Carnegie Mellon University

Advising & Mentorship

Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Advising and Mentoring – Purpose & Criteria 

The Academic Advising Award is given annually to a member of the Carnegie Mellon University community who has achieved excellence in advising undergraduate students.

Award criteria:

Award criteria: This award recognizes the achievement of excellence in advising undergraduate students at Carnegie Mellon University based on sustained and outstanding: 

  1. support in helping students define and achieve their academic goals*,
  2. impacts on students’ personal development and long-term career goals, and/or
  3. contributions to enhancing the effectiveness of academic advising at CMU.

*(e.g., course selection, engagement with high-impact educational practices (research, creative work, study abroad, etc.), choice of major/minor, etc.)

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

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

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

All full-time current employees of Carnegie Mellon University who advise undergraduate students are eligible to be nominated for the award. 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 simultaneously with the Ryan Award or Doherty Award.

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. 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, colleagues, and present and former students, and 
  • no more than 10 pages of supplemental materials, such as brief summaries of the educational programs referenced in the nomination materials, and 
  • the nominee’s brief CV (2-4 pages).

Advice for nominators and letter writers:

Letters should:

  • be limited to two single spaced pages each, 
  • specifically describe how the nominee demonstrates sustained excellence regarding the award criteria listed above,
  • focus on the nominee’s academic advising of undergraduate students,
  • NOT focus on the nominee’s teaching, research, or other academic service,
  • represent colleagues’ knowledge of the nominee's advising and/or interactions with students, including colleagues' perceptions of the nominee based on their interaction with the nominee's advisees,
  • include testimonials from colleagues who can comment on the nominee's role at the department-, college-, and/or university-level to enhance academic advising and CMU experience for undergraduate students, situating the nominee in a larger educational context, if possible, and
  • include testimonials from students and/or alumni describing how and why nominees impacted them via academic advising.

*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 Academic Advising Award
  • two undergraduate students and one graduate student selected through a process developed by the dean of Student Affairs
  • three faculty and administrative staff members appointed by the provost
  • the chairperson of the committee (a representative 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.