Awards Updates

Updated December 2021—Based on input and feedback from current and prior EC members, awards subcommittee chairs, and members of the SIGCHI community, we are instituting the following changes to the SIGCHI Awards for 2021-2022. We are committed to preserving the integrity and rigor of the awards review process, while ensuring openness, transparency, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Awards Subcommittees: Research and Practice

Because researchers’ contributions are best recognized by researchers and practitioners’ contributions are best recognized by practitioners, the Research and Practice Subcommittees are being split into two. Both Research and Practice Subcommittees will come together as follows to select SIGCHI Academy members:

  • Each subcommittee will have access to the entire pool of SIGCHI Academy nominations.
  • Each subcommittee will shortlist independently four nominations from the pool.
  • The chair from each subcommittee plus two randomly selected members from their subcommittee will form an equal working group of three Research and three Practice representatives.
  • The Research and Practice chairs will present the four SIGCHI Academy nominations each subcommittee shortlisted to the working group.
  • The working group will decide on the final eight SIGCHI Academy awardees considering merit, diversity, and research and practice representation.

Open Calls: Process

We need a fair and sustainable process for ensuring that the awards committee is equipped to review awards nominations each year, with members contributing experience, commitment, expertise, availability, and representation. 

  • Every year in September, the AC Awards will check in to confirm with the Awards Committee that members are available to serve for the coming awards cycle. 
  • Once the number of vacant spots is determined, there will be an open call for these roles, following this policy guidance.
  • The criteria will be spelled out in the open call.
  • Chair selection will be done by a subcommittee of EC members, with the prior chair as an ex officio member. Member selection will be done by the same subcommittee, with the former chair replaced by the current/new chair. 
  • For this year’s call (in 2022), the subcommittee will include Josh Andres, Susan Dray, Andrew Kun, Matt Jones and Helena Mentis . 
  • The open call subcommittee will agree on an interview protocol, interview candidates, discuss, and recommend names to the EC for approval. 
  • Candidates will be looked up in the ACM Violations DB post-interview before they are invited to serve. 
  • The call must remain open for a minimum of two weeks. For this year, chairs and members (in that order) will be appointed at the start of February, 2022.

Open Calls: Criteria

To ensure rigor and integrity of the awards process, and to do so in a way that is open, transparent, equitable, and inclusive, we would like our subcommittees to consist of members who show evidence in their applications of the following: 

  1. Recognition within HCI/SIGCHI: Applicants could be previous SIGCHI awardees or SIGCHI Academy members, ACM Distinguished Members/Fellows/Senior Members, recipients of similar awards from other recognized bodies including universities or technology companies, prior EC members, or present other equivalent experience that would be determined on a case-by-case basis by the current EC. 
  2. Experience within the SIGCHI community: This is the number of years that an individual has been a member of SIGCHI. Certain awards subcommittees benefit more from years of experience than others. This is clarified, per subcommittee, below.   
  3. Commitment to the values of the SIGCHI community: Applicants can provide examples of how they have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and/or their own experiences with these, taken broadly. These examples could draw from any aspect of their lives. 
  4. Willingness to put in the required time for the role: Review of awards nominations requires time and care, and applicants are requested to seriously consider whether they will be available for reviewing applications, but also for contributing to strengthening the process with each year. 

Criteria to Serve on the Lifetime Service Award Subcommittee

The Chair and Members of the Lifetime Service Award Committee should have had at least 15 years experience in SIGCHI, including several years of experience in service roles as well.  

Criteria to Serve on the Social Impact Award Subcommittee

The Chair and Members of the Social Impact Award Subcommittee should have had 7-10 years of experience in SIGCHI, and should have demonstrated research/practice accomplishments related to HCI and social impact.

Criteria to Serve on the Research/Practice Awards Subcommittees

The Chair and Members of these two subcommittees should be accomplished researchers/practitioners.

