Dr. Darris Means recently began his role as a faculty member for the Department of Counseling and Human Development in UGA’s College of Education, and has already made such a significant mark on our community of practice. As a first year doctoral student in the CSAA-D program, I counted myself as extremely lucky when I learned that he would be my advisor. So, I was extremely excited when I learned that he had recently been selected as a Lilly Teaching Fellow, and I would have the opportunity to brag about my advisor!
In such a short time, he has already challenged and stretched me to become a stronger scholar. I can always depend on him to inquire about a counter narrative or an alternative perspective when discussing my research interests. Furthermore, he has truly been committed to my development as a person and a professional. I can’t begin to count the number of times that he has been willing and open to speak with me (regardless of the hour) about my professional goals. For instance, I remember reaching out for some serious support and advice about some career related decisions, and he was happy to stop what he was doing to guide me through my decision making process.
In addition to his phenomenal mentorship and tutelage, he has a track record of prolific scholarship. From publishing countless numbers of articles while pursuing his own doctoral degree and working full time, to now proposing and conducting cutting edge transformative research for the field of student affairs at UGA, his passion for social justice in higher education is so inspiring.
Though I am only beginning this doctoral journey at UGA, I am excited and confident that I have been blessed with the most passionate, motivating, and dedicated advisor that one could ask for!
Thank you for all that you do Dr. Means, and congratulations on being selected as a Lilly Teaching Fellow. You deserve it!
Raphael Coleman is currently a first year doctoral student in the CSAA-D program and serves as the Interim Director of Residence Life and Housing at Oglethorpe University. He received a M.P.H. In Behavioral Sciences and Health Education and a B.S. In Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University.