Faculty members honored for mentorship by Alumni Association
Central to the Pacific student experience is faculty mentorship. It is often a student’s relationship with a faculty member that helps them define their interests and their passion, providing guidance that can shape and transform their future.
The Pacific Alumni Association recognized four outstanding faculty who have mentored students and alumni with the 2020 Faculty Mentor Awards:
Sacha Joseph-Mathews, Associate Professor of Marketing
Sacha Joseph-Mathews appreciates the faculty to student ratio at Pacific. "I love that I have small classes, where I can really get to know my students and develop crucial relationships," she says.
Mathews works closely with her students to convey her knowledge of marketing.
"Teaching is about opening a world to students they didn’t know existed before," she says. "It comes from the small connections we make and the moments that go beyond the standard curriculum. It’s the experiential learning, the one-on-one guidance, the heart-to-heart talks after class and during office hours or at a coffee shop."
She sees mentoring as caring, advising and empowering others to be the best version of themselves. "Mentoring is about showing students possibilities and helping them have life changing moments of discovery and exploration,” she said.
Rajul Patel ’01 ’06, Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Rajul Patel takes pride in helping develop the next generation of pharmacists. "Part of my job is to motivate students to use their acquired knowledge to make a difference in the lives of those they serve," Patel says.
Patel believes mentoring is about being relatable, a good listener and putting others in a position to succeed. "I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors throughout my life and I see how much it has shaped who I am as a person.”
The strength of the Pacific community is one of the things Patel enjoys the most about the university. "The family-like atmosphere, the collegiality, and the fact that you can get to know and work with students as more than a name on a roster is what makes this university special," he says.
Gene Pearson, Professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Interaction with Pacific students has always been the highlight of Gene Pearson's day throughout his 51 years at Pacific. "They are enthusiastic, collegial and want to grow and learn," Pearson explains. "I hope they have gained as much from me as I have gained from them over the years."
Pearson says mentoring is one of the most critical parts of a successful teaching and learning process. "I view my role as a professor as being a guide as we learn and teach one another," he says.
"Students learn and grow in different ways. The professor is a facilitator and not a director. Sometimes one guides by example and sometimes by suggestion. Establishing good communication and trust is the start of the dialogue."
Simalee Stubblefield Smith '83,
Associate Professor Emerita of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
Simalee Stubblefield Smith likes to say she chose Pacific for her own education, but Pacific chose her to educate. "I so enjoyed working with the students and the faculty," Smith says. "I know Pacific in general has a 'family feel' to it, but the Speech-Language Pathology department totally embodies that description."
For Smith, mentoring is not only about sharing expertise and helping guide others to reach their potential, but also being available for support. "It is important to remember that mentoring also means being supportive, providing encouragement in the way of a smile, listening or in pre-COVID times a hug," she says.
Smith recalls a former student, Derek Isetti, who was hired to take her faculty position when she retired. "He said I was the reason that he wanted to teach and I never thought I was a mentor to Derek," she explains. "You just never know the impact you may have on others. I always hope it is a positive one."