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Awards & FellowshipsRoy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards

The Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards are presented annually to ASTC members and/or their employees in recognition of extraordinary accomplishments in Visitor Experience, Business Practice, and Leadership in the Field that not only enhance the performance of their own institutions but also significantly advance the mission of science-technology centers and museums.

About Roy L. Shafer


Roy's science center career began in the 1960s, when he first volunteered at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. He soon became an important figure at the museum, founding its camp-in program and eventually serving for 13 years as COSI's president and CEO. Roy was a member of the ASTC Board of Directors for 11 years, including two years as president. After he started his own consulting firm, the Roy L. Shafer Company, he became ASTC's organizational coach, helping the association to develop its mission, strategic plan, and core values and objectives. ASTC honored him in 1999 with the ASTC Fellow Award for Outstanding Contribution. After his death, the ASTC Board of Directors named the Leading Edge Awards for Roy in tribute to his progressive thinking, dynamic leadership, and devotion to our profession.

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Eligibility: ASTC members in good standing (except the home institution of a Leading Edge Awards jury member) may submit a nomination for itself or one of its employees, or for another institution or individual. Collaborations between institutions are also eligible. Each nominating institution is limited to one application per category per year. Nomination forms must be signed by the institution's Chief Executive Officer, Board Chairperson, or equivalent.

Nominations from the home institution of a Leading Edge Awards jury member will not be considered. Institutions represented on the jury include At-Bristol; The Children's Museum (Connecticut); EdVenture Children's Museum; Experimentarium; Exploration Place (Kansas); Great Lakes Science Center; Kirby Science Discovery Center; Maryland Science Center; The Mind Museum; ROTO; and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Selection: A ten-member jury of professionals knowledgeable about the science center field, representing a broad spectrum of ASTC's worldwide membership, will review eligible nominations and select awardees. All decisions of the jury are final, including the decision not to choose an award recipient in a given category.

Awards Ceremony: The 2014 Leading Edge Awards will be presented during the ASTC Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A. Each award will consist of a jade glass "Edgie" and a paid registration to the 2014 ASTC Annual Conference. Awardees will receive recognition in Dimensions magazine, on the ASTC web site, and in a widely distributed press release.

Selection Criteria and Nomination Forms:

Leading Edge for Visitor Experience
Leading Edge for Business Practice
Leading Edge for Leadership in the Field

Leading Edge Brochure and Nomination Forms (15 pages)
(118 KB) | Need help?


Nomination Forms in Rich Text Format (15 pages)
(1513 KB)


How to Enter:
A) Complete the appropriate nomination form. The jury encourages e-mail submissions in Word or Adobe Acrobat formats. Ten copies of parts A and B are required when submitting by post.

B) Include two to three letters of support (one page each) from individuals with first-hand knowledge of the nominee's work.

For Visitor Experience, Business Practice, and chief executive Leadership nominations, please ensure that letters of support come from independent sources. Letters of support from staff, Board members, or contractors involved in the nominated project are not appropriate.

For the non-chief executive Leadership Award, one letter from the chief executive leader of the institution is required. Additional letters of support should come from independent sources.

Letters of support must address the following:

For Leading Edge for Visitor Experience or Business Practice
1. Explain your knowledge of and affiliation with the visitor experience or business practice.

2. Describe why the visitor experience or business practice represents a unique application of new ideas and best practices, demonstrating creativity and extraordinary performance.

3. List the most significant benefits of the visitor experience or business practice, as you see them.

For Leading Edge for Exceptional Leadership in the Field
1. Explain your relationship to the nominee and describe his/her exemplary accomplishment during the past three years that is the basis of your nomination.

2. Describe why you think this accomplishment deserves recognition.

3. List the most significant benefits of the nominee's accomplishment, as you see them.

C) Submit one or two supporting items, including but not limited to PowerPoint presentations, videos, articles, or photographs (professional quality not required). Review of supporting materials is at the discretion of the jury. If these materials cannot be submitted electronically, mail one set to ASTC to be made available at the jury deliberation session.

Deadline: Nominations and supporting materials must be received at the ASTC office no later than 5 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2014.

E-mail address: awards@astc.org

Postal address:
Leading Edge Awards
Association of Science-Technology Centers
818 Connecticut Avenue NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
U.S.A.

Contact: For information, contact Diane Frendak, (202) 783-7200 x112


Leading Edge for Visitor Experience
(Two categories: Large Institution and Small Institution)

Selection Criteria: The visitor experience shall have been implemented by or for an ASTC science center or museum since January 2011. Large institutions are those with operating expenses at or exceeding US $3 million for the most recent fiscal year; small institutions have annual operating expenses of less than US $3 million. Each nomination will be judged according to
  • its unique application of new ideas and promising practices, demonstrating creativity and extraordinary performance;
  • its role in furthering the institution's mission by achieving a tangible impact or lasting effect on visitor experience—including, but not limited to, exhibitions, education programs, technology applications, theater and film programming, visitor services, research and evaluation;
  • its embodiment of the ASTC values of collaboration, joy of experiential learning, equity and diversity, and forward-looking leadership; and
  • its potential to serve as a model of creative thinking and best practices for the field as a whole.

Leading Edge for Business Practice
(Two categories: Large Institution and Small Institution)

Selection Criteria: The business practice shall have been implemented by or for an ASTC science center or museum since January 2011. Large institutions are those with operating expenses at or exceeding US $3 million for the most recent fiscal year; small institutions have annual operating expenses of less than US $3 million. Nominations will be assessed against these criteria.  Please explain how the business practice:
  • has achieved a tangible impact or lasting effect on the institution’s business efficiency and effectiveness—including, but not limited to, revenue generation, marketing, public relations, fundraising, human resources, or community collaborations;
  • applies and demonstrates new ideas and best practices for the field as a whole; and,
  • embodies the ASTC values such as collaboration, forward-looking leadership, equity and diversity, creativity, and the joy of experiential learning.

Leading Edge for Exceptional Leadership in the Field
(Two categories: one to recognize those who serve in the chief executive leadership role of their institution (CEOs/Presidents/Executive Directors) and one for staff not serving in that role.)

Selection Criteria: The leadership award recognizes exemplary accomplishment since January 2011. Nominations will be judged according to the individual's degree of success at
    1. applying new ideas and/or enhancing best practices;
    2. embodying the ASTC values of collaboration, joy of experiential learning, equity and diversity, and forward-looking leadership;
    3. demonstrating the potential to inspire and nurture creative thinking;
  • having a tangible and lasting impact on the organization's mission;
  • building relationships for his or her institution within the community; and
  • developing the current talents/capabilities and nurturing the future capacity of staff.

    Each nomination must address the required criteria (#1, #2, and #3), while the bullets are optional if they help make your case.
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