Each year Division J accepts nominations for four awards: Outstanding Publication, Exemplary Research, Outstanding Dissertation, and Outstanding Poster.


AERA Division J Outstanding Publication Award 

Committee Chair: Marilyn Amey, Michigan State University,
2021 Committee Members:
Taryn Allen, Texas Christian University
Jerlando Jackson, University of Wisconsin
Anna Ortiz, Cal State Long Beach
Heather Rowan Kenyon, Boston College

Division J of the American Educational Research Association seeks nominations for the outstanding publication award. The purpose of this award is to bestow recognition on a colleague for a specific publication (book, book chapter, or journal article) judged as making a substantial contribution to the literature and/or practice of higher education. Publications may have more than one author and must have been published in the last 18 months. A substantial contribution is defined as scholarship that extensively revises our knowledge and understanding of a particular problem in the study of higher education or looks at it in a new way – a publication that moves the field forward in new ways.  It may also be an interdisciplinary effort that identifies a problem new to the community of scholars in higher education.  When nominating a publication, please be sure to address the criteria to aid in our review.   

The nomination deadline: November 9, 2020. Please address questions and send nominations to Marilyn Amey, Awards Committee Chair, at

Previous award winners:

2020 - Leslie Gonzales, Dana Kanhai, & Kayon Hall, Michigan State University, for  “Reimagining Organizational Theory for the Critical Study of Higher Education” In M. Paulson (Ed), Higher Education Handbook of Theory and Research (2018)

2019 - Nolan L. Cabrera, University of Arizona, for White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of 'Post-Racial' Higher Education

2018 - Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson, Mothering by Degrees: Single Mothers and the Pursuit of Postsecondary Education

2017 - Z Nicolazzo, Trans* in College: Transgender Students' Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Policies of Inclusion.

2016 - Ana Martínez Alemán, Brian Pusser, & Estela Bensimon, Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education

2015 - Roger L. Geiger, History of American Higher Education: Learning and Culture From the Founding to World War II.

2014 - Elizabeth Armstrong & Laura Hamilton, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality.

2013 - Kelly Ward & Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Academic motherhood: How faculty manage work and family

2012 - Robert A. Rhoads & Katalin Szelenyi, Global Citizenship and the University: Advancing Social Life and Relations in an Interdependent World
2010 - Ann Mullen, University of Toronto, Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, and Gender in American Higher Education                                                            

2010 - Bruce Kimball, The Ohio State University, The Inception of Modern Professional Education: C.C. Langdell, 1826-1906

2009 - Saran Donohoe, Reflections on Race: Affirmative Action Policies Influencing Higher Education in France and the United States

2008 - Marybeth Gasman, Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College fund; Honorable Mention: Attewell & Lavin, Passing the Torch; Honorable Mention: Bess & Dee, Understanding College and University Organization  

2007 (2) - Bailey and Morest, Defending the Community College Equity Agenda; Moses and Marin, Moving Beyond Grazt and Grutter: The Next Generation of Research

2005 - Elizabeth Allan, Constructing Women's Status:  Policy Discourses of University Women's Commissions, and Brian Pusser, Beyond Baldridge:  Extending the Political Model of Higher Education Organization and Governance
AERA Division J Exemplary Research Award 

Committee Chair: Marilyn Amey, Michigan State University,
2021 Committee Members:
Taryn Allen, Texas Christian University
Jerlando Jackson, University of Wisconsin
Anna Ortiz, Cal State Long Beach
Heather Rowan Kenyon, Boston College

This award is a special honor our division bestows on one of our most esteemed colleagues. The primary purpose of the award is to recognize and reward an individual who demonstrates an outstanding record of scholarly research in our field. While not intended as a “retirement award”, the focus is on experienced faculty, both associate and full professors, who demonstrate an unusually high level of accomplishment. They are recognized scholars whose published research has made an outstanding contribution to knowledge and understanding in the field of higher education. Nominations should provide a detailed description and explanation of the nature and quality of the contribution as well as two noteworthy publications that typify the impact the nominated scholar has made both in terms of contribution to the literature and its impact on the field and practice.  

The nomination deadline: November 9, 2020. Please address questions and send nominations to Marilyn Amey, Awards Committee Chair, at

Previous award winners:

2020 - Patricia M. King, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

2019 - John S. Levin, University of California, Riverside

2018 - Estela Bensimon, University of Southern California

2015 - Sylvia Hurtado, University of California, Los Angeles

2014 - Ann Austin, Michigan State University

2013 - Daryl G. Smith, Claremont Graduate University

2012 - Tom Bailey, Teachers College

2011 - William Tierney, University of Southern California                                      

2010 - Anna Neumann, Teachers College                                                            

2009 - Barbara K. Townsend, University of Missouri                                             

2008 - George Kuh, Indiana University and Jack Schuster, Claremont Graduate University                                                                                                         

2007 -­ John Thelin, Professor, University of Kentucky                                             

2006 - Patricia Gumport, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Professor, Stanford University                                                                                                        

2004 - James Fairweather, Professor, Michigan State University


AERA Division J Outstanding Dissertation Award 

Chair (2021): Lucy LePeau, 
Committee Members: 
Susana Muñoz
Tolani Britton
George Spencer, Jr.

