Special Merit Award

The Special Merit award is presented in recognition of a person, group or organization in recognition of distinctive support for the purposes and goals of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

The award is usually presented to a person, group, or organization in recognition of distinctive support for the purposes and goals of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Nominations for 2024 will open in early May 2024 and will close on Monday, July 1, 2024 at Noon Central/Minneapolis time. Please check back for more information at that time.

Nomination Evaluation Criteria

When reviewing nominations, the awards committee will make decisions based on the following preferred and demonstrated attributes:

  1. Service or contributions that advance the purposes and goals of ASHE or research on higher education.
  2. The distinctiveness of the service or contributions to ASHE.

2024 Awards Timeline

  • Nominations will open in early May 2024 and close in late June 2024. 
    Due to the 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 recipient(s) will be recognized during the ASHE Awards Ceremony during the Annual Conference.

Nomination Requirements

Each submission will need:

  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Coordinating Nominator
  • Name, Title, Position, Institution, Email, and Phone Number of Nominee
  • A nomination statement up to 750 words that demonstrates the nominee's match to the award evaluation criteria. This should not be a nomination or support letter, but a summary of the nominee's qualifications for this specific award.
  • 2-3 letters of support. For upload into the nomination form, these should be combined into one document, preferably a pdf.
  • For individuals, the nominee's CV; and for organizational nominees, a list of projects, programs, and accomplishments.

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.

The coordinating nominator, as well as the award nominee(s) (and subsequently recipient(s)), must be current members of ASHE.

Questions about the 2024 award process can be sent to awards@ashe.ws.

Nominations for 2024 will open in early May 2024.

Awards Committee

The ASHE Awards Committee is a standing committee of the Board of Directors. Committee members are recommended by the President to the Board of Directors and service 1-3 year terms.

2024 Committee Members:

  • Raquel Rall (Chair), University of California, Riverside
  • Jennifer Johnson (Board Rep), Temple University
  • Emily VanZoest (Grad Rep), North Carolina State University
  • Matthew Witenstein, University of Dayton
  • Julie Park, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Sylvia Martinez, Indiana University

Past Recipients

2023: John von Knorring

Additional Recipients

  • 2022: Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education (CDIHE); University of Maryland, College Park (YouTube Link)
  • 2021: Jennifer Hoffman (YouTube Link)
  • 2020: The Indigenous Scholars Collective (YouTube Link)
  • 2016: Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA
  • 2015: Inside Higher Ed
  • 2011: Institute for Higher Education Policy
  • 2010: The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
  • 2008: The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina
  • 2006: United Negro College Fund
  • 2005: Samuel E. Kellams
  • 2004: Jerry Davis/Lumina
  • 2003: University of Michigan Affirmative Action Defense Team
  • 2002: Walter R. Allen
  • 2001: Clifford Adelman & Deborah Wilds
  • 2000: Michael Olivas
  • 1995: Lavina Fielding Anderson
  • 1993: Walter Hobbs
  • 1992: Jossey-Bass Incorporated Publishers
  • 1989: Peggy Heim & Robert Silverman