ACPA Awards

Each year, ACPA provides recognition to exemplary students, administrators, educators, and programs/initiatives, normally awarded at ceremonies and receptions during the Annual Convention.

Awards are broken up in to two parts: Association Awards are the highest honors and recognition ACPA provides the profession; Entity Awards highlight accomplishments of individuals, programs, and entitites (generally commissions, coalitions, state/regional and international chapters, and communities of practice. They are an opportunity to highlight best practices and scholarship that benefit students, recognize members and highlight accomplishments. We encourage all to nominate at least one mentor, peer, colleague, student, or supervisee for one of these awards. 

If you have any questions about the awards information or awards program, please contact [email protected]

Association Awards

The 14 Association Awards below are the highest honors and recognition ACPA provides the profession. These awards accept nominations beginning each summer through November. Click on the Award name to learn more about the requirements, expectations and nomination instructions for each.

Annuit Coeptis Award: Emerging Professionals

The Annuit Coeptis Award honors five early career professionals at a dinner where there can be wide-ranging discussion and exchange about professional issues. These awards were created by ACPA (College Student Educators International) to celebrate the lives of Philip A. Tripp, Ursula Delworth, and Cynthia Johnson who dearly loved to challenge their contemporary and junior colleagues in a spirit of personal and professional sharing, good humor, and intellectual debate. The Latin phrase annuit coeptis reflects Professor Tripp’s optimism for the future by suggesting that “He has smiled upon that which we have begun.” Started in 1979, this annual award honors up to three senior professionals and up to five early year professionals at a dinner where they can engage in lively and thoughtful discussions about professional issues.

To nominate a colleague for the Emerging Professional level, please submit the nominee’s current resume and at least one nomination letter explaining how the person meets the criteria listed below.

Criteria for Emerging Professionals

  1. No more than five years of full-time professional experience since completion of a master’s degree.
  2. Evidence of the potential for significant contribution to the field of student affairs in at least one of the following areas: (a) administrative service or teaching; (b) presentations (to include conference presentations) of innovative practice(s) or scholarship; (c) professional association service; or (d) leadership.
  3. Recipients must register for and attend the 2022 ACPA Annual Convention and be available to share dinner with the other award recipients (traditionally on Tuesday evening of the conference). If someone is selected for the award but is unable to register for ACPA22 and participate in the dinner, they may be considered for nomination in 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact Tony Cawthon at [email protected].

Annuit Coeptis Award: Senior Professionals

The Annuit Coeptis Award honors three senior professionals at a dinner where there can be wide-ranging discussion and exchange about professional issues. These awards were created by ACPA (College Student Educators International) to celebrate the lives of Philip A. Tripp, Ursula Delworth, and Cynthia Johnson who dearly loved to challenge their contemporary and junior colleagues in a spirit of personal and professional sharing, good humor, and intellectual debate. The Latin phrase annuit coeptis reflects Professor Tripp’s optimism for the future by suggesting that “He has smiled upon that which we have begun.” Started in 1979, this annual award honors up to three senior professionals and up to five early career professionals at a dinner where they can engage in lively and thoughtful discussions

To nominate a colleague for the Senior Professional Award, please submit a nominee’s resume and a letter explaining how the person meets the criteria listed below; up to two additional letters of support are encouraged. Nomination materials must be received no later than November 1, 2021. Please note that past recipients of the Emerging Professional Award are eligible for the Senior Award later in their careers.

Award Criteria for Senior Professionals

  1. Evidence of extensive and sustained contributions to the field of student affairs in the areas of (a) administrative service or teaching; (b) research and publication; (c) professional association service; and (d) demonstrated leadership.
  2. Evidence of Phil Tripp’s commitment to mentoring and encouraging early career student affairs professionals.
  3. Recipients must plan to register and attend the 2022 ACPA Annual Convention and be available to share dinner with the other award recipients (traditionally on Tuesday evening of the conference. Anyone who is selected for the award but unable to register for ACPA22 and participate in time together may be considered for nomination in 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact Tony Cawthon at [email protected]

Champion of Sustainability Award

The Champion of Sustainability Award is granted each year to the individual or group that best models the triple bottom line of sustainability: Healthy Environments, Social Justice, and Strong Economies. In particular, the committee members wish to see evidence of collaboration to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner.

