Carnegie Mellon University

Gelfand Award Nomination Information

The Mark Gelfand Award for Educational Outreach is given annually to a member of the university community who has combined sustained, effective community service with academic coursework and a deliberate process of student reflection to enhance the learning experience, teach social responsibility and improve some aspect of life in the community. Special consideration is given to individuals who focus on science, technology, engineering or mathematics educational outreach to younger populations.

Examples of activities to be considered include but are not limited to:

  • developing or strengthening courses or other programs that require students to share expertise with the community while they develop their own content and skill knowledge in a subject area
  • maintaining a consistent focus on relationships with pre-college populations through teacher professional development programs or direct programming for student populations to improve teaching and learning at the K-12 level
  • creating a program or other support system that enables service learning courses to expand or achieve a more effective impact in the community

All full-time current faculty and staff members of the university who have demonstrated substantial devotion to sharing expertise that impacts K-12 populations and/ or encourages undergraduate and/or graduate students to participate in educational outreach activities are eligible to be nominated for the award. No one person may win the award more than once or simultaneously with the Doherty, Ryan, Academic Advising or Barbara Lazarus 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 most recent recipients of the Gelfand Award, if available
  • faculty and staff members who have been involved with educational outreach initiatives
  • undergraduate and graduate students
  • the chairperson of the committee (the director of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, a non-voting member*). If this person is unavailable, the provost will appoint another faculty member or administrator to serve in this capacity.

* Amy Burkert, Vice Provost for Education, served as the chairperson of the committee in 2022.

The selection committee adopts its own rules of procedure.

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

  • a current or retired faculty member or administrator
  • 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 is based on this letter alone, it should be descriptive, convincing and specifically focused on the purpose of the award stated at the top of the page.

Phase One Submission Deadline

The letter must be submitted on or before the first Monday in November* to be considered for that academic year.

The committee will select two to five people to be considered for phase two of the nomination process.

In 2021, the nomination deadline is the third Monday in November: Monday, November 15.

Phase Two of Nomination

The nominators of each person selected for phase two, together with the relevant dean/department head (or his or her designee), are responsible for preparing the full case for that nomination. It should include a C.V., cover letter and individual letters of recommendation from appropriate parties, such as Carnegie Mellon faculty or administrators, colleagues, 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.

The nomination packet must include artifacts and information that document the impact of the candidate’s work on students and the community partner(s) who are the beneficiaries of the work. Suggested items include but are not limited to:

  • a nomination letter that provides descriptions of the candidate’s work to design and implement a program(s) that provides opportunities for university students, faculty and staff to share expertise in the community, combined with activities that help to develop an understanding of responsibility to society
  • information about classroom techniques, assignments, projects and course structure that deliberately lead to impact in the community
  • a statement from the candidate that explains the rationale for the course or program in terms of impact on students and the community (possibly from a project web page, course syllabus or other similar document to keep the nomination confidential)
  • student letters of support to document the impact of the program or course on their understanding of social responsibility and the impact that one person can have on the community
  • letters from alumni who can attest to and describe the long-term impact that program(s) or course(s) conducted by the candidate has had on the commitment to service or community work
  • letters from colleagues who have been involved with the work of the nominee or who have heard of the work through interaction with students or members of the community who have benefited from the work of the nominee
  • letters and other documents from the community partner(s) who have worked with the candidate and/or students through the program. The letter should explain the nature of the collaboration and the impact of the program on the organization’s capacity to serve the community, or on the knowledge/skill level or self-confidence of individuals who benefited from the program.
  • brief C.V. (two to four pages)

The maximum number of recommendation letters that can be submitted is 30.

Phase Two Submission Deadline

A single PDF of the complete nomination packet must be submitted on or before the first Monday in February to the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Educational Outreach via email to Judy Hallinen or through a shared box folder.

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.