The College of Liberal Arts Civitas Awards

The College of Liberal Arts Civitas Awards recognize individuals and organizations who are strong partners of the CLA, as well as individuals and organizations who make a difference in the community. Through the Civitas Awards, we honor community partners and others who are making a difference in ways that align with CLA’s purpose:

The purpose of the College of Liberal Arts is to advance a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and engaged society through its three-fold mission: to create new knowledge and artistic expression and develop the next generation of scholars; to educate graduate and undergraduate students and prepare them for a productive life of intellectual curiosity, cultural appreciation, and continuous learning; and to engage with our community to achieve the land-grant promise of a university in service to the community.

Current University of Minnesota employees and students are not eligible to be nominated for any of these awards.

Be sure to review the nomination criteria for each award before submitting a nomination

For questions, contact Director of Public Engagement Amelious Whyte at amelious@umn.edu

The nomination process for each award requires a written essay. Nominations are currently being accepted for the Dean's Liberal Arts Champion, the Community Catalyst Award, the Community Partner Award, and the Backpack Communications Award.

What is the timeline?

A call for nominations will be sent out during fall semester. 

Honorees will be informed in early March of their being nominated and selected for the award. Their acceptance of the award is then confirmed. After all award honorees are confirmed, nominators are informed of their candidates’ status. 

A recognition event honoring honorees will take place in June. The award will also be publicized through numerous CLA communications channels. CLA does not cover travel expenses for honorees to collect their awards.

How are the award-winners chosen?

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni will collaborate to select honorees. 


Award Descriptions & Nomination Processes

Dean's Liberal Arts Champion

The Dean’s Liberal Arts Champion is a person who is a strong and passionate advocate for the value of the liberal arts. This annual award will be given to a person who, through their work, words, or deeds, explicitly demonstrates the value of the liberal arts to society. 

Only CLA alumni, faculty, students, and staff may nominate people for this award.

Dean's Liberal Arts Champion Nomination Process

Explain in 500 words or fewer why your nominee deserves this award. Include specific examples that demonstrate how this individual advocates for the value of the liberal arts through their work, words, or deeds.  

You may supplement your nomination with one letter of support from another individual or group and up to three links to supporting articles, videos, or other online materials. However, the quality of your nomination will be the primary factor used to determine the winner. 

Submit a nomination for this award (closed)

Other Civitas Awards

Only CLA faculty, staff, and students may nominate people or organizations for these Civitas awards. Nominators ideally should be personally engaged with the community member or organization they are nominating, rather than being merely familiar with their work with CLA. 

Community Catalyst Award Description & Nomination Process

Community Catalyst Award

Civitas Community Catalysts are individual community members and/or organizations engaged with CLA (i.e., with the College as a whole, with any of our departments, centers or advisory boards, our faculty, staff, students, etc.) in the past year (since at least September 2018) who are catalysts for change within the community, in a manner that is aligned with the College’s purpose. 

Nominees for these awards must be engaged with CLA in some way. Examples of those who are engaged with CLA could include employer partners, funders or donors, a community organization engaged with faculty through service-learning or public engagement, someone who volunteers for a CLA sponsored event, etc.

Nomination Process

Please explain in 500 words or fewer how the individual or organization nominated is a catalyst for change in the community in a way that is aligned with CLA’s purpose, which is as follows: 

The purpose of the College of Liberal Arts is to advance a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and engaged society through its three-fold mission: 

  • to create new knowledge and artistic expression and develop the next generation of scholars; 
  • to educate graduate and undergraduate students and prepare them for a productive life of intellectual curiosity, cultural appreciation, and continuous learning; and 
  • to engage with our community to achieve the land-grant promise of a university in service to the community.   

Your response should also describe how the nominee’s actions have led or will lead to meaningful change beyond the organization they are primarily affiliated with (if the nominee is an individual) or beyond the organization nominated (if the nominee is an organization), and why you believe they deserve this award. Also, be sure to clearly state how the nominee is engaged with CLA. Be as specific as possible.You may supplement your nomination with one letter of support from another individual or group and up to three links to supporting articles, videos, or other online materials. However, the quality of your nomination will be the primary factor used to determine the winner. 