Required documentation

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual or group meets the criteria for the award and includes the individual/group nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • Two supporting letters from department and campus leadership

Collaborative Excellence Award

The ACPA Collaborative Excellence awards recognize a program (institution or department) which has demonstrated an exemplary partnership or an innovative, collaborative initiative among academic and student affairs professionals/departments for a sustained period of two or more years. This award recognizes achievements that support and foster college student learning through the generation and dissemination of knowledge. These achievements should also inform policies, practices and programs at a college/university. Nominations may be received from any individual, regardless of institutional or individual membership affiliation with ACPA.

Award Criteria

  • Evidence of exemplary partnership or collaboration for at least 2 years
  • Evidence that the program fosters student learning and has contributed positively to the university
  • Documented assessment of the program learning outcomes and results
  • Demonstrated commitment to ACPA

Required Documentation

  • A brief abstract of the program
  • A nomination letter that articulates (a)  The program’s benefits to students; (b)  How the collaborative relationship (including the expression of values/ethics, roles/responsibilities, communication, and teams/teamwork) is critical to the achievement of the program’s goals and outcomes; (c)  Evidence that demonstrates excellence and effectiveness of the program; and, (d) the name, email address, and telephone number for the collaborative program’s point person
  • Copies of marketing materials, articles, or other publications related to the program, if appropriate
  • Two supporting letters from leaders in the field or a letter from the college/university president expressing why the collaborative program is so critically important to the institution in place of two supporting letters
  • Acknowledgement by senior leaders in the collaborating departments/institutions offering their support for the partnership and program (these may serve in the place of the two supporting letters or they may be simple brief statements of support in addition to the two letters)

Contribution to Higher Education Award

This award recognizes someone who has advanced a broad higher education agenda through work at the institutional, regional, and national levels. The recipient may be someone who has worked beyond the association to contribute to the higher education landscape and has, in a meaningful way, enhanced the work done on college campuses and with college students. The recipient of this award can be (but is not limited to) a college president, another association leader, someone from the corporate world, or a political leader.

Required Documentation:

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual/organization meets the criteria for the award and includes the nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • A minimum of three supporting letters from leaders addressing how the nominee has made significant contributions to higher education
  • The nominee’s resume or curriculum vita (if an individual)

 

Contribution to Knowledge Award

The ACPA Contribution to Knowledge Award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to the student affairs profession’s body of knowledge through published research (empirical, theoretical, applied), films, speeches, or other forms of scholarly outlets that significantly advance understanding of college students, campus environments, institutions of higher education, and student affairs practice. Recipients should be established scholars or practitioner-scholars who have demonstrated a significant impact upon the knowledge base in student affairs and higher education.

Award Criteria

  • Evidence of a body of work that significantly impacts and advances the field
  • Evidence of sustained reputation as a thought leader and scholar in the field
  • Evidence of a scholarly record that is recognized and used by other scholars and scholar-practitioners
  • Demonstrated commitment to ACPA

Required Documentation

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual meets the criteria for the award and includes the nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • A minimum of two to three supporting letters from other scholars and leaders in the field
  • The nominee’s resume or curriculum vita

Emerging Scholar Awards

Learn about the Emerging Scholars Program by visiting this link.

Esther Lloyd-Jones Professional Service Award

The Esther Lloyd-Jones Professional Service Award honors the life and work of one of the earliest pioneers of our profession, Esther Lloyd-Jones. The award recipient exemplifies the profession’s commitment to service through significant, continued, and unselfish service/leadership activities that have benefited the  nominee’s campus, the profession, ACPA, and the profession’s practice on the state and national level. 

Criteria

  • Minimum of 15 years as a scholar or practitioner in student affairs within an institution of higher education
  • Evidence of making a significant contribution(s) to the co-curricular student experience, their campus, and/or their colleagues
  • Is well versed in the literature and has evidence of applying theory to practice in their work. (This could be far ranging from student affairs, developmental theory, environmental and cultural literature and research.)
  • Demonstrated commitment to ACPA

Required Documentation

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual meets the criteria for the award and includes the nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • The nominee’s resume
  • Two supporting letters from other leaders in the field

Harold E. Cheatham Innovative Practice Award

The ACPA Innovative Practice Award (formerly Excellence in Practice Award) recognizes the outstanding work of a campus practitioner who is innovative in their approach, and who has made a significant impact on student communities on their campus. The association intends to honor practitioners who are making a difference at the local level and are successfully trying and assessing new and creative approaches to our work.

