Division Awards
Division Awards
Division J Awards

Each year Division J accepts nominations for four awards: 

  • Outstanding Publication Award
  • Exemplary Research Award
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award
  • Outstanding Poster Award
Outstanding Publication Award

Committee Chair: Anna Ortiz, California State University, Long Beach, anna.ortiz@csulb.edu

Committee Members:
Taryn Allen, Texas Christian University
Jerlando Jackson, Michigan State University
Frankie Laanan, University of Utah
Susan Twombly, University of Kansas

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, although edited texts are discouraged, 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, including a self-nomination, please be sure to address the criteria to aid in our review.

2024 Award Nomination Deadline: December 1, 2023

Please address questions and send nominations to Anna Ortiz, Awards Committee Chair, at anna.ortiz@csulb.edu.

Previous award winners:

2024: Mayra Puente, University of California, Santa Barbara and Verónica N. Vélez, Western Washington University, Platicando y Mapeando: a Chicana/Latina feminist GIS methodology in educational research

2023: Mary Blair-Loy, University of California, San Diego and Erin A. Cech, University of Michigan, Misconceiving Merit: Paradoxes of Excellence and Devotion in Academic Science and Engineering

2022: Eddie R. Cole, University of California, Los Angeles, The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom

2021: Xueli Wang, On My Own: The Challenge and Promise of Building Equitable STEM Transfer Pathways

2020: Leslie Gonzales, Dana Kanhai, & Kayon Hall, Michigan State University, 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, 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: Bailey & Morest, Defending the Community College Equity Agenda; Moses & 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

Exemplary Research Award

Committee Chair: Anna Ortiz, California State University, Long Beach, anna.ortiz@csulb.edu

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.

2024 Award Nomination Deadline: December 1, 2023

Please address questions and send nominations to Anna Ortiz, Awards Committee Chair, at anna.ortiz@csulb.edu.

Previous award winners:

2024: Adrianna Kezar, University of Southern California

2023: Shaun Harper, University of Southern California

2022: Laura W. Perna, University of Pennsylvania

2021: Patricia M. McDonough, University of California-Los Angeles

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

Outstanding Dissertation Award

Committee Chair (2023-24): Roy Chan, rchan@leeuniversity.edu
Committee Co-Chair (2023-24): Lorenzo Baber, ldbaber@illinois.edu

Committee Members: 
Linda DeAngelo, University of Pittsburgh
Antonio Duran, Arizona State University

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 EdD dissertations), or generates and/or extends theory in potentially useful ways for researchers, policymakers, and/or practitioners (for PhD dissertations); and
  • produces a well-written and well-organized dissertation.

The dissertation must be completed and accepted by the institution in the current academic year. Eligible applicants must have degrees conferred between August 2022 and July 2023. 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 rchan@leeuniversity.edu. Self-nominations are encouraged.

2024 Award Nomination Deadline: November 1, 2023

Please direct any questions to Roy Chan at rchan@leeuniversity.edu, Chair of the AERA Division J Outstanding Dissertation Award Committee.

Previous award winners:

2024: Ty McNamee, Columbia University, The Cultural Transition Into and Navigation of Higher Education for Rural Students from Poor and Working-class Backgrounds; Honorable Mention: Stephen Hiller,  Indiana University Bloomington, College Teaching at the Intersections of Institutional and Disciplinary Cultures and Faculty Identities      

2023: Taylor Odle, University of Pennsylvania, Three Essays in Economics, Education Policy, and Inequality; Honorable Mention: Jessica Weise, Auburn University, (Student) Activism as a Queer Worldmaking Disruption to White Supremacy and Heteropatriarchy within and Beyond Higher Education

2022: Heather McCambly, Northwestern University, Change Agents or Same Agents?: Grantmakers and Racial Inequity in U.S. Higher Education

2021: Sacha Sharp, Indiana University Bloomington, Black women graduate students’ ethnic self-evaluation explored through identity expression on social media as an extension of higher education environments. #BlackWomenOnCampus; Honorable Mention: Jacqueline Mac, Indiana University Bloomington, Becoming minority-serving: Understanding how institutional agents transform their institutions to better serve target populations

2020: Kayla Elliott, Florida Atlantic University, 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, University of California, Los Angeles, The facade of fit and preponderance of power in faculty search processes: Facilitators and inhibitors of diversity

2019:  Jason Chan, University of California Los Angeles, Geographic constructions of racial identity: The experiences of Asian American college students in the Midwest;  and B. Noble Jones, University of Georgia, 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, 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

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 

Outstanding Poster Award

This award recognized 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 demonstrated 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 was designed to encourage participants to effectively present posters that describe top-quality research studies. This award has been discontinued.

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

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