Professor Laina Y. Bay-Cheng receives Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award

Portrait of Laina Bay-Cheng.
“Dr. Bay-Cheng exemplifies the kind of faculty member for which UB is known: she is committed to both rigorous scholarship and mentoring the next generational of impactful researchers. ”
Braden K. Linn, PhD, LMSW

Published December 7, 2020

Congratulations to Laina Y. Bay-Cheng, professor and associate dean for faculty affairs, on receiving the Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award. The Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award (EGSMA) is given on an annual basis, to members of the UB Graduate Faculty.

The award criteria includes demonstrating excellence by advising and mentoring that encourages the best possible performance from students; assisting unlikely or superficially unpromising students through to successful degree completion and subsequent career placement; supporting students in publishing their research and scholarships; and exemplary efforts and success with student placements.

Starting as a tenure-track faculty member in 2005, Laina Bay-Cheng went on to serve as director of the PhD in Social Welfare for seven years, mentoring numerous students along the way. In her nomination letter, Dean Nancy J. Smyth observes that Bay-Cheng's "drive, commitment, work ethic and passion, all of which contribute to her success as a mentor, teacher and scholar." Additionally, Dean Smyth goes on to reflect that, "Dr. Bay-Cheng stands out as the strongest mentor with whom I have ever worked. Her combination of passion, high standards, wholistic perspective, and high support, are a stellar, “secret sauce” for mentoring. In providing this outstanding level of mentoring, she has made a transformational impact on the lives and careers of the students she has touched.  And as I consider that these students will then go on to mentor their own students, I am truly in awe of what she has achieved, and the residual effects of her efforts."

In addition to letters of support from UBSSW faculty colleagues, other UB faculty colleagues and administrators, letters also came from many PhD student alumni. The wholehearted support from every single former student was very clearly stated.

Asli Yalim, PhD, states, "She is one of the most influential people in my life and I had tremendously benefited from her mentoring and guidance during my time at UB... She strategically helped me work towards particular goals to be a competitive candidate when it was time to apply for academic positions at the research-intensive universities. She effectively guided me on how to navigate my job interviews and campus visits and made sure that I found a work environment where I could be happy as a person and be productive as a researcher."