AOFYE Excellence Awards Guidelines

AOFYE seeks to recognize the outstanding contributions of ACPA members in the areas of Admissions, Orientation, and First-Year Experience. The nomination criteria for each award are detailed below. All institutions are encouraged to participate in this program by nominating deserving individuals, projects, or programs. Institutions may submit only one nomination per category. All nominations are to be no longer than three pages (or 750 -1500 words). In addition to the nomination statement, the following information is required: 1) the award for which the individual is being nominated; 2) the nominee’s name, title, address, phone number, e-mail address, and institution; and 3) the nominator’s name, title, address, phone number, e-mail address, and institution. Nominators need to be ACPA members to submit an award, but the nominees for the new professionals, undergraduate and graduate student awards are not expected to maintain ACPA membership. It is expected that winners be present at the ACPA annual convention to receive the award.

Nominations are due Monday, November 20, 2017. Winners will be notified in mid-December to allow time for decisions about conference attendance before the January 2018 early bird registration ends. Please contact Lindsey Peetz-Murray at lpeetz@bellarmine.edu if you have any questions about the awards selection process or nomination guidelines. 


Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award:

This award is presented to a full-time undergraduate student who has significantly contributed to or impacted the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience programs at his/her institution. Nomination must include a letter (no more than four pages) from either a direct supervisor or a faculty member, describing the student’s contributions, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Outstanding service/special contributions to admissions, orientation, or a first-year experience program within his/her own system.
  • Evidence that the student has gone above and beyond normal expectations in service to one or more of these areas.
  • Special projects and/or ideas in one or more of these areas that have been implemented at his/her institution.
  • Evidence that the student has high academic standards.
  • Experiences in fostering inclusiveness and appreciation of differences.
  • Student need not be an ACPA member to be nominated.

Click here to nominate someone for the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. 


Outstanding Graduate Student Award:

This award is presented to a full-time graduate student/graduate assistant studying at the master’s or doctoral degree level in any program who has greatly contributed to the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience programs at his/her institution; to the research and scholarship of these areas; and/or to professional practice in these areas. Nomination must include a letter of support from a faculty member or graduate assistantship/internship supervisor, which conveys academic success (i.e., GPA, satisfactory progress toward degree), verifies the nominee’s primary role at the institution as a graduate student/graduate assistant, and describes the student's contributions in, but not limited to, any of the following areas:

  • Significant contributions to the academic study of admissions, orientation, and first-year experience through papers (e.g., thesis, dissertation), research and assessment projects, and publication.
  • Outstanding service/special contributions to admissions, orientation, or first-year experience programs within his/her own system through graduate assistantships, internships, and practicums.
  • Contributions made above and beyond normal expectations to the institution or the profession (i.e., committee membership, participation in professional organizations, community service)
  • Experiences in fostering inclusiveness and appreciation of differences.
  • Student need not be an ACPA member to be nominated.

Click here to nominate someone for the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. 


Outstanding New Professional Award: 

This award is presented to a new professional in the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience functional areas. A new professional is defined as a person with no more than four years of full-time professional experience. Nomination must include a letter of support from someone who has worked with the nominee, preferably in a supervisory capacity, describing the individual’s contributions, which include but are not limited to:

  • Excellence in overall job performance.
  • Initiative or creativity displaying that the nominee has gone above and beyond normal expectations.
  • Outstanding service to the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience program within his/her own system and/or in the larger higher education community.
  • Involvement in professional organizations and/or community service.
  • Experiences in fostering inclusiveness and appreciation of differences.
  • Nominee must be an ACPA member.

Click here to nominate someone for the Outstanding New Professional Award. 


Outstanding Experienced Professional Award:

These two awards (one for a professional with 5-10 years of full-time experience, and another for a professional with 11+ years for full-time experience) are given to experienced professionals working in or overseeing admissions, orientation, or first-year experience programs. Suggested criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Significant contributions to the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience programs at the nominee’s institution through program leadership and/or advocacy.
  • Contributions to scholarship on and practice in the admissions, orientation, or first-year experience areas through conference presentations, publications, innovative project implementation, research, and/or grant writing.
  • Active membership in professional organizations.
  • Willingness to support and promote their profession through mentoring and positive role modeling for other professionals.
  • Experiences in fostering inclusiveness and appreciation of differences.
  • Nominee must be an ACPA member.

Click here to nominate someone for the Outstanding Experienced Professional Award. 


Outstanding Four-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award:

This award is presented to recognize and share an outstanding program, project, or initiative developed by a four-year institution for its campus community. The project must be situated in an admissions, orientation, or first-year experience setting. The nomination must include nominator information (see above), the name of the program, project, or initiative, target population, number of people participating in project, number of people needed to organize, time needed to organize, time span and/or length of project, cost of project, and list of resources used for the project. The nomination narrative (maximum of 7 pages; approximately 1,500–2,500 words) should provide the rationale for the program/project/initiative, a description of the program/project/initiative, and a discussion of how it was assessed/evaluated and the results of that program assessment. Selection criteria are based on the following:

  • Program/Project/Initiative implemented during the previous academic year (August 1-July 31).
  • Program/Project/Initiative is inventive and provides a creative solution to problems or issues faced by the institution, yet significant to other higher education institutions.
  • Program/Project/Initiative will be assessed based on its adaptability, creativity, cost efficiency, educational value, goals, quality, resource utilization, thoroughness of program evaluation, and ability to meet the needs of a diverse population and/or special campus needs.
  • At least one member of the program/project/initiative team must be an ACPA member. 

Click here to nominate a program for the Outstanding Four-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award.


Outstanding Two-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award:

This award is presented to recognize and share an outstanding program, project, or initiative developed by a two-year institution for its campus community. The project must be situated in an admissions, orientation, or first-year experience setting. The nomination must include nominator information (see above), the name of the program, project, or initiative, target population, number of people participating in project, number of people needed to organize, time needed to organize, time span and/or length of project, cost of project, and list of resources used for the project. The nomination narrative (maximum of 7 pages; approximately 1,500–2,500 words) should provide the rationale for the program/project/initiative, a description of the program/project/initiative, and a discussion of how it was assessed/evaluated and the results of that program assessment. Selection criteria are based on the following:

  • Program/Project/Initiative implemented during the previous academic year (August 1-July 31).
  • Program/Project/Initiative is inventive and provides a creative solution to problems or issues faced by the institution, yet significant to other higher education institutions.
  • Program/Project/Initiative will be assessed based on its adaptability, creativity, cost efficiency, educational value, goals, quality, resource utilization, thoroughness of program evaluation, and ability to meet the needs of a diverse population and/or special campus needs.
  • At least one member of the program/project/initiative team must be an ACPA member. 

Click here to nominate a program for the Outstanding Two-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award.