• AASCU Excellence and Innovation Awards

    Purpose and Description of the Awards 

    The purpose of these awards is to recognize and honor AASCU institutions demonstrating excellence and innovation in their approach to achieving student success, regional and economic development, international education, teacher education, and leadership development and diversity. 

    The awards provide a means to collect and disseminate information about successful, replicable programs and practices and to support campus efforts to improve their institutions.

    Award recipients will receive an engraved sculpture and recognition at the AASCU Annual Meeting. During the Annual Meeting, AASCU will present short videos* about each of the award-winning programs. During the summer of 2015, each winning organization will be asked to work with AASCU and our audio-visual vendor on developing and delivering original and/or existing video content about the winning program. Recipients will also be recognized in the AASCU magazine, Public Purpose, and on the AASCU website. AASCU will also acknowledge award recipients in national media outlets and take other steps to ensure public recognition of award winners’ accomplishments.

    The awardees will be responsible for collecting b-roll footage and/or interview sound bites that best summarize and highlight the program. Shortly after the winners are announced, AASCU will schedule a “kick-off” with a designated point-person from each organization. AASCU will provide specific creative and technical direction tailored to the honored program and video capabilities of each organization. All raw footage will be collected and compiled into a comprehensive final video product that will debut at the AASCU Annual Meeting.

    Click here to go directly to the application form.

    Eligibility

    AASCU member institutions (including system offices) in good financial standing that have demonstrated significant and intentional support for a program or programs in one or more of the award categories may apply. Support may be demonstrated as significant and intentional in the form of sustained effort over a period of time or as support and backing of a single major effort or initiative. Evidence that the program or initiative has achieved measurable outcomes is essential. Evidence of results may be quantitative or qualitative

    General Criteria

    In addition to these general criteria for the awards overall, each award category specifies additional criteria that award applications must address.

    1. There is evidence of executive level support and engagement in ensuring the success of the program or initiative;
    2. The program or initiative is connected to the institutional vision, mission and strategic agenda and supports institutional change;
    3. There is evidence that the program or initiative has led to significant institutional improvements or innovative programming; 
    4. The program or initiative is grounded in research and incorporates best practices in the field. 

    2015 Award Categories

    Student Success and College Completion Award

    The Student Success and College Completion Award honors institutions that achieve significant improvements in student success and college completion. This award focuses on two specific metrics: year-to-year retention and graduation rates. Special consideration will be given to institutions using the Student Achievement Measure (SAM), which uses National Student Clearinghouse data to measure success. 

    Specific Criteria for the Student Success and College Completion Award:  

    • The institution must demonstrate remarkable progress and achievement in student retention and graduation;
      Progress must serve as a benchmark for institutional success for similar institutions.

    AASCU Contact: George Mehaffy, Vice President, Academic Leadership and Change


    Regional and Economic Development Award

    Institutional excellence in regional and economic development can involve campus activities that: demonstrably promote innovation and technology transfer to local businesses, non-profit organizations or governments; improve regional competitiveness and prosperity; foster entrepreneurial activity on the campus and in the community; and address workforce development/job creation issues. The impact of regional and economic development on the campus also must be considered. Changes in the curriculum, the engagement of students and faculty members, and increases in sponsored projects funding are all important components of an effective regional and economic outreach initiative.

    Specific Criteria for the Regional and Economic Development Award: 

    • The institution must outline the extent to which external organizations were involved in the planning and implementation of the project. Both length and depth of involvement will be considered.

    • The institution must explain the degree to which there were quantifiable benefits from the project demonstrating impact on the quality of the local workforce, job creation or other economic or community impact. The institution must explain the degree to which faculty and students were engaged in project development or implementation and how the project resulted in curriculum development or re-design. The institution must demonstrate the extent to which the project involved sponsored programs funding or in-kind support from the institution or external agency.

    AASCU Contact: Rich Dunfee, Director, Grants Resource Center 


    The International Education Award 

    The International Education Award will not only recognize outstanding international programs, but it will also document the success of institutions in infusing internationalization into one or more aspects of the university community, including curriculum, student/faculty exchange, study abroad, faculty professional development, international student recruitment, or community outreach.

    Specific Criteria for the International Education Award: 

    • The institution must advance curriculum development, foster international opportunities, and creatively integrate international students into university life; 
    • The institution must offer innovative programs and services to make study abroad accessible to a broader student population. Special emphasis will be given to specific efforts that led to a strong increase in study abroad participation by under-represented students and study in non-traditional sites;   
    • The institution must demonstrate strategic, comprehensive and sustainable international partnership efforts. 

    AASCU Contact: Arlene Jackson, Director, International Education


    The Leadership Development and Diversity Award

    The Leadership Development and Diversity Award will recognize exemplary leadership development programs designed to enhance the leadership capacity and diversity of the next generation of higher education leaders. The AASCU Leadership Development and Diversity Award also celebrates AASCU’s role as a first-class leadership development organization for its members.

    Specific Criteria for the Leadership Development and Diversity Award:           

    • The institution must demonstrate the extent to which the program is a part of an integrated approach designed to identify, develop and promote high-potential talent throughout the university;
    • The program must be diverse by design—that is, the enhancement and development of a diverse group of leaders is reflected in the program goals and evaluation criteria;  
    • The leadership development program can be demonstrably connected to institutional outcomes.  

    AASCU Contact: Dorcas Colvin, Vice President, Leadership Development and Member Services


    The Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award

    The Christa McAuliffe Award has long honored exemplary teacher education programs at public colleges and universities that belong to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) that can document the success of their graduates in improving P-12 pupil learning outcomes. However, in response to ongoing developments in state data systems which might potentially advantage programs in data-rich states, the award now focuses on how programs have been adapted using evidence of P-12 impact. (Note: Evidence of P-12 impact may include, but is not limited to, state data—when and where this is available.) Furthermore, whereas the award historically focused on pre-service preparation, the criteria have been expanded to include professional development programs. 
     
    To win this award, teacher education and professional development programs must not only demonstrate effectiveness in producing P-12 learning outcomes; award winners must also demonstrate and explain how they have redesigned their programs as a result of these P-12 learning outcomes.
     
    The purpose of the criteria is to ensure that states that have rich data systems do not provide an unfair competitive advantage for their institutions, and that strategies and programs recognized by the award have the broadest possible application.
     
    The award is presented to the winning presidents/chancellors at the AASCU Annual Meeting in October. Another presentation is made to the winning deans of education at the annual meeting of the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TECSCU) the following February.

    Specific Criteria for the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award:

    • Initial Screening: A group of education deans appointed by TECSCU conducts the first-level screening of all applications.

    • Review and Selection: The AASCU presidential selection committee conducts a separate subsequent review of all applications, taking into consideration the review and recommendations made by the TECSCU group, to determine winners.

    AASCU Contact: Jolanda M. Westerhof, Associate Vice President, Academic Leadership and Change       


    Evaluation Process

    Each application will first be independently ranked by an AASCU staff person on a 5-point scale (1 = no evidence that program or initiative meets the criteria and 5 = very strong evidence that program or initiative meets the criteria), and the highest ranked applications will be forwarded to Award Committee Members for individual ranking. The rankings of the staff member and all applications not forwarded to the committee will be accessible to the committee upon request. The AASCU staff person will prepare a spreadsheet of individual committee members' rankings for discussion and decision-making by teleconference. The Awards Committee will select up to two award winners for each category.  


    Apply Online

    Click here to go directly to the application form


    Application Deadline

    April 24, 2015 (Midnight Eastern Time)
    Award recipients will be notified in mid-late June.