Nomination Process-Celebration of Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Award Guidelines:
The Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Advising


Carnegie Mellon University has established the Academic Advising Award to recognize members of the university community who have achieved excellence in providing undergraduate academic advising. The award is intended to recognize outstanding contributions in helping students at the university to define and achieve their academic goals. Examples of activities to be considered include, but are not limited to, advising on course selection, research focus and management, choice of major/minor, long-term career goals and personal development.


All full-time current Carnegie Mellon faculty and staff who advise undergraduate students are eligible. This includes tenure track and non-tenure track faculty members, assistant and associate department heads, assistant and associate deans, academic department staff members and staff members employed by on-campus student service organizations. The award is intended to recognize service both within and beyond normal job responsibilities. No one person may win the award more than once or win the Academic Advising Award simultaneously with the Ryan Award or Doherty Award.


The provost is responsible for the administration of the nomination and selection process, including calling for proposals and convening the Academic Advising Award selection committee.

The Academic Advising Award Committee

The Academic Advising Award selection committee will consist of:

  • the three most recent recipients of the Academic Advising Award (previously called the Undergraduate Advising Award)
  • two undergraduate students and one graduate student selected through a process developed by the dean of Student Affairs
  • three additional faculty and administrative staff members appointed by the provost.
  • the Academic Advising Award chairperson (a representative from the Eberly Center, who is a non-voting member of the committee). If this person is unavailable, the provost will appoint a senior faculty member or administrator to serve in this capacity.

The Academic Advising Award selection committee will adopt its own rules of procedure.


Nominations consist of two phases and may be made by any group of at least three or more persons, each of whom is either:

  • a current or retired faculty or staff member
  • a current or former full-time undergraduate or graduate student.

Phase One of Nomination:

Nominations consist of a letter [maximum two single-spaced pages] that explains why the individual is worthy of the award. Because the decision to advance the nomination to the second phase of the nomination process is based on this letter alone, it should be descriptive, convincing, and specifically focused on the purpose of the award (stated at the beginning of these guidelines). The letter must be submitted on or before the first Monday in November to be considered for that academic year.

The committee will select at least two and at most five persons each year to be considered for phase two of the nomination.

Phase Two of Nomination:

The nominators of each person selected are then responsible, together with the relevant dean/department head (or his or her designee) for preparing the full case for that nomination. It should include a curriculum vitae/resume, cover letter and individual letters of recommendation from appropriate parties, including Carnegie Mellon faculty or administrators and present and former students. In the case of a department head nominee, the relevant dean should be included in preparation of the full package.

To Nominators Assembling Advising Award Packages for Phase Two:

“Winning” nominations often include items that concretely help the committee to understand the candidate’s broad impact as an advisor, such as:

  • a nomination letter that provides descriptions of the advisor’s outstanding techniques, resources, etc.
  • samples of the advisor's feedback to students
  • letters from alumni who attest to and describe the long-term impact the nominee has had on them
  • letters from current students who can discuss how and why the nominee impacted them:
    • letters from non-majors, if appropriate, are always compelling
    • letters from undergraduate students that focus on the nominee’s teaching and/or advising
  • letters from colleagues who have first-hand knowledge of the candidate's advising and/or interactions with
  • students, including colleagues' perceptions of the candidate based on their interaction with the candidate's
  • students (simultaneously or subsequently) and/or from colleagues who can comment on the candidate's role in departmental or college changes/conversations, situating the candidate in a larger educational context, if possible
  • brief C.V. (2-4 pages).

PLEASE NOTE that the maximum number of letters allowed is 30.

Three CDs, DVDs or USB sticks, each containing a single PDF of the complete nomination packet, must be submitted on or before the first Monday in February to the Eberly Center, Cyert Hall 125. Questions can be directed to Marsha Lovett, director of the Eberly Center.


The committee will choose one person to be recommended to the provost as the year’s recipient of the Advising Award. Upon the provost's approval, the award recipient will be notified in late February, and the award presented at a public ceremony open to the entire university community in late spring.