Award Criteria:

  • Minimum of 8 years as a practitioner in student affairs
  • Evidence of making a significant contribution(s) to the co-curricular student experience, their campus
  • Evidence of implementing innovative practices
  • Demonstrated commitment to ACPA

Required Documentation:

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual meets the criteria for the award and includes the nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • The nominee’s resume
  • Two supporting letters from department and campus leadership

Lifetime Achievement Award

The ACPA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have a minimum of two decades of extraordinary long-term involvement and service to the field of student affairs and/or higher education over an extended period of time. The recipient will have a recognized level of significant scholarly productivity and/or exemplary leadership at one or more institutions of higher learning as a student affairs or higher education administrator or faculty member. This award is typically presented at or near the recipient’s retirement from higher education.

Award Criteria

  • Evidence of extraordinary involvement and service to the field
  • Evidence of significant scholarly productivity and/or exemplary leadership in the field
  • Evidence of sustained contribution to the field

Required Documentation

  • Letter of nomination that articulates how the individual meets the criteria for the award and includes the nominee’s name, email address, and telephone number
  • A minimum of two to three supporting letters from other leaders in the field
  • The nominee’s resume or curriculum vita

Marylu McEwen Dissertation of the Year

*click here for the Dissertation of the Year nomination form*

The purpose of this award is to recognize a completed dissertation that demonstrates scholarly excellence and makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the general field of student affairs/student services. The dissertation may be in any scholarly tradition or methodology and focus on any topic in the field.

The Dissertation of the Year Award is named in honor of Dr. Marylu McEwen, Professor Emerita in the Student Affairs concentration with the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education, at the University of Maryland, College Park. The financial award is funded by the ACPA Foundation through an endowment started by a generous gift in honor of Marylu McEwen. Read additional information on Dr. McEwen.

Eligibility

  1. Eligible dissertations must have met all requirements of the applicant’s institution and have been signed by the applicant’s dissertation committee between 1 April 2020 and 1 August 2021.
  2. A dissertation may only be nominated once. Dissertations previously nominated will not be reconsidered.
  3. The faculty nominator must be the dissertation committee chair or member of the dissertation committee and a member of ACPA at the time of the nomination.
  4. The nominee must be a member of ACPA prior to receipt of the award.

Award

  1. One recipient will be selected annually. Additional nominees may be cited for excellence.
  2. The recipient will receive a plaque, complimentary annual convention registration for the recipient and their advisor, and a cash award of $1,000
  3. The recipient will also get to participate in a one-on-one phone call/virtual chat with Dr. McEwen.
  4. The recipient will have a reserved slot to present the dissertation results in a session during ACPA22.

Selection Process

1. The application package should be submitted using the Online Application. (available mid-August 2021)

2. Applicants will upload all required documents when submitting the application.

3. The applicant must submit a 15 double-spaced page abstract of the dissertation (inclusive of any tables and/or figures). The abstract should include the following: (1) full dissertation title; (2) statement of the study’s purpose; (3) research questions, if applicable; (4) significance of the study; (5) theoretical or conceptual underpinnings, if applicable; (6) methods – research design/approach, sampling, data collection procedures or data sources used, and data analysis; (7) summary of key findings; and (8) implications for practice, policy, and/or future research. The abstract should contain no identifying information that reveals the author, committee members, or institution. Additionally, up to three single-spaced pages of references in APA format can accompany the abstract and will not be included in the 15-page limit. Please submit the abstract as a .PDF document and use the first few words of the Running Head as the title of the document. Please use this same file name for naming all files, including the abstract and certification form. This standardized naming convention is essential to efficient processing of the submission.

4. The selection process is masked. That is, the applicant and the dissertation committee members’ identities are masked from the reviewers. The committee chair will ensure that dissertations from the reviewers’ institutions do not review nominees’ materials. Committee members will recuse themselves if they are acquainted with the nominee, committee members, or the dissertation.

5. The applicant’s dissertation advisor must sign a certificate statement verifying the applicant has met the degree requirements of the institution and has been signed off by the applicant’s dissertation committee. The applicant will submit this form with the application.

