mentor award

Joel Wong, Department Chair of Counseling and Education Psychology, has won the 2020-2021 Faculty Mentor Award from the University Graduate School.

Wong says he was utterly surprised to win the award and is grateful to his doctoral advisee Jonah Li for nominating him.

“Many years ago, when I was deciding whether to accept an offer from IU or another university, I engaged in a writing exercise in which I wrote about and imagined what a typical day at IU would look like,” Wong said. “From this experiential activity, I concluded that IU would likely be a place where I will have the opportunity to mentor outstanding graduate students. This has turned out to be true. Mentoring students has been one of my favorite and most meaningful activities at IU.”

As a mentor, Wong adopts two approaches – a holistic one and a strength-based one, discussing many aspects of his advisees’ lives while highlighting and helping them discover their strengths.

Mentoring students has been one of my favorite and most meaningful activities at IU. I’m grateful to my current advisees ... as well as for my former students for the privilege of mentoring and learning from them.

Professor Joel Wong

“One of the mottos I live by is that I strive to see my mentees not for who they are (the present) or for what they’ve done (the past), but for who they can become (the future). That is, I try to observe their latent strengths and use them to predict what they can achieve in the future. And then I share my vision of their future with them,” he said.

Inspired by research Wong and his colleagues conducted on the power of writing an encouragement letter, he recently started the practice of writing a letter to each of his advisees before they graduate. In this letter, he shares his observations of their strengths and predictions of what they can accomplish in 10 years’ time. He then reads the letter to them as his parting gift. He has also mentored many students of color, and views encouragement as a racial justice tool that can underdo the pernicious effects of discrimination they’ve experience (e.g., those who have received invalidating messages about their potential for success).

“I currently have 4 doctoral advisees, all of whom are students of color. I’m grateful to my current advisees – Jonah, Keiko, Kuo and Nelson – as well as for my former students for the privilege of mentoring and learning from them,” Wong added.

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