Please consider nominating a student for the AERA Division J – Postsecondary Education Outstanding Dissertation Award. The emphasis of this award is on recognizing a doctoral student who, through the dissertation work:

  • advances knowledge in higher education, broadly defined;
  • makes innovative use of research methods, extending the approaches available to conducting research in our field;
  • integrates relevant research and theory into the research;
  • suggests particularly insightful implications for improving practice (for Ed.D. dissertations), or generates and/or extends theory in potentially useful ways for researchers, policy makers, and/or practitioners (for Ph.D. dissertations); and
  • produces a well-written and well-organized dissertation.

The dissertation must be completed and accepted by the institution in the current calendar year. All candidates must be current AERA members.  To nominate someone for this award, please submit a letter from the dissertation chair (up to 1,000 words) and a dissertation abstract (1,000 – 2,000 words) to

Nominations are due by Friday, December 4, 2020. Please direct any questions to Lucy LePeau at, Chair of the AERA Division J Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee.

Previous award winners:

2020 - Kayla Elliott, Florida Atlantic University, for "The Influence of state performance-based funding on public Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A case study of race and power"; Honorable mention: Damani K. White-Lewis, UCLA, "The facade of fit and preponderance of power in faculty search processes: Facilitators and inhibitors of diversity" 

2019 -  Jason Chan, UCLA, for “Geographic constructions of racial identity: The experiences of Asian American college students in the Midwest”;  and B. Noble Jones, University of Georgia, for “Inside the black box: The garbage can model of decision-making in selective college admissions”

2018 - Katharine M. Broton, University of Wisconsin-Madison, The evolution of poverty in higher education: Material hardship, academic success, and policy perspectives; Honorable mention: Jeremy T. Snipes, Indiana University, Ain't I Black too: Counterstories of Black atheists in college

2017 - Erich N. Pitcher, Michigan State University, Being and becoming professionally other: Understanding how organizations shape trans* academics' experiences

2016 - Amanda R. Tachine, University of Arizona, Monsters and Weapons: Navajo Students’ Stories on their Journeys Toward College, and Amelia Marcetti Topper, Arizona State University, A Multiplicity of Successes: Capabilities, Refuge, and Pathways in Contemporary Community Colleges

2015 - Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Lipe, of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Aloha as Fearlessness: Lessons From the Mo‘olelo of Eight Native Hawaiian Female Educational Leaders on Transforming the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Into a Hawaiian Place of Learning

2014 - Krispin Barr, North Carolina State University, The Historical Legacy of a Secret Society at Duke University (1913-1971): Cultural Hegemony and the Tenacious Ideals of the "Big Man on Campus"

2013 - Lauren Germain, University of Virginia, “I have the power to change this": College Women’s Agency and Sexual Assault

2011 - Julie Schell, Teachers College, Venturing Toward Better Teaching: S.T.E.M. Professors' Efforts to Improve Their Introductory Undergraduate Pedagogy at Major Research Universities

2009 - Tami Lea Moore, Washington State University, Placing Engagement: Critical Readings of Interaction between Regional Communities and Comprehensive Universities

2008 - Christopher P. Loss, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University From Democracy to Diversity: The Politics of American Higher Education in the Twentieth Century abstract

2007 - Frank Harris III, University of Southern California, The Meanings Men Make of Masculinities and Contextual Influences on Behaviors, Outcomes, and Gendered Environmental Norms: A Grounded Theory Study. 


AERA Division J Outstanding Poster Award
Chair (2016-2019): Alonzo Flowers,

This award recognizes the "outstanding poster" presented as part of the Division J program at the AERA Annual Meeting, as determined by the poster award selection committee. The winning poster will demonstrate exemplary quality in displaying relevant conceptual and/or theoretical frameworks, methods and analyses, appropriateness of conclusions, contribution to the field, and overall presentation. The award is designed to encourage participants to effectively present posters that describe top-quality research studies.

The review and selection process will be completed during the Annual Meeting. Each poster will be evaluated by each of the three judges.
Poster award selection committee members will rate the posters in five categories: importance and conceptual/theoretical grounding of research question, appropriateness of methods and analyses, appropriateness of conclusions, contribution to the field, and overall presentation. The poster with the highest combined score wins.  The winner will receive a plaque of recognition.

Previous award winners:

2015 - Teniell L. Trolian & Gwendolyn Archibald, University of Iowa - Social Experiences in College: Influencing Students' Psychological Well-Being

2014 - Catherine J. Mutti-Driscoll, University of Washington, The Choice to Have Children in Graduate School: Opportunities and Challenges

2013 - Jarrett Warshaw, University of Georgia - The Intersections of Institution, Family, and Identity Among Legacy Students at an Elite Private University

2012 - Rhiannon Williams & Amy Lee, University of Minnesota - Facilitating intercultural interaction: Reciprocal knowing AERA Poster 04-10-12 FINAL.pdf

2011 - Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs - Standing in the gap: Higher education professionals providing support for undocumented students




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