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Nominating a colleague for AMS fellow or an AMS award.

I ended the awards banquet at the recent Annual Meeting with the feeling I have every year: what a wonderful treat it is to see members of our community honored for their contributions to research, applications, and service to society. If you have ever reviewed the list of Fellows or awardees on the AMS website and felt you had a colleague who was just as deserving as one of them, now is the time to help that colleague get the recognition he or she deserves.

Let me give you a sense of what is needed to nominate someone for an AMS award or Fellow. Creating a nomination package is not a trivial exercise, but it is also not as difficult as some seem to think. My hope is that I might take the mystery out of the process and show that while there is some work involved, it is, all the same, a very straightforward process. The nomination process is handled fully online, through a portal that is on the AMS website (see the link for "Awards and Honors" under "About AMS"). Nominations can be made by individuals who are not AMS members, but the nominator needs to contact AMS Headquarters to be assigned a username for the portal. The (strictly enforced) deadline for nominations is May I, so there is still plenty of time to create a nomination package for a deserving colleague.

The specific requirements for nominations for AMS Fellow and each of the various AMS awards are included in the awards portal. (It is important to note that only current AMS members are eligible to be elevated to the grade of Fellow.) Nominations for Fellow and virtually every other award require a nomination letter a brief CV of the nominee (in the case of Fellow nominations, the basic CV information is entered into an online form), plus up to three letters of support from others who know the candidate well. I say "up to three," but realistically, a nomination package will not be competitive if there are less than three letters of support. Successful packages typically have the main nomination letter outline all the reasons the candidate is worthy of recognition, while each supporting letter might go into more depth on one or two aspects of the candidate's contributions. This can require some coordination by the primary nominator asking each of those who are writing letters of support to focus on specific aspects of the candidate, and some nominators choose those who will write supporting letters based on their ability to contribute those specifics in their letters. At least some of the letters should come from outside the candidate's home institution to demonstrate broader recognition of the candidate's contributions.

Not all nominations are successful, of course, so to avoid disappointment it is recommended the nominee not be informed that a nomination is being prepared. Nominations not chosen in the first year of consideration remain in the pool for the next two years, so if your nomination is not successful in its first round, it may still result in an award in a future year.

Given the advice of keeping the nomination secret from the candidate, obtaining the required brief CV from them can require some care. In some cases, a candidate may maintain a CV on their home institution's website, which makes it easy, but in other cases, you may need to work a little harder to obtain a copy. If you cannot obtain a CV without contacting the candidate, you might try asking for a CV directly and requesting they not ask why. The awards review committees prefer to have the CV be no more than two pages plus no more than three pages of bibliography, but the awards guidelines allow some flexibility in recognition that obtaining a recent CV may be one of the more difficult aspects of the process.

At every step of the process, AMS staff is happy to provide guidance to make the nomination process go as smoothly as possible. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I truly hope you will consider nominating a colleague for Fellow or one of the many AMS awards. I think you will find it a rewarding experience.

Keith L. Seitter, CCM

Executive Director
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Author:Seitter, Keith L.
Publication:Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Date:Feb 1, 2016
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