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 will close Friday, September 22, 2017.

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Foundation Awards


Award Information

Deadline: Sep. 22, 2017

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Current Recipients

  • Nizhoni Chow-Garcia
    Associate Director of Inclusive Excellence - California State University, Monterey Bay


    View All Current Recipients

Past Recipients

  • 2016 | Ryan A. Miller

    Director of Inclusion and Equity - The University of Texas at Austin