Carnegie Mellon University

Advising & Mentorship

Lazarus Award – Purpose & Criteria

The Barbara Lazarus Award is given annually to a member of the Carnegie Mellon University community who has exemplary contributions to fostering a welcoming and nurturing environment for CMU graduate students and young faculty.

Award criteria:

This award recognizes sustained and exemplary contributions to fostering a welcoming and nurturing environment for graduate students and junior faculty at Carnegie Mellon University based on:

  1. excellence in mentorship,
  2. long-term influence on mentees’ personal and professional development, and/or 
  3. impacts fostering equity, inclusion, well-being, and a welcoming climate.

Carnegie Mellon University created the Barbara Lazarus Award in 2004 to celebrate the spirit and legacy of Barbara Lazarus. Associate provost for academic affairs, teacher, scholar and mentor to many, Barbara was a beloved member of the CMU community from 1984 to 2003. A nationally and internationally known scholar and activist, Barbara worked tirelessly for the equality of women in the workplace, and the well-being and flourishing of graduate students and junior faculty at CMU. Barbara educated many on transforming the institutional environment by her words and by her example. An innovator in education, Barbara also founded CMU’s outstanding Undergraduate Research Program. Equity, justice and fostering both a climate of welcome and the flourishing of all the people with whom she worked were hallmarks of Barbara’s work and life. She was especially an advocate for graduate students and young faculty.

Any group of three or more of the following people may nominate:

  • current or retired CMU faculty members, administrators, staff, and/or
  • current or former full-time CMU graduate students or postdocs.

Graduate students seeking to nominate someone are strongly encouraged to collaborate with faculty and/or administrators in the nominee’s academic department to optimize the nomination.

All full-time current employees of the university are eligible to be nominated for the award. Nominees may be an individual or a group. They must have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in making significant and far-reaching contributions to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty at Carnegie Mellon.

Nominations consist of two phases

Phase 1: Nominators submit a single, 2 page nomination letter, due November 1
Phase 2: After award committees select finalists, nominators then compile and submit a full nomination case, due February 1.

Please submit nominations as a single PDF using these online forms:

Phase 1 nominations – due November 1
Phase 2 nominations – due February 1

Questions should be directed to the Vice Provost for Education.

When is the nomination deadline? November 1

The Phase 1 nomination letter must be submitted on or before November 1 via the nomination form to be considered for that academic year.

What is submitted? 

In Phase 1, nominators must submit one letter (maximum two single-spaced pages) that explains why the individual is worthy of the award. Specific examples of impact should be cited and letters can include quotes of support from students, staff or faculty. Because the decision to advance the nomination to the second phase is based on this letter alone, it should be descriptive, convincing, and specifically focused on addressing the award criteria listed above.

The Phase 1 nomination letter should be submitted as a PDF via the nomination form on or before November 1.

When are finalists selected for Phase 2?

The award committee will select two to five people to be considered for Phase 2 of the nomination process. Nominators will be notified of outcomes in December.

When is the nomination due? February 1

The Phase 2 nomination letter must be submitted on or before February 1 via the nomination form to be considered for that academic year.

Who prepares the nomination materials for finalists? 

The nominators of each person selected for Phase 2, together with the relevant dean/department head (or their designee), are responsible for preparing the full case for that nomination. In the case of a department head nominee, the relevant dean should be included in preparation of the full package.

What is submitted?

The final nomination packet should include the following:

  • a cover memo/page detailing the contents of the nomination package,
  • a letter from the phase 1 nominators (original or revised, maximum two single spaced pages), 
  • no more than 30 letters of recommendation (maximum two single spaced pages each) from appropriate parties, such as Carnegie Mellon faculty or administrators, junior colleagues, and present and former graduate students,
  • samples of the mentor’s feedback to students (maximum 10 single-spaced pages), and
  • the nominee’s brief CV (two to four pages).

Advice for nominators and letter writers:

Letters should:

  • be limited to two single spaced pages each, 
  • specifically and directly describe how the nominee demonstrates sustained excellence regarding the award criteria listed above, specifically articulating the strategies the nominee uses and how they use them effectively. 
  • represent colleagues’ knowledge of the nominee's mentorship and interactions with mentees via:
    • experiences co-mentoring, direct observation, conversations with the nominee, etc. 
    • interactions with the nominee’s mentees, 
  • include testimonials* from current graduate student and faculty mentees regarding the impacts of the nominee’s mentorship,
  • include testimonials from former mentees (graduate students and faculty) describing the long-term impacts of the nominees’ mentorship, and
  • attest to the nominee’s impacts on others’ (graduate students and faculty) development as mentors.

*Alumni and students may need more guidance in terms of expectations of what a good letter of recommendation should look like, please provide them with the criteria and advice above. Effective student letters address the intersection of the criteria and the student experience as well as include real-life examples from their experience and interactions with the nominee and the nominee’s short- and/or long-term impacts on the letter writer.

Please note that selected quotes from the winner's nomination packet may be used for publicity purposes.

SUBMISSION: The Phase 2 nomination packet should be submitted as a single PDF via the nomination form on or before February 1.

When is the award winner announced? 

The award committee will select one winner annually. Nominators of all finalists will be notified of outcomes in March. The winner, along with their nominators, colleagues, and friends and family, will be invited to attend the Celebration of Education event in April to receive their award.

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

The award selection committee consists of:

  • the three most recent recipients of the Lazarus Award
  • three faculty members appointed by the provost
  • three graduate students appointed by the provost
  • the chairperson of the committee (the director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, a non-voting member). If this person is unavailable, the provost will appoint another faculty member or administrator to serve in this capacity.

The selection committee adopts its own rules of procedure.

The committee will choose one person to be recommended to the provost as the year's recipient of the award. Upon the provost's approval, the recipient will be notified and the award will be presented at the Celebration of Education event in the spring.