Graduate School

Advising and Mentoring Award Presented to Patrick Heller

Patrick Heller's nominators, all 18 of them, emphasize his genuine interest in their studies, his intense care and support for them as academics and people, and his patience and support as they work through ideas, projects, and navigate academic challenges and pandemic disruptions.

Headshot of Patrick Heller in a blue collared shirt in front of a colorful bookcase.Patrick Heller is the Lyn Crost Professor of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and International Affairs. His main area of research is the comparative study of social inequality and democratic deepening. 

Heller has advised projects on a wide range of topics, including gender and climate change action in Bangladesh and India, redistributive urban politics in Brazil and South Africa, democracy and state-building in India, China, and Pakistan, American institutions in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, the historical trajectory of union and workers movements in Tunisia, Bahrain, and Egypt, among others.

His interdisciplinary approach and frequent collaboration with researchers from other disciplines makes him an exceptionally resourceful advisor across disciplines, explain several of his nominators. They appreciate his help with securing and successfully completing fieldwork, his thoughtful feedback on their writing and encouragement for students to see the broader potential of their research.

“He patiently listened to ideas, read multiple drafts of different proposals, and connected me with supportive networks. He invited me to attend workshops and mini-conferences that would be of use and help me build connections. And ultimately, when the pandemic began in 2020, he was very supportive as I had to adjust my plans repeatedly. During such a tumultuous time, having confidence and trust in your dissertation committee is absolutely essential to surviving a PhD program,” says Amanda Ball, Sociology PhD Candidate.

Rehan Rafay Jamil ‘22 PhD shares, “Patrick has always exemplified what a mentor who centers graduate student wellbeing and success looks like. He has a gentle and non-hierarchical style and has always worked to build community in and outside the classroom. As an international student, I will never forget the numerous social events Patrick organized, with the aim to make students feel welcome and included.”

In addition to  individual advising, while serving as DGS and Chair in Sociology, Heller organized town halls, solicited graduate student feedback, and was always available to graduate students, regardless of his workload, shared his nominators.

"This award means so much to me because it is a testament to the many extraordinary graduate students I have been fortunate enough to work with,” says Heller. 

Faculty members Jerome RobinsonJessica Plavicki, Kevin Quashie and Patrick Heller received the Graduate School’s Faculty Award for Advising & Mentoring at the University Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2023.