The 2021 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award

About the 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. Information about past recipients of the Cross Award is available here

The award honors the work of K. Patricia Cross, Professor Emerita of Higher Education at the University of California–Berkeley. Throughout her career, Dr. Cross advanced higher education’s understanding of student learning, the potential of all students to succeed, and the need to measure progress through meaningful assessment. 

Award Recipients

Recipients of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award will receive financial support to attend the AAC&U Annual Meeting in January 2021. Award recipients are honored at this national conference and also participate in a panel discussion. All award recipients are required to attend. Recipients of the 2021 award will be announced in December 2020.


All doctoral-level graduate students who are planning a career in higher education are eligible, 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. Nominees must hold student status in January 2021.

Nominees must demonstrate

  • leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning, with a strong commitment to academic innovation, community engagement, and equity; and
  • leadership or mentorship in the development of others as leaders, scholars, and citizens.

Nomination Materials

Eligible students must be nominated by a faculty member or administrator. Self-nominations by students will not be accepted. The following materials listed below must be submitted for each nomination to be considered complete. Only complete nominations will be reviewed.

  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.

The Award

The K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award provides full financial support for recipients to attend AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, which will be held from January 22–25, 2021. The award also includes a one-year affiliation with AAC&U and a subscription to Liberal Education magazine.

Submission Process 

The nomination period will close on October 1, 2020.


Contact Information: 
If you have questions, please contact Alina Grant at or call AAC&U at 202-387-3760.