Q - When are the awards presented?

A - The NSS awards are presented at the annual NSS Convention awards banquet.


Q - Can I submit a nomination for an award anytime during the year?

A - Yes.  Nominations can be sent to the appropriate award sub-chairman anytime during the year.  Nominations must be received by November 15 to be considered for next year's banquet.


Q - Will I be informed if my candidate is selected or not?

A - No.  Due to confidentiality policies, only the members of the Board of Governors and Awards Committee know the results of the balloting.


Q - When are the award winners selected?

A - The Board of Governors chooses and/or ratifies the winners at the spring Board of Governors meeting.


Q - When is the winner notified?

A - The award recipient is notified by the award sub-chairman right after the spring Board of Governors meeting.  The recipient is asked to keep his or her selection a secret until the banquet.


Q - Why the November 15 deadline when the convention is typically nine months or more later?

A - The deadline is based on the spring Board of Governors meeting.  The deadline is set so that each step of the awards review and selection process is at one-month intervals.  Awards Committee members receive literally over 100 pages of nomination letters and supporting materials to review and that takes time!


Q - Can the Board of Governors select an award winner other than who is recommended by the Awards Committee?

A - Yes.  Though this is rare and not done very often, there have been occasions when the Board of Governors has selected someone else from the nominee list, or someone not even nominated, instead of the Awards Committee's recommendation.  This is usually done when something that may be controversial about the recommended nominee comes up during the closed session.  The exception is Fellows.  The Board of Governors can move the recommended cutoff up or down, but should not select someone who was not nominated.


Q - If I write a nomination letter, can I ask others to write letters too?

A - Yes.  In fact it increases the member's prospects if more than one person submits a letter.  However, the support letter should not be a "me too" type of letter, but should be able to stand on its own merit as a nomination letter.  Also, be careful that you don't tip off the candidate by asking others to write support letters.  Remember, the candidate isn't supposed to know he or she is being nominated!


Q - Can I e-mail nominations?

A - Certainly!  In fact, e-mail is the preferred method of submitting a nomination.


Q - Can a member be nominated for more than one award the same year?

A - Yes.  There have been years when a member has received more than one award.  For example, one year a member received the Lew Bicking Award and was also named a Fellow of the Society.


Q - How long should a nomination letter be?

A - It depends on the award.  For the Outstanding Service, Honorary Member, and Bicking Awards, the nomination letter might need to be several pages long to cover all the accomplishments.  The Science, Conservation, Spelean Arts & Letters, and Certificate of Merit awards may not need to be quite as long--typically no more than three pages.  The Fellow nomination should not be more than two pages as Awards Committee members usually have 75-plus pages of nomination letters and support material to read.


Q - What is considered a good nomination letter?

A - A good nomination letter is one that is filled with "meat" and not "filler."  In other words, the letter should present hard-hitting facts, results and accomplishments that paint a clear picture of what the candidate has done and why he or she is deserving.  Your candidate may be the most deserving, but if your letter is short and weak, they may not get fair consideration.  Remember, the committee member has to vote based on what they read in the nomination letter.  A nomination letter that is only one paragraph of three or four sentences usually doesn't cut it!


Q - Can a member receive the same award more than once?

A - Generally, no.  However, a member can receive the Certificate of Merit, NCA Paper on a Show Cave Award, and James Mitchell Award more than once.