Submission Deadline: August 2, 2021

The following guidelines and accompanying explanations are provided to ensure objectivity and the highest possible standards for the AAHHE & ETS Outstanding Dissertations Competition (ODC).

Who is eligible to enter the competition?

The competition is open to any Latinx who has completed a dissertation as part of a doctoral degree program in the social sciences, broadly defined, and/or anyone whose dissertation research conducted as part of a doctoral degree program in the social sciences focuses on the Latinx community. Additionally, the dissertation needs to have been completed between December 2019 and August 1, 2021.  

Dissertations are eligible if they are in domains that are related to the ETS corporate mission, including education, linguistics, psychology, statistics, testing, and so forth. Studies using any research approach (historical, experimental, survey, quantitative, mixed methods, etc.) are eligible. Dissertations in the humanities, basic sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics are not eligible. Previous applicants are ineligible to apply. 

Completion is defined as either a OR b as follows:
a) received the doctoral degree between December 2019 and August 1, 2021
b) satisfactorily completed all the coursework and the dissertation between the dates specified above and the dissertation is acceptable to the candidate’s committee, but the degree has not been conferred.

What is the general judging process that will be used in the competition? 

The competition will occur in two phases. The first phase uses the Dissertation Summaries as a basis of selection. The Chair will send the Dissertation Summaries to a panel of judges who will evaluate them using the rubric in the competition guidelines (see document at the bottom of the page). Each judge will be asked to submit a Dissertation Summary ranking score. Based on the judges’ rankings, the Chair will determine the top seven (7) to ten (10) Dissertation Summaries and these become the semifinalists. The Chair contacts the semifinalists and requests a copy of the complete dissertation. The panel of judges will evaluate the complete dissertations using the rubric in the guidelines, as a basis for the selection’s second phase. The panel of judges will convene to discuss and rank the complete dissertations and will determine the top three (3) dissertations, and honorable mentions, if applicable.

What is the process?

The competition involves a two-step process. The first step is to complete the ODC online application and upload a Dissertation Summary via the AAHHE Submission Portal. The submissions portal will close on August 2, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET.  Applicants will have the opportunity to complete an online application; at the end of the application, they will prompted to upload their Dissertation Summary (PDF, see instructions below). Semi-finalists will advance to the second phase of the process in which they are invited to submit a full dissertation. Semi-finalists will be notified of their selection via email and further instructions will be provided at that time.

How should the Dissertation Summary be prepared?

For the first round of judging, the applicant’s dissertation is rated SOLELY upon the Dissertation Summary submitted. These summaries must accurately, concisely, and precisely reflect the research of the full dissertation. Dissertation Summaries that do not adhere to page limits specified in these guidelines will not be considered for the competition. 

The Dissertation Summary must include and clearly label the following in this order:

  1. Title page — One (1) page in length. A title page to use in your submission is provided to you at the bottom of this page.  Please download and complete with all of the information requested.  
  2. Letter — A letter on university letterhead signed by the applicant’s dissertation committee Chair indicating that the dissertation meets the eligibility criteria defined earlier in these guidelines — detail is essential. The letter must be submitted in PDF and must also state how the Chair would rank the dissertation among previous dissertations chaired.
  3. Abstract — On a separate page, include a summary of approximately 250 words in length stating, in non-technical terms, the purpose, research problem, the methods, and major findings of the study, and the significance to the Latinx community. One (1) page in length, double-spaced.
  4. Main report section — You should include: (a) the statement of the problem; (b) the purpose of the study; (c) conceptual model, theoretical framework, and/or orientation, as applicable, and literature review; (d) methodology including participants, instrumentation, hypotheses or research questions, and data analysis; (e) major findings; (f) conclusions; (g) implications; and (h) significance to the broader research community and to the Latinx community. Not to exceed eighteen (18) pages, double-spaced.
  5. Appendix — List the references, tables, figures, diagrams, and pictures relevant to your summary. Not to exceed four (4) pages, double-spaced. 

Compile all documents (1-5) into ONE PDF in the order above. During your application process via the AAHHE Submissions Portal, you'll be able to upload the PDF to the submission portal.

What are the most important dates and deadlines?

The schedule below, in addition to providing important dates and deadlines, provides additional information about the process. 

May 12, 2021               
Call for proposals opens via AAHHE submissions portal

August 2, 2021         
Call for proposals closes. By this date, applicants have submitted a Dissertation Summary (as one complete document; PDF) via the AAHHE submission portal. AAHHE will forward a copy of the summary to the Outstanding Dissertations Competition Chair Dr. David Garcia. 

August 9, 2021          
Chair distributes dissertation summaries to judges. 

September 10, 2021   
Judges complete screening and advise the Chair of rankings. 

September 15, 2021   
Chair determines the top seven (7) to ten (10) Dissertation Summaries. AAHHE notifies all semifinalists and requests that semifinalists submit a complete dissertation.

September 22, 2021   
Semifinalists submit a copy of complete dissertation in PDF format via the AAHHE submissions portal. A link to the portal will be provided to all semifinalists. 

October 1, 2021         
Panel of judges confers and selects the top three (3) dissertations and honorable mentions, if any. 

October 4, 2021         
Chair notifies results to winners and non-selected applicants. Winners are invited to present their dissertations at the AAHHE National Conference.

October 12, 2021       
Winners submit a color digital headshot photo (JPEG), a narrative bio (max. 200 words) and a 75 word dissertation summary to AAHHE Executive Director Dr. Lucia Gutiérrez at [email protected]

March 2022                
Winners present their dissertations at the AAHHE National Conference. 

Announcements will be posted on the website of both AAHHE and ETS and advertised in the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook of Higher Education and other journals. ETS will announce the competition results to its constituencies.           

What recognition will be given to the winners?

There will be two levels of finalists. The first level consists of the First, Second, and Third Place Winners. The second level, if applicable, consists of those who are recognized as Honorable Mention (out of the remaining semi-finalists). All finalists are required to be AAHHE members.

The first place winner will receive an award $3,000 and an AAHHE Award. The second place and third place winners will receive an award of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, and an AAHHE/ETS framed certificate. The three (3) finalists will be formally recognized at 2022 AAHHE National Conference in March 2022. If applicable, AAHHE will pay for travel expenses within the continental U.S. for the three (3) finalists, and should the annual conference be in person expenses will include hotel room for two (2) nights and per diem for two (2) days. All winners will receive complimentary conference registrations. 

The three (3) finalists are given the opportunity to present their dissertations in individual concurrent sessions at the conference.

Who makes the final decision?

The selection decisions are made by a panel of judges; all decisions are final.

Download a copy of the 2022 AAHHE & ETS Outstanding Dissertation Competition Brochure (PDF)
Download a copy of the 2022 AAHHE & ETS Outstanding Dissertation Competition Guidelines (PDF)
Download a copy of the 2022 AAHHE & ETS Outstanding Dissertation Competition Title Page (PDF)