Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award

The Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award was established to honor teachers of history who taught, guided, and inspired their students in a way that changed their lives. Mentoring is as important to the discipline of history as fine scholarship and good teaching. The ideal mentor is forthright, supportive, and constructively critical, committed to the student as a person, regardless of age or career goals.

While it is difficult to formulate a precise definition of this multifaceted process, there are some essential elements:

  1. belief in the value of the study of history and commitment to and love of teaching it to students regardless of age or career goals
  2. consistent personal commitment by the mentor to the student as a person
  3. honesty and integrity of the mentor
  4. mentor's contribution to the process of mentoring as a one-to-one partnership in learning that is comfortable to both, that is likely to endure and develop beyond the initial context as each learns from, gives to, and shares with the other, enriching both professional and personal lives

The Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award is given on a three-year cycle: graduate mentors (including combined graduate and undergraduate teaching); secondary school teachers, and undergraduate mentors (both two-and four-year colleges). The 2014 award is for undergraduate mentors and carries a cash award.

Application Process

Nominations should include:

  1. A completed cover sheet.
  2. A minimum of five letters supporting the nomination. These letters can be from students, former students, parents, colleagues, and others. There is no set proportion or formula on the “right“ mix of letters. Individuals organizing nominations should solicit a cross selection as appropriate to address the essential elements noted above. Maximum length of letters is two pages.
  3. The nominee’s CV highlighting educational experience and student mentoring (publications and professional activities should be summarized in no more than two pages). Maximum length of CV should be 5 pages.

Generally, one individual serves as the organizer for the nomination and completes the cover sheet, writes one of the letters nominating the individual, procures the nominee's vita (condenses to 5-page limit as necessary), and contacts individuals to write additional letters of support.

The nomination can be submitted in one of two ways:

  1. All letters of support are sent to organizer, who compiles the three components and sends these as attachments in a single email to the AHA, or
  2. Organizer emails cover sheet, CV, and his/her letter of support to AHA, directs writers of additional letters of support to email directly to the Association, and follows up with writers prior to the deadline to ensure letters were completed and submitted. Please note, due to the number of nominations received, the AHA will not be able to follow up with nominators directly.

To ensure completeness of nomination and timeliness of submission of all components, the Award Committee prefers the first method of submission.

Cover sheet, all letters supporting the nomination, and vita must be e-mailed no later than May 31, 2014, to awards@historians.org. Be sure to include Roelker Mentorship Award in the subject line.

The 2014 award will be announced at the January 2015 AHA annual meeting. Questions should be addressed to the Roelker Prize Administrator at the e-mail address given above.