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Research & Engagement Bureau of Educational Research College Research Awards Distinguished Scholar

College Research Awards

Hardie Distinguished Scholar

Last Update: January  4, 2024

The College of Education awards the title of Distinguished Scholar and Distinguished Senior Scholar to nominated members of the faculty who have distinguished themselves in their scholarly accomplishments.    

  • College of Education Distinguished Scholar: intended for faculty who are within 10 years of finishing their terminal degree.
  • College of Education Senior Scholar: intended for faculty who are beyond 10 years of finishing their terminal degree.

This program is supported by the Charles Dunn Hardie Trust.

Nominations will be accepted Thursday, January 3 through Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 5:00 PM, using the online submission system.

Award Details

Awards will typically be made for one Distinguished Scholar ($1,500) and one Distinguished Senior Scholar ($2,500). The fund to support future research will be deposited in a research account for the Scholar’s use.


The awards are based solely upon criteria of scholarly quality, significance, and productivity. Typically, these criteria will be indexed by the influence, quality,  and volume of published books, book chapters, and/or refereed articles in one's field, as well as the duration and consistency of one's scholarly performance over a period of time. External funding for scholarship also will be considered.

Suitable questions to ask in evaluating quality and significance include:

  • Does the individual's work find its way into the very best outlets in the field?

  • Is the work highly regarded by peers?

  • How has this person's scholarship advanced or changed the field?

  • What conceptual and theoretical advances are evident in this scholarship?

  • What methodological advances are evident in this scholarship?

  • Is the scholarship programmatic, sustained, and cumulative?

  • Given that appropriate external funds are available for this form of scholarship, has the individual applied for and received substantive external support?

  • Has this scholarship opened up new areas of inquiry?

  • How has this scholarship influenced educational practices and policy?


Faculty within the first 10 years of finishing their terminal degree are eligible for the Distinguished Scholar Award. Faculty beyond 10 years of finishing their terminal degree are eligible for the Distinguished Senior Scholar Award. Individuals who have already received the Distinguished Scholar award are also eligible for the Distinguished Senior Scholar award after they have passed the 10-year mark. The criteria for selection at these two levels are much the same, but they are calibrated against different reference groups.

Nomination and Selection Procedures

Nominations can come from the candidate, the candidate's department, or any colleague within the college. The letter of nomination should be written by someone who knows the candidate's work very well and can speak in an informed way about its impact and visibility within the field.

  • Letters of nomination bear the burden of proof that a candidate's record is distinguished according to the criteria cited earlier. It is important to discuss how the candidate’s scholarship has had an impact in their field(s) of expertise.

  • The curriculum vitae that accompanies an application should include the same information found in the basic format used for College promotion and tenure applications (i.e., those sections documenting scholarship and professional service).

  • Two representative publications should be included.

  • Two letters of support (in addition to the letter of nomination), one of which must be from outside the University of Illinois, from scholars in this research area who could comment on the quality and impact of the work.

The College Research Committee will then undertake a thorough review and selection process and make recommendations to the Dean, who, in consultation with the College Executive Committee, will make the final selection of award winners.

How to Nominate

Nominations should be submitted by February 15, 2024 using the online system. Click here to complete your nomination for Distinguished Scholar/Distinguished Senior Scholar


Please contact the Associate Dean for Research and Research Education, or the chair of the College Research Committee, with any questions about the Distinguished Scholar program or the nomination process. If you have any problems using the online system please contact

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