The 2019 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

AAC&U is pleased to announce the 2019 Cross Scholars, and we congratulate all nominees for the 2019 award. Information about the 2020 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders award will be announced in Spring 2019. 

About the Award

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education; who demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others; and whose work reflects a strong emphasis on teaching and learning. (Information about past recipients of the Cross Award is available here.)

The awards honor the work of K. Patricia Cross, Professor Emerita of Higher Education at the University of California-Berkeley. Throughout her career, Pat Cross helped the higher education community better understand our students, their characteristics, and their needs, and recognize what our responsibilities should be. Her ground-breaking scholarship paved the way for a legacy of work on age, socioeconomic class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and numerous other aspects of intersectional social identity.

Please see below for Frequently Asked Questions

All doctoral level graduate students who are planning a career in higher education are eligible, regardless of academic department. Graduate students in fields where the Master's degree is the terminal degree, such as the MFA in art, are also eligible. (Nominees must hold student status in January 2019.) 

Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning, with a strong commitment to academic and civic responsibility; and
  • Leadership or potential leadership in the development of others as leaders, scholars, and citizens.

Nomination Process
A faculty member or administrator must nominate the student, with a supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator. The following materials must be submitted for an application to be considered:

  1. a nomination letter from a faculty member or administrator;
  2. a supporting letter from a second faculty member or administrator;
  3. a statement from the student indicating how he or she meets the award criteria;
  4. a copy of the student’s curriculum vitae.

Please mail AAC&U two copies of these materials – the original documents and one duplicate of each.

Online Form
AAC&U also requires that an online form be completed (see below in "How to Submit a Nomination"). This form is usually submitted by the student, although another individual with the required information could submit the form for the nominee.

Only complete applications will be considered.

The Award
The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards provide financial support for graduate students to attend AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, which will be January 23-26, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. All award recipients are required to attend the conference.

The awards include travel, lodging, conference registration, and a one-year affiliation with AAC&U, including subscriptions to all AAC&U periodicals. 

The awards are announced in December, and recipients of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards will be recognized at, and will participate in, AAC&U’s  Annual Meeting in January 2019.

How to Submit a Nomination

Graduate students must provide, via an online form, all contact information—name, institution, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Nominees must provide the same information for individuals who will submit the letter of nomination and the letter of support.  This information can be submitted anytime, but no later than 5:00 pm EST on October 1, 2018.

Nomination Materials
All nomination materials—the letter of nomination, the letter of support, the student statement, and the student vitae—must be mailed to and received by AAC&U no later than 5:00 PM EST on October 1, 2018.  Please note that this is not a "post-marked by" date; it is the last date by which all materials must be received by AAC&U via mail (or via UPS, FedEx, etc.).

Please mail AAC&U two copies of these materialsthe original documents and one duplicate of each.

We encourage you to submit all materials together, if possible. If preferred, letters of nomination and/or support can be sealed in a separate envelope.  We also ask that you mailnot emailnomination materials to AAC&U.

Please send materials to:
K. Patricia Cross Future Leader Awards
1818 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Contact Information:
If you have questions, please contact Suzanne Hyers at or call AAC&U at (202) 387-3760.


Deadline: October 1, 2018

Mail to: 
K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards
1818 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Due to the unreliability of fax machines, AAC&U discourages faxing nominations.


About K. Patricia Cross

K. Patricia Cross is Professor of Higher Education Emerita of the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an author of seven books on classroom teaching, learning, and assessment. Her distinguished career in higher education began as Assistant Dean of Women at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, then continued as Dean of Students at Cornell. She served as Distinguished Research Scientist at the Educational Testing Service; Professor and Chair of the Department of Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and then as David Pierpont Gardner Professor of Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Cross is a member of the National Academy of Education and twice served as chair of the Board of the American Association for Higher Education.  She is a former board member for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Berkeley Public Library, and Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholar).

Contact Information
For more information, contact Suzanne Hyers at 202.387.3760 (ext. 425): email

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything specific I should emphasize?
The award recognizes leadership ability (or potential) in teaching and learning.  Many graduate students are gifted researchers and active, supportive colleagues in their fields and on their campuses.  Not all, however, place teaching and learning as a priority.  The Cross Future Leader Awards are for those who do.

What type of activities would reflect my eligibility for the Cross Award?
The experiences and accomplishments of each nominee will be different, of course, but the bios of past Cross Scholars are here, which reflect the work recognized by the Cross Award other years.

How long should the student statement be?
The student statement should be one to two pages long.  Supplementary materials (copies of syllabi, articles about your work) are not necessary.

Can I send supplementary materials?
Only the items requested will be passed along to the Review Committees.  No supplementary materials—publications, course syllabi, additional letters, etc.—will be part of the review process.

How long should the nominating and supporting letters be?
We also suggest that nominating/supporting letters be no longer than two pages.

Does the nominating or supporting letter need to come from my advisor?
It is not a requirement that a letter comes from your advisor, but most times this is true.  The letters should come from individuals most familiar with your work as a graduate student and who can speak to your potential as a future leader of higher education. 

I have already taken an academic position, but continue to be a graduate student as I complete my degree.  Am I eligible?
We understand that many graduate students are employed, including those with full-time positions on or off campus.  If you have maintained your status as a graduate student and have been making steady progress on your degree, you are eligible for this award.

I have been in my current position for a number of years, but have returned to complete my degree.  Am I eligible?
We applaud and appreciate the accomplishments of those now in academic positions, but this award is to recognize graduate students who show promise as future leaders of higher education, not those already established in academe or those who have been away from their graduate studies for a significant period of time.

I cannot attend AAC&U’s Annual Meeting in January.  Am I still eligible?
No.  The award itself is attending the Annual Meeting, so that is a requirement.

Our department would like to nominate more than one graduate for the award.  Is that possible?
Yes. AAC&U frequently gets multiple nominations from one institution and, at times, more than one from the same department.

Can the letter of nomination and letter of support come from different institutions?
Yes.  It frequently happens that a graduate student is working with faculty members or administrators at multiple institutions, or that a supporting letter comes from a colleague or co-worker.

My graduate student will be graduating in March of 2019.  Can I still nominate her?
Yes.  Recipients of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards must be a graduate student in January 2019.  Students who graduate soon after that are eligible.

I am applying for scholarships to help support my graduate degree.  Does the Cross Future Leaders Award include a financial award?
The Cross Award is not a scholarship and does not include a monetary award.  It does support a student’s travel to the Annual Meeting, but there is no other financial support. In addition, the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award is open to nominations only, and one cannot apply for it.

If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.