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.