In 1996, the American Historical Association adopted a statement on equity that acknowledges its commitment “to diversity in the historical profession” and called on “institutions to recruit aggressively and hire members from groups that have been historically discriminated against.” For example, according to figures available from the US Census and the AHA, the percentage of the current US population that is African American is slightly more than 13 percent; yet African Americans make up only 5 percent of the history faculty in the nation. Latinos, who constitute almost 14.4 percent of the current US population, make up less than 3 percent of the history faculty. The percentage of Asian American and Native Americans within the history profession more closely approximate their proportions in the total US population, but there still remains a need to increase their presence across the academy as well. It is imperative that the historical profession takes seriously its duty to remain open and available to its changing constituencies.
To further this goal, the AHA has established two equity awards to be given annually: one for individuals and another for academic units. The award can be conferred for new initiatives or for sustained efforts. These equity awards are meant to recognize and publicize individuals and institutions that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historical professions. While the awards are honorary and have no monetary component, winners will receive a certificate of recognition that specially honors their efforts to secure and sustain diversity in the discipline.
The Committee of Minority Historians seeks to bestow the Equity Award upon individuals or institutions who have demonstrated an exceptional record in the recruitment and retention of students and new faculty from racial and ethnic groups under-represented within the historical professions. Deserving nominees will have records that include such achievements as mentoring, program building, fundraising initiatives, pursuing civic engagement, and enhancing department and campus culture to promote a supportive environment. Nomination letters should emphasize specific outcomes.
Eligible for the institutional award are such academic units as, for example, departments of history, public history programs, and interdisciplinary programs and research institutes. Such units may have taken advantage of university and community resources to diversify their students and faculty or to provide professional experience through teaching, research, post doctoral, or internship programs.
Individuals or institutions can nominate themselves or be nominated. The AHA’s Committee on Minority Historians will serve as the award committee that will review the nominations to make the awards.
Nominations (or self nominations) should include the following:
- An award nomination form
- A cover letter of not more than 1,000 words, describing the new initiative or sustained effort. Cover letters for the institutional award must specify the academic unit being nominated and include the name and address of an individual in the academic unit that can be contacted.
- A minimum of three letters supporting the nomination. These letters can be from students, former students, parents, colleagues, and others. There is no set proportion or formula on the “right” mix of letters. Individuals organizing nominations should solicit a cross selection as appropriate to address the essential elements noted above. Maximum length of letters is 500 words.
The AHA has partnered with Interfolio to manage our nomination process. Submitting a nomination package through Interfolio is FREE for nominators. When submitting a nomination, if you don't already have an account with Interfolio, you will be asked to set up an account and create a password, but you will NOT be charged any fee to create the account. When available, nomination instructions are available by clicking on the box to the left.
Deadline and Notification
Nominations must be submitted through Interfolio by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Mailed, e-mailed, or faxed applications will not be accepted. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2016 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact Amanda Moniz, program coordinator and staff liaison for the Committee on Minority Historians.
2015 Equity Awards
Individual Award: Víctor Macías-González, Univ. of Wisconsin-La Crosse
The Committee on Minority Historians is very pleased to confer the 2015 Equity Award on Víctor Macías-González, associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. As numerous letters from colleagues and former students make clear, Professor Macías-González has been tireless in his efforts to mentor underrepresented students and open the historical profession, and academia in general, to peoples of all backgrounds. A prominent scholar of Latino/a history, his many achievements include directing the Institute for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, and creating the Eagle Mentoring Program.
Institutional Award: Jacqueline Looney, senior associate dean for graduate programs and associate vice provost for academic diversity, Duke University Graduate School
Over the past 25 years, primarily under the leadership of Jacqueline Looney, Duke University Graduate School has succeeded in recruiting and retaining students from historically underrepresented minority groups, more than tripling the percentage of enrolled graduate students of color. In the history department this has resulted in more than 23 black PhD recipients since 1998, most of whom are now tenured at colleges and universities across the globe.