Devin Bowes, the Spring 2022 Dean's Dissertation Award winner, speaks at the PhD hooding ceremony.

Dean’s Dissertation Award

The AFSE Executive Committee helps select the winner of the Dean’s Dissertation Award, which recognizes excellence in dissertation research.

The Dean’s Dissertation Award recognizes excellence in dissertation research that embodies the ASU Charter and design aspirations as evidenced by contributions to (a) scientific discovery, (b) engineering innovations, and (c) use-inspired applications with the potential for major societal impact.

Nominations will be evaluated based on the content and quality of the nomination materials. In both the nomination letter and personal statement, competitive nominations should detail how the research contributes new or transformative knowledge, theoretical frameworks, methodologies, techniques, applications, and/or translations of the research.

The award promotes FSE research as well as the awardees themselves, giving them an edge in their potential future career in academia. The Dean’s Dissertation Award winners will be invited to give a two-minute flash presentation at the fall semester Assembly of the FSE meeting.

The award is presented to up to 5% of the number of prior year’s Ph.D. graduates in the FSE. The best submission from each program may be recognized with a Certificate of Recognition. There will be two calls for nominations.

Timeline and call for nominations

August nominations

Nominate in August for candidates with a graduation window of the summer and the current fall semester.

January nominations

Nominate in January for candidates with a graduation window of the past fall semester and into the current spring semester.

Each call may result in up to half the specified number of awardees for the academic year.

Nominations Specifications for School Director

  • An announcement is sent to schools in early August and early January.
  • Each school can nominate no more than two students per program and in total no more than the number of Ph.D. programs + 2.
    • Nominees must be a Ph.D. candidate at the date of submission of the nomination.
    • Graduation windows for the two award periods are defined in the Introduction.
  • The internal selection process is left up to each individual school.
  • Nominations to the Dean’s office will be sent by the director of each school.
  • Nominations for the two award periods are due in early September and early February. See the Submission of Application section for specific dates.
  • Letter of nomination from the dissertation advisor, clearly indicating date of completion of comprehensive examination and/or dissertation proposal/prospectus examination. The nomination should address specifically the criteria listed in the Introduction.
  • An abstract of the dissertation limited to one page, including title, overview, broader impacts, and intellectual merit.
  • A curriculum vita of the candidate, including a list of publications that clearly distinguishes publications related to and not related to the dissertation research.
  • A personal statement from the candidate, limited to one page, outlining why the candidate believes they should receive this award, specifically addressing the criteria listed in the Introduction.
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member other than the dissertation advisor, who may be in or out of the candidate’s school, but typically within ASU. The letter should address specifically the criteria listed in the first paragraph.

Nominations to the Dean’s office will be sent by the director of each school.

August nomination window
Please submit your nominations to Laura Fontanez (Laura.Fontanez@asu.edu) no later than September 1st, 2022. The Executive Committee will then review the materials and make their recommendations by the October meeting. The final decisions will be made by the dean no later than October 31st.

January nomination window
Please submit your nominations to Laura Fontanez (Laura.Fontanez@asu.edu) no later than February 1st, 2023. The Executive Committee will then review the materials and make their recommendations by the March meeting. The final decisions will be made by the dean no later than March 31st.

  • Winners are announced by the dean.
  • Winners are invited to give a two-minute flash presentation at the FSE assembly.

School nominees are invited to prepare posters of their research for a poster presentation held together with the reception for the Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer.

  • Based on the number of applications, the Executive Committee (EC) will determine how many reviews each application will receive. Assignments will be based on knowledge of the dissertation topic and with a goal to distribute among schools. EC members will score each application on a scale of 1 – 5 based on the criteria listed in the first paragraph. These scores will be recorded in a spreadsheet, discussed and ranked during a committee meeting.
  • The EC will send a ranking of the received nominations to the dean. This could be based on categories, e.g., highly competitive / competitive / not competitive and/or include a numerical ranking in the top categories.