Individual Commission Awards

Thank you for your interest in nominating a colleague or initiative for an award presented by one of our commissions.

Commission Awards are due Friday, November 1, 2019.

To submit a nomination, go to:

To find out more about the individual awards ACPA Commissions offer, you can either explore awards by category (e.g., new professional, program/imitative) or by Commission.

Awards by Category

You can search awards by category by accessing this spreadsheet

Commissions give out awards in the following categories:

  1. Individual Awards by Professional Level:
    1. Undergraduate & Graduate Student Awards
    2. New Professional Awards
    3. Mid-Level Professional Awards
    4. Experienced/Senior Level Professional Awards and Lifetime Awards
  2. Program/Initiative Awards
  3. Research, Publication, Contribution to Knowledge and other Scholarship-related Awards
  4. Research and Writing Grants (funding associated with the award)
  5. Service Awards (including Service to a Community/Profession/Field, Service to a Commission, Mentoring Awards)
  6. Travel Awards (funding associated with the award)
  7. Social Justice, Sustainability, Collaboration, & Institutional Change Awards
  8. Specialty Awards (e.g., Technology-related Awards, Trailblazer Awards)

The following Commissions give out awards:
Click on the Commission name to be redirected to the Commission's Award page with detailed descriptions and requirements for each of their awards.

Academic Affairs

Academic Support in Higher Education

Administrative Leadership
(on hiatus)

Admissions, Orientation, and First-Year Experience

Campus Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Career Services

Commuter Students & Adult Learners

Counseling & Psychological Services

Global Dimensions of Student Development

Graduate & Professional Student Affairs

Housing & Residential Life

Professional Preparation

Recreation, Athletics, & Wellness

Social Justice Education

Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Meaning (on hiatus)

Student Conduct & Legal Issues

Student Involvement

Two-Year Colleges


Overall Commission Awards

Overall Commission Awards recognize exemplary leaders, commissions, and directorate members. These awards are announced during the ACPA Awards Ceremony at the ACPA Convention.

Excellent Contribution to the ACPA Strategic Priorities

ACPA has identified 6 strategic goals: Career Development, Professional Development; Leadership in Higher Education, Social Justice, Research and Scholarship and Association Performance and Excellence. In addition, ACPA has had more recently focused on racial justice and decolonization, hoping to specifically target efforts toward reducing the oppression of communities of color at the intersections of their identities, knowing that all oppressions are linked and that the work is ongoing.  The purpose of the Excellence in Contributions to the ACPA Strategic Priorities is to highlight the work done by an entity in furthering one goal in a substantial way or affording time and attention to multiple initiatives focusing on multiple strategic goals.

Excellence in Research and Scholarship

Research and scholarship have long been the life-blood of ACPA.  This award focuses specifically on the efforts made by a commission to engage in specific research and or scholarship that furthers the knowledge used by practitioners in service to students, to staff, or to the academy.  Submissions might highlight white-papers, research projects, journal articles, and or books, just to name a few possibilities.

Distinguished Commission Directorate Member

This award presents a commissions with the opportunity to recognize an individual who consistently goes above and beyond to provide leadership within the group. An outstanding directorate member is one who contributes something sustainable and lasting for the group; or rises to the level of being a leader among leaders, pulling a group together in a substantive way.

Distinguished Commission Chair

This award recognizes excellence in leadership of a commission.  Excellence can come in a variety of forms. The following list is designed to assist nominators in identifying what distinguishes their chair.  It is not exhaustive. Distinguished chairs may: 1) provide strong administrative leadership to the group that allows the group to understand the tasks before the group and work both independently as well as collaboratively to accomplish tasks; 2) be visionary, looking to what could be, not what is, and rallying the commission membership to work toward the goal; 3) provide strong mentorship of members within the commission and or within ACPA; and 4) strategic in their efforts, guiding commission members to accomplish efforts designed to stabilize or grow the commission.

Excellence in Programming and Professional Development

This award recognizes efforts of an entity to foster programs and developmental opportunities that enrich the professional experiences of ACPA members and or invited student affairs and other academic participants.  Activities that might be highlighted include, but are not limited to:

  • Hosting regional, web-based, national pre-conference, or national series programs in an area pertinent to the professional lives of participants.
  • Engaging in initiatives that foster an understanding or highlight the importance of an issue or topic
  • Serving as a thought leadership team regarding a facet of student affairs practice or process.

