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. 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.

Nominations for the 2024 Cross Awards will be invited in August 2023.


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 2023 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

  • Jedaidah Chilufya

    Jedaidah Chilufya

    Plant Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Elizabeth Kelley

    Elizabeth Kelley

    Chemistry, University of Chicago
  • Nicholas Lacy

    Nicholas B. Lacy

    Communications, Purdue University
  • Jannell McConnell Parsons

    Jannell McConnell Parsons

    English, University of Kentucky
  • Kirby Schmidt

    Kirby J. Schmidt

    Agricultural Education, Oregon State University
  • Britt Threatt

    Britt Threatt

    Africana Studies, Brown University
  • Jordan Westcott

    Jordan Westcott

    Counselor Education, Virginia Tech
  • Clint Whitten

    Clint Whitten

    Foundations of Education, Virginia Tech
  • Ashley Wright

    Ashley S. Wright

    Higher Education Leadership, University of Dayton

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. In Memoriam: K. Patricia Cross