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"Exceptionally Generous"

John Abowd, the Edmund Ezra Day Professor of Economics, has received the Faculty Award for Excellence in the Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring of Graduate and Professional Students.

Coordinated by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the award recognizes exemplary teachers and advisers who helped further the educational, scholarly and professional goals of their students.

From 2010 to 2014, Abowd served as Graduate Studies director in Cornell’s Department of Economics. In that role, he revised second-year graduate paper requirements and organized the department’s first-ever student conference.

He hired faculty members specializing in macroeconomics and industrial organization, streamlined admissions procedures and greatly improved administrative efficiency, said the students who nominated him. Abowd went out of his way to look out for each and every graduate student in his department, one student recalls. “Before he was my official adviser, John monitored my grades in all of my courses. In my first year, he noticed that I was falling behind. He met with me and made sure I got the extended test taking time I needed to compensate for my ADHD.”

Abowd also supervised graduate students in research assistant roles. He encouraged students to co-author with him and present joint papers at conferences, an unusual opportunity for research assistants in the field of economics, students said. He also helped students develop valuable technical, communication and project management skills outside of their research.

Abowd held his research assistants to high standards, but also provided them with high levels of emotional support and intellectual guidance, they said, characterizing him as being “exceptionally generous with students, both in terms of his time, and in resources for professional development.”

Abowd responded to emails quickly and clearly, regularly took teams of research assistants to lunch, hosted dinner parties for research assistants and fellow faculty members, and invited international students to his home for Christmas and Thanksgiving, students said.

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