Mertes Award for Excellence in Community College Research

Each year, ACCCA honors the author(s) of a substantial research project or dissertation that significantly contributes to our understanding of the effectiveness of community colleges and higher education.  

More specifically, recipients of the award are recognized for their outstanding research—either a dissertation or topic-specific project--that benefits community colleges.  ACCCA created this award to honor their work, and to encourage continued research on substantive issues facing higher education and/or community colleges.

Award recipient(s) are selected by a review committee of ACCCA Board representatives along with representatives of the Management Development Commission (MDC) and the Research and Planning Group (RP Group).

Those eligible include the authors of research completed within the past two years and nominations may be made by the author, an organization sponsoring the research or the research team. Submissions should include an abstract (2 pages max), and an Executive Summary of the research (20 pages max). The committee may request additional information if needed.

Recipients of each award will receive a $500 honorarium cash from the David Mertes Research Award Fund, and have their abstract published online by ACCCA.

Submission Criteria:

  • Submission of an abstract (1 to 2 pages) and an executive summary (not to exceed 20 pages) describing the research.  It is not necessary to submit the entire research document.
  • The research must have been completed within the prior two years.
  • The research must address specific issues of concern to California community colleges that have operational and/or policy implications that have the potential to shape the future of community colleges in California.  
  • The author(s) must provide written permission for ACCCA to edit and publish a summary of the research (if not already available to ACCCA members via other professional publications.)

Selection Criteria:

Members of the Selection Committee will consider the following questions:

  • Is the research topic of current interest?  Does it contribute to and further higher education research about California community colleges?
  • Is the research of superior quality in its methodology, its completeness and clarity of style?  Is the methodology rigorous, objective, and valid?  Does the research thoroughly address and answer the question(s) posed?
  • Do the research findings have action and policy implications at the institutional, community, state, regional and/or national level(s)?
  • Does the research add to the reader’s understanding of the California community colleges?

To submit a nomination, click the link below to complete the form and upload written evidence of these qualities along with any additional letters of support from their peers.  

The deadline to submit for the 2022 Award is January 7, 2022.  At that time, all materials received will be turned over to the Selection Committee for their review.  The recipient(s) will be announced in January, and the award will be presented at the Annual ACCCA Conference, February 23-25, 2022 in Monterey.

Click here to submit a nomination

Click here to see past award winners.

2017 Award-Winning Project

2015 Award-Winning Project

2014 Award-Winning Project

2014 Mertes Nominees

2011 Award-Winning Project

2009 Award-Winning Projects


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