Developmental Scientist Wins Inaugural Mentoring Award

Todd Little attributes his philosophy of mentorship to having good mentors.


Todd Little

A Texas Tech University professor is being honored for his work in mentoring other scientists.

Todd Little, a professor of educational psychology and leadership in the College of Education, received the inaugural Distinguished Contributions to Mentoring of Developmental Scientists Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).

The SRCD created this award to honor outstanding mentorship in the field of child development, since mentor relationships are the primary resource for new scholars to learn how to conduct high-quality research.

“Dr. Little was chosen as the inaugural winner of this mentoring award for his long history of using mentoring, advising and teaching to champion the dissemination of rigorous methodological practices to developmental scientists,” said Robert Crosnoe, chairman of the SRCD Senior Awards committee and chairman of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin.

Little, who founded the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy (IMMAP) and StatsCamp at Texas Tech, mentors students but also fields questions from colleagues on the best statistical methods, a subject about which he is passionate. He gets emails with questions, which he makes a point of answering. Less frequently, he gets an email from a colleague who just got published, thanking him for his help. He has been a co-author on hundreds of different papers with more than 300 unique authors in 87 unique journals.

“I try to make myself available as much as possible, and I think people appreciate that,” Little said. “For me there's not much greater joy than having an audience and seeing all those light bulbs go on.”

Noel Card, a professor at the University of Connecticut, nominated Little for the award. Card and Little collaborated on multiple papers, and Little was Card's mentor during Card's postdoctoral fellowship.

“During the time I have known Todd, he has consistently and generously provided gentle guidance in both my research and professional development,” Card wrote. “Despite his many obligations, Todd has never been too busy for either a quick question or in-depth discussion; as Todd once told me, he likes to 'catch potential learners when they're ready.'”

Little said he had good mentors as he was growing in his field, and a philosophy of making students partners instead of subordinates also contributed to his ability to mentor others.

Little will receive the award at the organization's biennial meeting March 20 in Philadelphia.

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College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.