Overall Distinguished Commission

Commissions come in a variety of sizes, are varied in longevity and have different resource bases.  A distinguished commission is one that can work with the resources it has at its disposal and demonstrates distinguished leadership by providing balanced, innovative, and sustainable products, projects and or services within or across the commissions and to ACPA.  

Excellence in Innovation

The award for Excellence in Innovation recognizes a singular effort that is innovative in terms of process, product or service within student affairs.  

Deadline to nominate is 1 November 2019. Overall Commision Awards are coordinated by Dre Domingue, Assembly Coordinator for Commissions. 

Individual Commission Awards

Each year, individual commissions recognize exemplary leaders, scholars, programs, institutions, and initiatives who contribute to the goals and mission of their respective commission. The management of each commission’s awards process is coordinated independently by each commission, so please refer to the awards directorate member (or similar role) in each commission for details on nominations for each award. Please note that awards and award titles and criteria may change from year to year. Again, please refer to each commission’s awards coordinator for specific information.

Award recipients in these categories are usually announced in individual directorate open business meetings and receptions. Recipients are typically invited to an ACPA Recipient Reception during the ACPA Convention to celebrate all Chapter, Coalition, Commission, and Community of Practice Award recipients.

For questions, please contact Regina Zmich, Entity Group Awards Coordinator, at [email protected] for more information.

Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education

  • Commitment to Excellence in Academic Support
  • Innovative Academic Support Initiative
  • Outstanding New Professional
  • Outstanding Graduate Student

Commission for Administrative Leadership

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Commission Award

  • Senior Level Professional Award

  • Mid-Level Professional Award

  • Award for Excellence in Institutional Change

Commission for Admissions, Orientation, and First-Year Experience

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award

  • Outstanding New Professional Award

  • Outstanding Experienced Professional Award

  • Outstanding Four-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award

  • Outstanding Two-Year Institution Program/Initiative Award

  • AOFYE/NRCFYESIT Research Grant Award

Commission for Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness

  • Outstanding Contribution to Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness

  • Distinguished Service to the Commission for Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Commission for Career Services

  • Innovation Award

  • Distinguished Service Award

  • Rising Star Award

Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners

  • Outstanding Achievement by an Experienced Student Affairs Professional Award

  • Outstanding Achievement by a Student Award

  • Outstanding Service to the Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners Award

  • Outstanding Program for Commuter Students Award

  • Outstanding Publication Award

Commission for Counseling and Psychological Services

  • Mid-Level Career Achievement Award

Commission for Global Dimensions of Student Development

  • Outstanding International Education Initiative Award

  • Service to the International Community Award

  • Excellence in International Research Awards

Commission for Housing and Residential Life

  • Excellence in Service Award

  • Outstanding Experienced Professional (10+ years) Award

  • Outstanding Experienced Professional (4-9 years) Award

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Staff Member Award

  • Outstanding Innovation in Residence Life Award

  • Outstanding New Professional in Residence Life Award

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Staff Member Award

Commission for Professional Preparation

Commission for Recreation, Athletics, and Wellness

  • Distinguished Scholar

  • Outstanding Contribution

  • Graduate Student/New Professional Travel Award

  • Outstanding Wellness Program for Students

  • Outstanding Wellness Program for Higher Education Professionals

Commission for Social Justice Educators

  • Outstanding Social Justice Educator, Trainer, or Mentor Award

  • Contribution to Commission Award

  • Exemplary Social Justice Contribution by a Graduate Student Award

  • Innovative Response for Social Justice Award

  • Outstanding Social Justice Collaboration Award

Commission for Student Conduct & Legal Issues

  • Award for Student Impact Award

  • Outstanding Research in Student Conduct and Legal Issues Award

  • Outstanding Service to the Commission for Student Conduct and Legal Issues Award

Commission for Student Involvement

  • Outstanding New Professional Award

  • Outstanding Program

  • Outstanding Master’s Level Graduate Student Award

  • Outstanding Mid-Level Professional Award

  • Outstanding Service to the Commission Award

  • Research Grant Award

Past Recipients