The Graduate School’s Awards for

Excellence in Scholarship, Innovation & Engagement


The Graduate School invites nominations for inaugural awards for Excellence in Scholarship, Innovation and Engagement. These awards recognize exemplary contributions of graduate students and celebrate the diversity of their work across the university. Awardees will be recognized at The Graduate School’s Award Reception on April 20, 2017 in Madison Union Ballroom and at the May Graduate Commencement Ceremony, May 4, 2017.


The Graduate School's Outstanding Dissertation Award


The Outstanding Dissertation Award is an award for superior scholarship, research and writing in a doctoral dissertation or MFA document.  Students must be nominated by their dissertation/MFA advisor and endorsed by their Graduate program director or Academic Unit Head. Awards will be given in two areas of study (1) Visual and Performing Arts; and (2) Social Sciences, Business, Health and Behavioral Studies.

Nomination Deadline:  March 12, 2017
Eligibility: Graduate students eligible for this award must have successfully completed their dissertation or doctoral/MFA project between March 2, 2016 – March 12, 2017.

The nominator should submit the following to grad@jmu.edu:

1.     A single PDF document that includes:

                An abstract of the dissertation or doctoral/MFA document (1-2 pages)
                A brief resume or CV of the nominee (2-3 pages)
                A letter of support from the dissertation advisor
                A letter of endorsement from the graduate program director or Academic Unit Head.

2.     A PDF of the student’s approved dissertation or doctoral/MFA document.

Each graduate program may nominate only one dissertation or doctoral/MFA document for consideration for this award. Dissertations and documents will be evaluated on the basis of clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.


The Graduate School's Outstanding Thesis Award


The Outstanding Thesis/Project Award is an award for superior scholarship, research and writing in a master’s thesis or culminating Ed.S. project.  Students must be nominated by their thesis/project advisor and endorsed by their graduate program director and endorsed by their Graduate Program Director or Academic Unit Head.  Awards are given in two areas of study: (1) Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, and (2) STEM, Health, and Behavioral Studies.

Nomination Deadline:  March 12, 2017
Eligibility: Graduate students eligible for this award must have successfully completed their thesis between March 1, 2016 – March 12, 2017.

The nominator should submit the following to grad@jmu.edu:

1.    A single PDF document that includes:
                An abstract of the thesis (1-2 pages)
                A brief resume or CV of the nominee (2-3 pages)
                A letter of support from the thesis/project advisor
                A letter of endorsement from the graduate program director or Academic Unit Head.

2.    A PDF of the student’s approved thesis.

Each graduate program may nominate only one thesis/project for consideration for this award. Theses/projects will be evaluated on the basis of clarity of style and presentation, scholarship, methodology, and contributions to the field or discipline.


The Graduate School's Innovation Award


The Innovation Award is an award to recognize outstanding innovation throughout a student’s graduate career. Students nominated should have demonstrated a track record of innovation and creativity in their program of study. Nominations should showcase the student’s success in introducing new ideas, processes, methods, creative expressions, or products/devices as part of their academic study.

Students must be nominated by a member of the faculty or a center director and endorsed by their Graduate Program Director or Academic Unit Head.

Nomination Deadline:  March 12, 2017
Eligibility:  Graduate students eligible for this award are those graduating during the 2016-2017 academic year (August, 2016; December 2016; May 2017).

The nominator should submit the following to grad@jmu.edu:

1.     A single PDF document that includes:

                A brief resume or CV of the nominee (2-3 pages)
                A nomination letter from a member of the faculty or center director.
                A letter of endorsement from the graduate program director or Academic Unit Head.

2.     A PDF of a student’s statement describing how the work exemplifies innovation in the student’s program of study.


The Graduate School's Community Engagement Award


The Community Engagement Award is an award that honors a graduate student’s exemplary project-based work in the community. Nominated projects must demonstrate the interconnection between the academic goals of the student’s program and the needs of the community.  JMU defines community engagement as “fostering mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships, ranging from local to global, that connect learning to practice, address critical societal problems and improve quality of life.” Nominated students should have a demonstrated track record of curricular or co-curricular projects that cultivate sustainable collaborative relationships with community partners.

Students must be nominated by a member of the faculty or a project advisor and endorsed by their Graduate Program Director or Academic Unit Head. 

Nomination Deadline:  March 12, 2017
Eligibility:  Graduate students eligible for this award are those graduating during the 2015-2016 academic year (August, 2016; December 2016; May 2017).

The nominator should submit the following to grad@jmu.edu:

1.     A single PDF document that includes:

                A brief resume or CV of the nominee (2-3 pages)
                A nomination letter from a member of the faculty or center director.
                A letter of endorsement from the graduate program director or Academic Unit Head.

2.     A PDF of a student’s statement describing how the work has cultivated community engagement.


The Graduate School's Civic Engagement Award


The Civic Engagement Award is an award that honors a graduate student’s academic, co-curricular, or service activities that exemplify JMU’s vision of civic engagement.  JMU seeks to promote civic engagement through advancing the legacy of James Madison “by preparing individuals to be active and responsible participants in a representative democracy dedicated to the common good.” Students nominated should demonstrate sustained commitment to academic projects or co-curricular programs that showcase their participation in civic life or the creation of programs that encourage others’ participation.

Students must be nominated by a member of the faculty and endorsed by their Graduate Program Director or Academic Unit Head.

Nomination Deadline:  March 12, 2017
Eligibility:  Graduate students eligible for this award are those graduating during the 2015-2016 academic year (August, 2016; December 2016; May 2017).

The nominator should submit the following to grad@jmu.edu:

1.     A single PDF document that includes:

                 A brief resume or CV of the nominee (2-3 pages)
                 A nomination letter from a member of the faculty or center director.
                 A letter of endorsement from the graduate program director or Academic Unit Head.

2.     A PDF of a student’s statement describing how the work has cultivated civic engagement.

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