When anthropology students seek guidance, they turn to resident guru Paul Jamison. “Professor Jamison is the kind of mentor that most graduate students dream of having,” said former doctoral student Lisa Pawloski, now assistant professor at George Mason University. “It was because of his reputation as an excellent mentor and adviser that I chose to attend IU in the first place.”
Photo by Chris Meyer
“He combines high expectations with gentle persistence that enables students to develop into mature scholars. Like all great mentors, he achieves this through a clever sleight-of-hand that allows the student to believe the accomplishments were largely self-derived.”
— Richard Ward, dean of students and former chair of anthropology, IUPUI
A faculty member of the IU Bloomington Department of Anthropology for more than three decades, Jamison has influenced thousands of lives as a professor, a research scientist and as a member of more than 50 doctoral committees. He has served as an undergraduate adviser and has been the department’s director of graduate studies since 1993; he currently advises 125 graduate students.
One key to Jamison’s effectiveness as a mentor stems from his own expertise in research and teaching. An exacting researcher whose published topics include the Eskimos of northwestern Alaska and monozygotic twins, he has helped generations of students overcome their fear of statistics, and has demonstrated how to devise studies that are effective and ethical.
Teaching still thrills him. Following his motto “involve me, and I’ll learn,” his classes buzz with engaging activities. In recognition of his teaching mastery, Jamison received an Instructional Development Fellowship from the IU Bloomington Dean of Faculties, won a Teaching Excellence Recognition Award and has been elected to the university-wide Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching.
Former student Eric Worch, now education department chair at the University of Michigan—Flint, recalled the advice Jamison gave him when he was unsure of his career path.
“I have had many outstanding professors at IU, but without the assistance of Professor Jamison, I would not be where I am today,” said Worch.