“Mentoring is one of the great gifts of a life-long career in the academic world. We are trained by university faculty and we in turn have the special opportunity to pass this gift on — to colleagues, undergraduates, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows. I have had this opportunity for nearly 60 years.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . — Reflections, Glen H. Elder

karl alexander, Corsaro, Elder

Left: Karl Alexander, Elder’s first graduate student, now the John Dewey
Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University.
Right: William Corsaro with Glen Elder at Corsaro’s retirement celebration,
Indiana University in 2012. He was among Elder’s first doctoral candidates
at UNC-CH.

Elder’s first graduate student was Karl Alexander (in the late 60s). Elder directed his MA thesis and served on his dissertation committee. Karl’s dissertation focused on a longitudinal study of the transition from high school into young adulthood (directed by the late Bruce Eckland). This life course perspective carried over to his collaboration with Doris Entwisle on a longitudinal study of Baltimore children from grade school up to young adulthood. Drawing upon this career-long project with Doris Entwisle and Linda Olson, Karl (now the John Dewey Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University) saw their book (The Long Shadow, 2014) selected for the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2016.

Since 1973, Elder has served as dissertation chair/mentor/preceptor to a total of 63 predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, along with his role on many MA thesis and dissertation committees. He has also served on numerous undergraduate Honors and research projects. Elder encourages and enlightens in an engaging manner not only those already in the social/behavioral sciences, but also those considering a specialty in the area and those who have questions about study of the life course. Looking at the list of names and current positions (2014) of scholars he has mentored at UNC-Chapel Hill and Cornell provides a good idea of his impact across the social and behavioral sciences.

Elder with colleagues

Elder with colleagues at the Celebration of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Life of Scholarship in 1994: Mel Kohn (Director of the NIMH Laboratory of Socioenvironmental Studies) at left, then Elder, Kurt Luscher (Sociology Professor at the University of Konstanz,
Germany) and Urie Bronfenbrenner (The Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Human Development at Cornell University).

Elder’s Pre-Docs & Post-Docs
Over the years Elder has been asked about all the trainees who have been members of the life course program. The attached list represents our most complete record of the participants from one to four years and their status as of December 2017.

Photos of Pre-Docs & Post-Docs
Elder has also been an avid collector of photos of his Pre-Docs and Post-Docs. The array of photos shown here extend back to his Cornell years in the early 1980s and up to the new century, including a 2010 celebration of life course studies at ASA in Atlanta — organized by Robert  Crosnoe, Monica Johnson and his administrator extraordinaire, Terry Poythress.

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