After considering a pool of statewide candidates, the Florida Education Fund has selected professor Paul Stuart of FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work to receive the William R. Jones Outstanding Mentor Award for 2015.
Stuart served as director of the School of Social Work and coordinator of the doctoral program in Social Welfare during his first few years at FIU. In that capacity, he sought out and encouraged applications from a number of promising potential applicants. Several of those applicants qualified for the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, which is a program designed to address the underrepresentation of African-American and Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities in the state of Florida. With his support, many went on to apply to the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and were admitted to the FIU Stempel College Ph.D. program in Social Welfare.
When asked about the award, Stuart said, “It’s an honor that takes my breath away—I didn’t really expect to receive the award. It’s humbling to be recognized for doing something that I enjoy.”
Before joining FIU Stempel College in 2007, Stuart had over 30 years of teaching experience in South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin and Alabama. He also served as a clinical social worker in the Indian Health Service, U.S. Public Health Service, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His diverse experience in the academics and practical application of social work have uniquely prepared him to serve the students of FIU, a minority-majority institution.
As a not-for-profit corporation established in 1984, the Florida Education Fund has a statewide mission with a national impact by providing an avenue to ensure that educational advancement of minorities. The William R. Jones Award is the highest honor awarded by the organization to those who help minority students. Stuart will be presented the award at the Annual McKnight Doctoral Fellows Conference to be held in Tampa.