Excellence in Advising

At the end of the academic year, MIT holds multiple awards ceremonies to honor students, faculty, staff, and community members who have made outstanding contributions to the shared life of the Institute. These ceremonies include the MIT Awards Convocation, whose awards recognize excellence in academics and teaching, public service, community building, diversity and inclusion, achievements in the arts and athletics, leadership, and entrepreneurship. At the 2023 Awards Convocation, DUSP’s Delia Wendel received a Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising.

"I could not imagine navigating the challenges of the doctoral program, the tumultuous pandemic years, all while becoming a first-time mom, without Delia Wendel as my steadily available, supportive advisor," wrote one student in their letter supporting Wendel's nomination. "She discussed options, opened new possibilities, provided detailed feedback: all in a manner that was intellectually challenging, warm and caring, and that built my confidence as a scholar at the start of their academic career."

The Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising is given each year to a professor from each school who has served as an excellent advisor and mentor for graduate students. Previous DUSP award recipients include: Siqi Zheng (2022), Justin Steil (2021) and Lawrence Vale (2017).

"Advising is an art. Delia has mastered it with unwavering care and thoughtful deliberation. She empowers her advisees, granting us generous freedom, all the while providing the clearest guidance possible," wrote another student in their endorsement of Wendel's exceptional advising. "We reflect carefully on how we, as researchers, should engage the general public and our scholarly peers–for which, Delia is our role model. She has brought her profound ethical commitments, illuminated by her research on peacebuilding, to her teaching and advising."

Wendel is the Spaulding Career Development Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and International Development. Her research engages forms of community repair after conflict and disaster as well as African urbanism and spatial politics. She is currently focused on two book manuscripts in progress, Rwanda’s Genocide Heritage (forthcoming, Duke University Press) and the Ethics of Stability, both building on over ten years of field work in Rwanda.

"I feel truly privileged to know Delia as an advisor and as an individual. She is not only an intellectually inspiring scholar, but one who possesses a rare generosity of spirit and effortless capacity for communication that allow her to share her knowledge and experience without a second thought," excerpted from another letter championing Wendel's nomination. "I do not exaggerate when I say that Delia Wendel raises the bar for graduate advising at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT."