Dr. Douglass L. Henderson has been Chair of the Engineering Physics department since 2001. Prior to that, he served as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering from 1995-2001. Dr. Henderson has made significant contributions to mentoring of students and faculty, specifically underrepresented minorities, in engineering and the sciences from pre-college, undergraduates, and graduate students to young faculty. Dr. Henderson's innovative creation of the University of Wisconsin Graduate Engineering Scholars (GERS) program is the prime example of his dedication to mentoring students in the university environment, and diverse student populations in particular. The diversity program at the University of Wisconsin is intellectually robust and the GERS program in particular is a unique mentoring program that cuts across all engineering disciplines and connects to the physical sciences, biological sciences and mathematics. Dr. Henderson has graduated almost two dozen Ph.D. and fifty M.S. students of diverse backgrounds, a truly phenomenal record. With his outstanding record as GERS program director, as well as in his role as Associate Dean of Diversity at UW, he is the consummate mentor at all levels, from individual students to faculty and administrators to institutions. Dr. Henderson's efforts in creating the GERS program is unique, stands as a transformative organizational concept to address the recruitment, retention and graduation of under-representative minorities in the STEM fields, and is a great example for other major research universities to follow. The programs and activities that Dr. Henderson has developed in support of mentoring students of diverse backgrounds have broad impact in two ways. First, many consider the program to be the Gold Standard in engineering mentoring, in terms of how to successfully recruit and retain such students at a major Research-I university. It is being imitated nationally. Second, the GERS program has been a great example for how to improve their success in other areas of STEM, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, and the social sciences. Dr. Henderson has been the key individual at the University of Wisconsin in developing similar programs across the UW campus.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Martha L. James
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University of Wisconsin Madison
United States
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