Mertes Award for Excellence in Community College Research

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

The purpose of the Mertes Award is to recognize outstanding research—either a dissertation or topic-specific project benefitting community colleges, and to encourage continued research on substantive issues facing higher education and/or community colleges.
The recipient(s) of the award 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).

Authors of research completed within the past two years are eligible, and nominations may be made by either colleagues of the author, organizations or candidates may self-nominate for the award. Submissions should include an abstract/executive summary of the research of no more than 20 pages. The committee may request additional information if needed.

The winner will receive a $500 cash award from the Mertes Award Fund, have their abstract published online by ACCCA and their name will be engraved on a perpetual plaque kept at the ACCCA headquarters in Sacramento and displayed annually at the ACCCA Conference.

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 policy implications or the potential to shape the future of community colleges.  The research must seek to promote and keep community colleges on the cutting edge of higher education in this country and the world.
  • 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:

  • 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?

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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