To: Department Chairs, Program Directors, and Directors of Undergraduate Studies Department and Program Managers
From: Rebekah Peeples, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Assessment
Re: Revisions to Undergraduate Prize Policies
March 23, 2022
I write with an update about the policies governing undergraduate prizes administered in cooperation with the Office of the Dean of the College. In particular, I write to share with you new recommended prize amounts for undergraduate students.
These changes will be effective with Class Day and Commencement this year. They apply to prizes for which there is discretion to set the amount and number of prizes. If a prize fund has specific restrictions that are narrower than or inconsistent with these recommendations, the restrictions must be followed.
Per University policy, prizes administered centrally through the ODOC prize process are listed in the annual Commencement program and recorded on the student’s official transcript. Those administered locally by your department or program may be awarded to students on Class Day, but will not be listed in the Commencement program and will not be listed on a student’s official transcript.
I. Amount of Cash Awards
For University-wide prizes recognizing distinction across the University (e.g., those prizes given out at the Class Day ceremony or for which eligibility is not limited to students in a particular department), ODOC recommends that the value of the prize range from between $4000 to $8000. The prize amount should be linked to the competitiveness of the award, such that prizes with narrow eligibility should be at the lower end of the range and those open to a large population (e.g., all seniors) should be at the higher end of the range.
For disciplinary prizes that recognize merit within a department or discipline (for instance, distinction in a senior thesis or junior paper), ODOC recommends that departments and programs set the value of the prize at $2500 per award, although a range between $2000 and $3000 is acceptable. Departments and programs are free to use general funds to “top up” prize amounts in cases where there is insufficient income to make awards in the suggested ranges.
For prizes designed to support research while honoring academic distinction, ODOC recommends a value between $5000 and $8000, and that the prize be awarded when possible to rising juniors and seniors so that funds can be used to support research for independent work. Note that the University’s recommended summer stipend amount is currently $6000, which represents a student’s likely summer living expenses.
In keeping with current practice, ODOC will continue to review recommended dollar amounts every few years.
II. Number of Awards
In keeping with donors’ intention to recognize superior achievement, ODOC recommends that selection committees choose a single winner for each prize. If more than one winner is selected, the full amount should be awarded to each of the two co-winners.
III. Future Planning
In conjunction with these updated recommendations, prize balances available to departments and programs will be adjusted to permit higher awards for the AY 2021-2022 cycle. Prize funds may also carry over small deficits to the following fiscal year, with the expectation that future earnings will grow to cover the recommended amounts.
As always, departments and programs that seek to establish new prizes should first discuss their goals with the Office of Advancement.
More information will follow later this spring, with specific instructions about recognizing students through the annual prize process.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about these revisions, please contact me with your policy questions and Vicky Glosson for assistance with procedural questions.
We thank you for your cooperation and assistance through this period of transition.