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Dissertation Of The Year


Dr. Delia Bober Nieves
Dissertation Title:
Singled Out for Success: A Narrative Inquiry of Single Mothers in the Community College


Deadline for Dissertation of the Year Award 2018 Nominees: July 9, 2018

This award bestows recognition to an individual whose doctoral dissertation excels in making a substantial contribution to the literature and/or practice of community college student development. A substantial contribution is defined as dissertation research that makes a major contribution to the literature on community college student development, revises understanding of a researchable problem associated with community college student development, or looks at community college student development in a new way. The dissertation may also be an interdisciplinary effort that identifies a research problem new to the field. Dissertations utilizing a diversity of methodological approaches are encouraged. Only dissertations judged to be truly outstanding will be recognized regardless of the number of dissertation manuscripts submitted. Recipients need not be members of NCSD to be selected for this award.

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be adjudicated based on the following criteria:

  • Timeliness of research (published in 2016 or later)
  • Significance and/or originality of the problem and research questions pertaining to community college student development
  • Relevant and appropriate use of theory/theories or a theoretical or conceptual framework
  • Comprehensiveness and appropriateness of the literature review
  • Detailed and creative use of qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods
  • Quality or soundness of the data analysis
  • Comprehensibility and meaningfulness of the results
  • Significance of the study to theory and/or practice

Nomination Directions

  • Dissertation nominees should submit a cover letter providing the following information:
  • Dissertation author’s name and contact information.  State the nomination is for the “Dissertation of the Year Award”.
  • Title of the dissertation, date completed, and dissertation director.
  • A brief description of the dissertation exceeding no more than 500 words. May be the dissertation abstract or a synopsis of such.
  • Submit a copy of the final summary chapter of the dissertation or a maximum of 15-page double-spaced summary of the dissertation.
  • Submit a letter of support by the dissertation director addressing the exemplary features of the study not to exceed 2 pages.
  • Awardees will be recognized at the NCSD National Conference in October.


Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year

The NASPA Foundation Hardee Award—named after student affairs and higher education pioneer Dr. Melvene D. Hardee of Florida State University—honors the best emergent scholarship in the field as demonstrated through a completed dissertation, in addition to the mentorship that shapes these scholars and the passion of the newly minted doctoral degree. These are a few hallmarks of quality graduate education. Dr. Hardee, herself, was an advocate for graduate students and graduate education. In 1958, she helped form the Higher Education program at Florida State University, where she stayed the duration of her career, shepherding more than 100 students through the masters and doctoral degree process. In 1988, NASPA was fortunate enough to give Dr. Hardee the Robert H. Schaffer Award in recognition of her continued commitment to the professional growth of students. The student affairs and higher education community was fortunate to have such a strong advocate for the profession.

For over 35 years, the NASPA Foundation has recognized scholars and administrators who have made their mark on the field. The honorees include associate or assistant vice presidents of Research-I institutions, former deans in private intuitions, chancellors, professors, assistant professors, and so on. Our NASPA Hardee honorees also work in community colleges, state education offices, and for university systems. They are a reminder that there is no one way to do student affairs work, but that our objective as scholars and practitioners remains the same: We all work towards the healthy social, emotional, and cognitive development of students. 

The Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award is designed to encourage high quality research relevant to college student services administration and to student affairs.  This award recognizes outstanding dissertation research conducted by doctoral degree recipients presently in or intending to enter the student affairs profession.  This award is proudly sponsored and made possible with funding from the NASPA Foundation.  

The Dissertation of the Year committee reviews all submitted materials and abstracts in great detail.  The top 3-5 abstracts are invited to submit a copy of the dissertation in full which is read and evaluated by the committee.  The committee will select the winner and runner-up based on the top dissertations submitted. 

  • Award Winner Will Receive 

    • Certificate to be awarded at the NASPA Annual Conference.
    • Complimentary NASPA Annual Conference registration.
    • Monetary award for future research.
    • Presentation of dissertation research in a workshop at the NASPA Conference; and
    • Consideration for publication in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.
  • Formatting Requirements

    Submitted documents for the Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award must follow these formatting requirements to be considered:

    • The abstract must be double-spaced
    • No identifying references, such as college or town names, should appear in the abstract.
    • A brief bibliography, not to exceed 2 pages.
    • The body of the abstract must not exceed 10 pages and should be divided into four sections:
    1. Research rationale and brief literature review;
    2. Statement of the hypothesis/problem;
    3. The methodology employed and rationale for its selection;
    4. Significant findings and relevance to student affairs in particular and post-secondary education in general.
Applications for the 2018 award closed Friday, September 22, 2017.
Apply today

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