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From the AHA Activities column in the September 2002 Perspectives

Revisions to AHA Policy on Prizes

AHA Staff, September 2002

  • The Research Division shall serve as the policy oversight body of the Association for book prizes. Similarly the Teaching Division shall oversee teaching awards, and the Professional Division awards for professional service.
  • The AHA Council will assess future prize proposals based on three criteria:

a. The prize field must be broad enough to insure a significant number of competitors for the prize and candidates for the prize committee. The Council will not establish prizes in a field covered by a specialist society except by agreement with such a society.

b. The proposed prize must be endowed with sufficient funds to insure that it can be funded without drawing from the operating funds of the Association.

c. Those establishing the prize must be open to the idea of supporting the future of the profession, allowing provision to support research grants or fellowships for graduate students and junior scholars in the prize field, in the event that its endowment generates sufficient funds to exceed the maximum amount for a prize award (currently $1,500).

  • All prizes must be funded by bequests of at least $50,000 and include in the gifting language a stipulation that the entire bequest can be used to calculate the award amount. This level is intended to ensure sufficient time to withstand an economic downturn in the short term, but also make room to allow for research grants to assist younger scholars in the same field.
  • Henceforth, no prize should be established in the name of a living person.
  • The Association will charge to each prize fund reasonable direct and indirect costs. Those costs are currently calculated at one-half of one percent of a fund's balance.
  • Prizes and awards should be conferred on only one individual or group except under exceptional circumstances, and there will be no honorable mentions, except in the case of the Asher Teaching Award.
  • In assessing nominations for the prize, prize committees are advised to consider the prestige of their field. The prize committee should not confer an award or prize if there are no worthy submissions.
  • Prize award committees should be composed of at least three members of the Association. With the establishment of a new prize, after an initial term, the terms will be staggered.
  • Prizes and awards will be announced at the AHA General Meeting, before the presidential address. Prizes will only be announced for those recipients who are present to receive the awards in person. The citations for all prizes will be published in Perspectives.
  • Every five years, the Finance Committee of the Council will review the amounts being conferred for each prize, to insure that the amounts being conferred do not exceed the amount needed to insure the general health of the prize fund.

—Approved by Council, December 27, 1992; amended January 11, 1998; amended January 7, 1999; amended January 6, 2000; amended June 29, 2002.