NewsNov 4, 2019

Mentoring and ‘deep connections’ earn professor plaudits

Thomas F. Donlon Memorial Award highlights Dr. Frank Daniello’s commitment to students

faculty Frank Daniello
Dr. Frank Daniello

Buoyed by the praise of current and past students, Dr. Frank Daniello was unanimously selected for this year’s Thomas F. Donlon Memorial Award for Distinguished Mentoring.

First bestowed by the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) in 2000, the award honors Thomas Donlon, known for mentoring many of his colleagues.

An associate professor in our undergraduate education program, Daniello’s nomination by Caroline Acquaviva ’20 was accompanied by several letters of support from Lesley students and alumni who benefitted from his mentorship.

“In all of my undergraduate career, I have never encountered another professor who so passionately puts in time and effort to educate individuals simply because they care,” wrote Alexis Peck ’17.

Multiple letters mentioned Daniello’s preference to be called Frank by students.

“From the first day of class, Frank expresses that the title of ‘Dr.’ should not get in the way of the meaningful and deep connections he makes with his students,” says Acquaviva, who has worked extensively with Daniello on research projects and presentations.

Marcia Delcourt, a member of the award committee, stated that one of the criteria of a mentor is “that this individual should have a genuine interest in supporting the goals of those who are being advised or mentored and have a genuine interest in expanding the horizons of these individuals.”

An experience shared by Vita Franjul ’19 encapsulates that principle. Franjul who began teaching in Boston Public Schools this year, noted a potentially “devastating setback” during her time at Lesley, when she realized she needed more credits to maintain her merit scholarship as a full-time student. Daniello, an associate professor, came to the rescue.

“Panicking, I dropped by his office and explained my situation. After looking at my academic record, without giving it a second thought, he offered me a position as his teaching assistant,” remembers Franjul. “It is then that I realized Frank’s commitment to helping students succeed and grow.”

Other students noted Daniello’s dedication and support in helping them achieve their goals, and the freedom he gave them to grow as educators. The comments and the award are gratifying for Daniello, who strives to develop strong mentor relationships.

“As an educator, it is particularly rewarding when students recognize your commitment to their learning,” Daniello said. “I learn as much from my students as they, hopefully, learn from me."