This report has been prepared to help the membership understand the role of the Society's Medals and Awards Committee. All activities and procedures described herein conform with the Committee's Rules, as approved by the Executive Council.
A description of the Society's awards can be found by clicking here. The awards include the Gold Medal, the R. Bruce Lindsay Award, the Technical Area Awards (including the Wallace Clement Sabine Medal, the Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal, the Trent-Crede Medal, the von Békésy Medal, the Silver Medal and the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal), the Distinguished Service Citation, and Honorary Fellowship. The Medals and Awards Committee also recommends American or Canadian nominees for the A. B. Wood Medal of the Institute of Acoustics (United Kingdom) in odd-numbered years, and may occasionally recommend the preparation of nominations for other non-ASA awards such as the President's National Medal of Science. The Committee is responsible for selecting candidates for all these awards, and for submitting to the Executive Council a final list of up to three nominees with indicated rank order. The Executive Council makes all final decisions concerning award recipients. The Committee works cooperatively with the Technical Committees to fulfill its responsibilities.
Nominating procedures vary for different awards. For some (Gold Medal, R. Bruce Lindsay Award, and A. B. Wood Medal), the Committee has sole responsibility for generating lists of candidates. Nominees for Technical Area Awards, in contrast, are proposed by the pertinent Technical Committees (many of which have appointed subcommittees to assume responsibility for this task). At least two Technical Committees must propose nominees for a multiple-area silver medal, the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal, for achievements overlapping more than one Technical Committee area. For the Distinguished Service Citation and Honorary Fellowship, any Member or Fellow of the Society may nominate candidates on forms available from the ASA Melville Office.
The nominating process for all awards involves compilation of a dossier for each candidate, using the required forms. Necessary components of each dossier include; letter of nomination, at least two seconding letters, complete vitae of the nominee following a prescribed outline, and the proposed Citation for the award. To the extent possible, the dossier should be completed without the nominee's awareness of the process. There are deadlines for submitting completed dossiers. The Committee Chair, Committee members, and the Executive Director can also provide information about submission deadlines; also, see Sec. 16.13 of the Rules of the Society.
Dossiers must be current with five years of the date of an ward for which a nominee is being considered. If someone who has been proposed for an award does not receive it within five years, a revised vitae and a new nominating letter may be submitted to continue the person as a candidate for the award; otherwise the status of the dossier changes to inactive and the person's name does not reappear on ballots.
Guidelines for preparing nominating letters, seconding letters, and vitae are available from the ASA Melville Office. It is important that the guidelines be followed, since dossiers are the bases upon which the Committee conducts its voting. If all dossiers are arranged similarly and address similar topics, fair and equal treatment of all candidates is facilitated. It is the responsibility of the Committee member representing the relevant technical field to check dossiers to be certain they comply with these guidelines. Letters are expected to inform the reader of the nominee's contributions to the field acoustics what some have termed his/her "legacy" to the field and should be understandable to all Committee members (not only to those in related technical fields).
The committee consists of a chair and one representative from each Technical Committee. Committee members have two important roles. They are responsible for representing their own fields in the sense of suggesting candidates for awards, and for assisting Technical Committee subcommittees in preparing dossiers for Technical Area Awards. When voting, however, they are charged with studying all dossiers and voting for the best candidates regardless of the technical field involved.
Voting utilizes a ranking procedure. The Committee's ranking of the candidates is reported to the Executive Council, which may bestow an award on the candidate who received top ranking by the Committee or on another candidate; although the latter does not happen frequently, it has occurred.
Committee members must be Fellows and the Society and usually serve three-year terms. This is an activity that may bring much personal satisfaction when one sees a well-deserving candidate become an award recipient. The assignment, however, carriers considerable responsibility. Members should expect to attend both Spring and Fall ASA meetings, to meet with the subcommittee of their own particular Technical Committee, and to spend a significant amount of time related to nomination and dossier preparation. When Committee members find that materials submitted for a dossier are not adequate or appropriate, they assist in the process of acquiring revised letters or vitae.
The Chair is appointed for a renewable one-year term and, prior to that, must have served as a Committee member and preferably have served on the Executive Council. The Chair's major responsibilities are coordinating the Committee's activities, making certain that all work gets completed on time and in good order, communicating with the ASA Melville-Office which provides support to the Committee's work, and reporting the Committee's recommendations to the Executive Council. The Chair also arranges for the timely preparation of encomia, which are printed in the program of the meeting at which awards will be presented, and for insuring that the encomia are well and appropriately written.
As the Society's membership has grown, the activities of the Medals and Awards Committee have become more formalized. The Chair and Committee members welcome suggestions from Society members concerning ways in which this process may be improved even further.
[Based on an article by Lois L. Elliott published in J. Acoustic. Soc. Am. 79, 2096 (1986), with changes to account for new procedures effective in 2004.]
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