Outstanding Book Award

About the Award

The Outstanding Book Award recognizes a book that makes a significant contribution to the study of higher education. The award is open to any book published within the last year that advances theories, knowledge, practices, pedagogies, and/or policies in the field of higher education.

Nomination Evaluation Criteria

When reviewing nominations, the awards committee will make decisions based on the following categories of evaluation:
  1. Significance of the research questions, conceptual/theoretical argument, or pedagogical approach
  2. New insight and knowledge that better informs the understanding of higher education
  3. Quality and rigor of the methodological approach
  4. Contribution/impact of the discovery or innovation
  5. Accessibility of the content
  6. Clarity of the writing
  7. Overall presentation of the work
The Outstanding Book Award is presented for a book within a year of publication. For 2021, this includes books published in 2020 and 2021. 
Books may be single-authored or co-authored, however, no edited collections will be considered for nomination. 
Books may have been published globally, but for the purposes of consideration must be available in English.


  • Nominations will be open from May 3, 2021-June 15, 2021 at Noon Pacific.
    • NOTE: This is a shorter nomination window than all other awards due to the time requirement for review.
    • Due to number of submissions and the review process, no late submissions will be accepted; as such, nominators are encouraged to submit their nominations well in advance of this deadline.
  • Nominators and nominees will be informed of decisions in mid-September.
  • An announcement of recipients will be sent to the ASHE membership in late September.
  • The award recipient will present their book’s research during a special session of the conference, to be coordinated by the committee chair, ASHE Staff, and award recipient.
  • The recipient(s) will be recognized during the ASHE Awards Ceremony during the Annual Conference.


You'll need:

  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Coordinating Nominator.
  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Nominee.
  • A submission abstract (no more than 300 words) that provides a concise description of the book, including its purpose, methods, scope, and main conclusions. This should also include the full citation of the book. 
  • A nomination statement up to 750 words which demonstrates how the book meets the award evaluation criteria and contributes to the field of higher education. 
  • A table of contents from the book.
  • One representative chapter from the book that best exemplifies the contribution/impact of the book.

Nominators will be contacted within one week of the nomination and asked to send the nominated book (either electronically as an e-book or via mail as a hard copy) to the 6 members of the Outstanding Book Award Committee.

Nominations may be submitted by the author of the work, another scholar, or by the publisher of the work

The nominee must be a current member of ASHE. For books with multiple authors, the first author must be a member of the Association.

Due to the increased number of nominations received in recent years, each nominee will be limited to one nomination. In the event multiple nominations are submitted, the committee chair will notify the coordinating nominators requesting they consolidate their nominations.

Questions about the 2021 award process can be sent to office@ashe.ws.


The ASHE Outstanding Book Award Committee is a standing committee of the Board of Directors. Committee members are recommended by the President to the Board of Directors and serve 3 year terms.

2021 Committee Members:

  • Federick Ngo, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Chair)
  • Nolan Cabrera, University of Arizona
  • Chase Catalano, Virginia Tech
  • Dina Maramba, Claremont Graduate University
  • Robert Palmer, Howard University
  • Zach Brown, University of Arizona

2020 Outstanding Book Award:
Patrick Dilley, Southern Illinois University Carbondale


2020: Gay Liberation to Campus Assimilation: Early Non-Heterosexual Student Organizing at Midwestern Universities by Patrick Dilley
2019: White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Identity, and the Myth of “Post-Racial” Higher Education, by Nolan L. Cabrera
2018: Heather Rowan-Kenyon, Ana M. Martinez Aleman, and Mandy Savitz-Romer