About AAC&U

K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recognizes graduate students who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and who are committed to academic innovation in the areas of equity, community engagement, and teaching and learning.

Nomination Process

All doctoral-seeking graduate students who are planning a career in higher education are eligible for nomination, regardless of academic discipline. Graduate students in fields where the master’s degree is the terminal degree (such as the MFA in art) are also eligible.

Nominations by a faculty member or administrator are required.
More information about the 2023 Nomination Process

Nominations undergo a robust and multi-phase review process engaging past Cross Award winners and AAC&U staff. Winners are selected based upon their demonstrated commitments to equity, innovations in teaching and learning, and community engagement as integrated components of their graduate work.


The awards are announced annually 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.

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards provide financial support for graduate students to attend AAC&U’s Annual Meeting. All award recipients are required to attend the meeting.

The awards include travel, lodging, meeting registration, and a one-year affiliation with AAC&U, including a subscription to Liberal Education magazine.

Each year, hundreds of laudable graduate students are nominated for the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. As such, all finalists—including the winners—are inducted into the AAC&U Future Leaders Society and have access to an exclusive community designed to support ongoing engagement, collaboration, and support.

For more information, contact Kathryn Enke at 202.888.4647 or [email protected].

Recipients of the 2022 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

  • Becca Bassett

    Becca Bassett

    Education, Harvard University
  • Dale Brown

    Dale Brown

    Interdisciplinary Studies (Philosophy & Educational Foundations), Western Michigan University
  • Erin Cassin

    Erin Cassin

    Biology, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Cynthia Garcia Eidell

    Cynthia Garcia-Eidel

    Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Caleb Gonzalez

    Caleb González

    Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy, The Ohio State University
  • Teresa Hernandez

    Teresa Hernández

    English, University of Oregon
  • Whitney Tsai Nakashima

    Whitney Tsai Nakashima

    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • J Paul Padilla

    J. Paul Padilla

    Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, University of Arizona
  • Aireale J Rodgers

    Aireale J. Rodgers

    Higher Education, University of Southern California

About K. Patricia Cross

The awards honor the work of K. Patricia Cross, Professor Emerita of Higher Education at the University of California–Berkeley. Throughout her career, Dr. Cross helped the higher education community better understand our students, their characteristics, and their needs, and recognize what our responsibilities should be. Her groundbreaking 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.