Margaret Ellen White Award FAQ

  1. Who can make nominations?

    Any graduate student can nominate his/her major professor, but first talk with your GPSS senator, or if your department has no senators with the vice-president of GPSS. This is because the nominations must be submitted to GPSS through a department senator, and each senator is allowed only one nomination.

  2. Can I nominate several professors?

    No, only one, and even GPSS department senators can only support one nominee.

  3. How do I find out if my major professor is eligible to be nominated for this award, because I don’t know how many program of study committees she/he has chaired? And why does the number matter?

    You can ask the graduate secretary in your department or either can search the ISU computer system to find out how many student POS committees that professor has chaired, and get back to you with that information. We would need the professor’s full name and the department he or she is affiliated with.

    The reason that only professors who have chaired at least 6 committees are eligible for this award is so that there is plenty of supporting evidence as to the quality of the professor’s mentoring from at least 6 students. If a professor has only been at ISU a short time, it is better to wait until he/she has supervised more students and can generate more widespread support, even beyond graduation. Then he/she has a stronger chance of winning.

  4. What makes a strong nomination for the Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award?

    • Often it is a good idea for a number of current graduate students to write a group nomination for one professor. All their names would go on the nomination form and data from each person’s experiences with the professor is included in the nomination responses. Don’t include students who have already graduated on the nomination, as they are involved with the next step of the award process (see Q. 5).
    • You want to include a lot of specific examples and evidence when answering the nomination form questions.
    • Generally all the nominees are major professors who work successfully and well with their students, and so committee members are looking for evidence that makes one person stand out from their peers.
  5. Could you explain the selection process for this award more clearly?

    • First in the fall semester, grad students complete nominations of professors and submit these through department senators to GPSS.
    • Second, a GPSS committee evaluates these nominations and forwards the top ones (up to 6) to the graduate college for further review.
    • Third, spring semester, the Graduate College solicits CVs from nominees’ departments and letters or emails of support from past and/or current students of these professors (students who did not work on the nominations)
    • Fourth, a committee of graduate faculty and GPSS representatives reviews the dossier for each professor and selects one to recommend to the provost as the winner for this year.
    • Fifth, by the end of April, the provost notifies the winner, and also congratulates the other finalists on being nominated. At the May GPSS meeting, the winner’s name is announced to senators.
    • Lastly, the Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award is presented to the professor by the President of ISU at the university convocation the following September. (Many other awards are also given at this ceremony and celebration)