Submit a nomination for this award (closed)
Community Partner Award Description & Nomination Process

Community Partner Award

Civitas Community Partners are individual community members and/or organizations engaged with CLA (i.e., with the College as a whole, with any of our departments, centers or advisory boards, our faculty, staff, students, etc.) in the past year (since at least September 2018) for the betterment of society in a manner that is aligned with CLA’s purpose, and demonstrates what it means to be a good partner. 

Nominees for these awards must be engaged with CLA in some way. Examples of those who are engaged with CLA could include employer partners, funders or donors, a community organization engaged with faculty through service-learning or public engagement, someone who volunteers for a CLA sponsored event, etc.

Nomination Process

Explain in 300 words or fewer how the individual or organization nominated has engaged with CLA (i.e., with the College as a whole, with any of our departments, centers or advisory boards, our faculty, staff, students, etc.) for the betterment of society in a manner that is aligned with CLA’s purpose, which is as follows: 

The purpose of the College of Liberal Arts is to advance a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and engaged society through its three-fold mission 

  • to create new knowledge and artistic expression and develop the next generation of scholars; 
  • to educate graduate and undergraduate students and prepare them for a productive life of intellectual curiosity, cultural appreciation, and continuous learning 
  • to engage with our community to achieve the land grant promise of a university in service to the community.   

Explain in 300 words or fewer how the nominee demonstrates what it means to be a good partner through their engagement with CLA, including how the nominee positively enhanced their collaboration with CLA. Be as specific as possible. 

You may supplement your nomination with one letter of support from another individual or group and up to three links to supporting articles, videos, or other online materials. However, the quality of your nomination will be the primary factor used to determine the winner. 

Submit a nomination for this award (closed)
Backpack Communications Award Description & Nomination Process

Backpack Communications Award

The award is given to a nonprofit organization that has been engaged with CLA (i.e., with the College as a whole, with any of the departments, centers or advisory boards, our faculty, staff, students, etc.) in the past year (at least since September 2018) and whose community work, aligning with CLA’s purpose, would be enhanced by assistance from Backpack: a student-run communications agency made up of students from a diverse mix of majors and minors, using their unique skills to collaborate with brands and organizations to provide impactful and people-centered communication.

Nominees for these awards must be engaged with CLA in some way. Examples of those who are engaged with CLA could include employer partners, funders or donors, a community organization engaged with faculty through service-learning or public engagement, someone who volunteers for a CLA sponsored event, etc.

Nomination Process

1) Explain in 300 words or fewer why you are nominating the organization and how the organization has engaged with CLA (i.e., with the College, with any departments, centers/advisory boards, faculty, staff, students, etc.) for the betterment of society in a manner that is aligned with CLA’s purpose, which is as follows: 

The purpose of the College of Liberal Arts is to advance a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and engaged society through its three-fold mission: 

  • to create new knowledge and artistic expression and develop the next generation of scholars
  • to educate and prepare graduate and undergraduate students for a productive life of intellectual curiosity, cultural appreciation, and continuous learning 
  • to engage with our community to achieve the land-grant promise of a university in service to the community.   

2) Submit a Statement of Need from the organization, between 200-400 words, that articulates how its work/impact on the community could be enhanced if they received pro bono assistance from Backpack.

Try to address the following in the statement: 

  • Where do you most need Backpack’s services (i.e., brand development, photography, newsletters and content, social media planning)?
  • How would these services help your organization carry out our your mission and enhance how you serve the community? 
Submit a nomination for this award (closed)
Employer Partner Award Description & Nomination Process

Employer Partner Award

This award is given to an organization and/or individual who is actively engaged with CLA Career Services in efforts to recruit and contribute to the career management competency of CLA students. This is demonstrated through consistent engagement, openness to innovation, and a spirit of collaboration in support of CLA students. Evaluation criteria include the organization’s recruitment efforts, employee volunteer engagement, and demonstrated implementation of innovations that have supported the career development of CLA students and the overall success of CLA Career Services.

Nomination Process

The award winner is chosen by CLA Career Services staff.