6. The recipient will be selected and notified no later than January 2022. Decisions of the committee are final.

7. The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2021.

Dr. Orkideh Mohajeri ([email protected]) and Dr. Tricia Shalka ([email protected]), Dissertation of the Year Committee Co-Chairs.

*click here for the Dissertation of the Year nomination form*

Presidential Citation Award

The Presidential Citation is awarded by the discretion of the ACPA President based on their observation and/or direct work with the individual, consequently, there is no formal nomination process in place for this award. This honor is rarely bestowed upon members of the Association, for lifelong service and extraordinary contributions to the profession of student affairs and most particularly to ACPA.

Senior Scholars Awards

To learn about the Senior Scholars program, please visit this link.

Voice of Inclusion Award

ACPA’s Equity and Inclusion Statement provides a reaffirmation of the Association’s commitment to equity and inclusion of the multiple identities and experiences of its members. It acknowledges the importance of these ideas in the success of the Association and of professionals in our fields to create a strong culture where we can all learn, grow, and be successful.

The Voices of Inclusion award was established in 2002 by then-ACPA President Nancy Evans. It was first awarded at the 2002 Convention in Long Beach, California, which had a theme of “Voices of Wisdom: Stories of Inclusion, Practice, and Scholarship”. Merriam-Webster defines “voice” as a “wish, choice, or opinion openly or formally expressed” or a “right of expression; also: influential power”. In many of our cultures, one’s “voice” is where people find their strength, their truth, and their connection to others. Our voices are the ways we share, express, and advocate.

The Voices of Inclusion Award recognizes members who use their voice to make their campuses, our Association, and the field a more equitable, inclusive, and just place. Since we acknowledge that all forms of oppression are linked, it is important in discussing the Voices of Inclusion the ways that we are empowering, engaging, and advocating for people from multiple marginalized populations. We understand that these efforts come in many forms: individuals, groups and communities, and activities. This award seeks to recognize voices of inclusion no matter the form.

This award is presented annually at the ACPA Annual Convention. Two recipients are given this award each year.

Nomination Instructions 

Each nomination should include:

  •  An essay (minimum of 1200 words) that explains how the nominee exemplifies the purpose of the Voices of Inclusion Award and addresses the ways that the sustained impact of that work has been felt by others. This essay should provide specific examples so that it is clear to the selection committee how the nominee was effective in supporting multiple marginalized populations. The author of the essay will serve as the primary nominator for this award.
  • A statement of the history of the nominee. For individuals, this might be a resume or CV. For groups, communities, and events this might be a document explaining the purpose and history of this group that includes its founding, current status, and dates in between.
  • A letter of support from a source separate from the primary author of the essay.
  • While not required, nominators can choose to submit additional documentation. This might include statements of support from students or other community members, artifacts that demonstrate work or impact, metrics and assessments, event programs or agendas, or other relevant documents at the discretion of the nominator.

NOMINATION DEADLINES:

26 September 2021: 
  • Emerging and Senior Scholars
1 October 2021:
  • Marylu McEwen Dissertation of the Year Award-Presented by the ACPA Foundation
1 November 2021: 
  • All Overall Chapter, International Division, Coalition and Commission Awards (information below)
  • Contribution to Higher Education
  • Contribution to Knowledge
  • Innovative Practice
  • Esther-Lloyd Jones Professional Service
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Annuit Coeptis
  • Champion of Sustainability
  • Voices of Inclusion

overall Entity Awards

Entity Awards highlight accomplishments of individuals, programs, and ACPA Entitites (Commissions, Coalitions, Networks, Chapters, and Communities of Practice). They are an opportunity to highlight best practices and scholarship that benefit students, recognize members and highlight accomplishments.

Overall Entity Awards are given out by Assembly Coordinators for outstanding contributions to a specific entity type. Overall Entity Awards are due in coordination with ACPA Association Awards on 6 November 2020.

individual Entity Awards

Individual Entity awards are given out by the Entity leadership to individuals or programs that best exhibited commitment to the Entity through education or service. Individual Entities determine award deadlines and nomination processes. To learn more, visit the respective Entity website.

Latest Awards News from ACPA Entities

Past award Recipients

Click the link below to view/download the Awards Ceremony Program Book from past ACPA Annual Conventions!