Friday, August 12, 2005

Purpose of Blog

The purpose of this Blog, for those who are new, is to facilitate communication among those of us interested in seeing ADP South succeed. The post below contains my thoughts on the awards for this Fall's conference, and although it is written in a way that makes it sounds like that everything is written in stone, such is certainly not the case. It is intended to spur conversation and suggestions for improvement. Thanks for joining.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Planning the Awards

The following are my thoughts thus far on the ADP South Awards for this Fall's Conference. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. One thing we need for sure are sponsors for the awards, that is, companies, organizations, etc. that will give money to have their name attached to the award. I would especially like to hear from people on suggestions for such donors.

Purpose of Awards

Awards are designed to recognize individual, team or institutional leadership. Whether people help others in order to get public acclaim for having done so or not, is a philosophical question we will not presume to answer. We know motivations vary. However, actions do not occur in a vacuum. E.L. Thorndike’s Law of Effect states that behavior rewarded tends to be repeated.

Higher education is replete with evaluation. Students receive grades or other forms of feedback that range from positive reinforcement (a grade of A) to punishment (failing a class due to cheating or underperformance on assignments), faculty are evaluated on their contributions and either promoted or tenured or not, staff receive annual performance reviews which can mean more money or being stuck near the same level of pay for years, or keeping their job or being asked to leave. The assumption underlying such systems is that excellence is tied to incentives. Steve Kerr (management theorist) points out that rewarding A while hoping for B is foolish. That is, by placing great emphasis on class grades, for example, we may be rewarding students studying just to do well on exams as opposed to studying to learn the material for their lives.

Our awards are designed to provide a type of incentive system to positively reinforce behavior we would like to see become more prevalent on our campuses. The awards will be given at the individual, team or class and institutional levels. Individual awards promote individual initiative among campus members, team or class awards promote joint initiative among campus members and institutional awards promote right action among member campuses.

Awards can provide formal appreciation for contributions that are currently going unrecognized. Many institutions are investing a good deal of money in ADP efforts and Chief Academic Officers will need to be able to demonstrate the value of such an investment. Awards help in this regard.

Awards process

Here is how the award process will work. Each campus’s ADP representative or committee will nominate activities they believe deserve recognition at the annual ADP-South Conference. For the first year, the nominated activity can have occurred any time since the campus ADP initiative began. Representatives of activities nominated for an award are expected to attend the conference where they will make a presentation or display a showcase that gives the details of the awarded activity. Campuses can nominate as many activities as they would like, bearing in mind that it will be the campus’s responsibility to pay the registration fee for all delegates who attend the ADP – South conference. This year’s nominations should be sent to ADP – South by October 15, 2005. The nomination should be accompanied by a narrative that indicates who, what, when, how and to what effect the nominated initiative was carried out.

Awards will be given in the categories of service learning-, individual or team- and institutional-initiatives. Service learning initiatives will involve projects for which class credit was given (curricular). Individual or team initiatives will involve projects that were non-curricular, projects carried out by any combination of university students, faculty or staff. Institutional initiatives will be major ADP-related efforts funded or otherwise supported by the institution.

At the conference a panel of judges (needs to be determined) will be convened to determine winners in each category. Three awards will be given in each category. Judges will consider:

Podium skills

Presentation package

Informational value on inputs, throughputs and outcomes



Principle team members were fully engaged

Evidence of having worked through conflicts around obstacles

Interaction with other groups/organizations/individuals

Involved groups, organizations and individuals did their part

Those who worked together persisted through obstacles


Clear mission for the project

Mission translated into a workable plan of action



Carried out phases of the project in timely fashion

Anticipated and maximized use of human and other resources


Service benefit

Who benefited from the project’s outcome and how

Special recognition to projects whose benefit outcome would have been difficult to accomplish without this initiative

Learning benefit

How to manage projects


Plaques and ADP-South scholarship awards will be given to the winning initiatives. (Award amounts need to be determined.) This means all nominated projects will be honored, but only a few will receive special recognition.