Criteria to Serve on the Outstanding Dissertation Awards Subcommittee

The Chair and Members of the Outstanding Dissertation (English Language) Award Subcommittee should have at least 10 years experience in SIGCHI, and have mentored at least five PhD students.

Every effort will be made to ensure that our subcommittees as a whole are diverse along several dimensions, including gender, location, ethnicity, epistemic commitment, career stage, institution, etc. Aside from the research and practice subcommittees, there will ideally be a balance of members from research and practice backgrounds.

Types of Recognition: Awards and Beyond

  • There is wide agreement that we need new awards, especially for honoring early- and mid-career researchers and practitioners, and HCI educators more generally. New awards will hopefully be introduced for the 2022-2023 cycle, following ACM timelines, after we have worked with all stakeholders to decide which ones these should be and how they should be defined. 
  • We will include information about ACM awards on our website, in case these may be suitable for the nominator/nominee. 
  • Other kinds of recognition will be supported in 2022. These can be submitted through the year. They may be for a variety of contributions to HCI and SIGCHI. Based on the nature of the contribution, the EC will ask for it to be reviewed by an awards committee, or do the review through an EC subcommittee. 

For Nominators: Support and Transparency

The awards process appears opaque and hard to navigate for many members of our community. We need to lower barriers to nomination, especially since awards are few in number and becoming harder to get as the community grows. 

  • Through SIGCHI comms, we will provide evaluation criteria for awards, guidance on putting together successful nominations, links to ACM awards, and reminders to submit.
  • Through Submittable, to nominators, we will provide information about outcomes once awards are announced, and feedback on nominations to the extent possible. 
  • Through virtual interactions with SIGCHI members, we will encourage/support them in navigating the awards process, for nominating others, or requesting nominations for themselves. We will encourage/support them in considering nominations for ACM awards. We will brainstorm about how to encourage and support SIGCHI members in nominating others, and requesting nominations for themselves. 

Updated June 2021—The recent controversy over the 2020 Turing Award winner has highlighted how giving an award to someone who has systematically made a field hostile for others not only prevents the advancement of the field, but also perpetuates the harm itself.

Because of this, the SIGCHI EC has provided the following guidelines for all SIGCHI individual awards including but not limited to: SIGCHI Awards and SIGCHI sponsored conference awards (e.g. Impact Awards). These guidelines do not apply to paper awards that are based on the merit of the work and may unfairly punish the collaborators or student co-authors.

  1. Ensure more voices are heard during deliberation: The best way to do this is to ensure the awards committee represents the breadth of HCI community members. Diverse teams ensures that publicly known harms are brought to light during discussions.
  2. Due diligence phase: The process for considering candidate awardees should include a due diligence phase that answers the question: Has this person publicly engaged in activities which embody hateful, discriminatory action? This must include a formal search in the ACM’s violation database for those who have incurred ACM sanctions precluding them from being able to receive an award. This should also include an Internet search and reading through recent tweets or blog posts to exhaust publicly available information to the extent possible. 
  3. Be comfortable with not honoring someone. No one is entitled to an award. “Dr. XYZ is renowned for their work but did far too much damage to the HCI community to get the award” is a perfectly sensible narrative.
  4. Nobody is perfect: The task is not to find awardees who have never made a mistake, nor ever angered anyone that they have power over, but instead identify those who have abused their power over others. However, racist, xenophobic, sexist, transphobic, homophibic, abelist, or other biased remarks and actions that are publicly stated or have been verified by the ACM (e.g. through it’s harrassment investigation process) can be used in decisions. 

This is not about creating and implementing a perfect process, just one good enough to, for example, not give an award to someone who has perpetuated harm against those in our community. These guidelines are in place until the ACM (SIGCHI’s parent organization) instills policies that override it. 

Thank you to the insightful tweet of Emily M. Bender who provided actionable recommendations. One of the hardest things to do is implement action. So providing real, tangible guidance while taking into account the many real constraints one must work within is always appreciated. And thank you to Nazanin Andalibi for supporting the SIGCHI EC in crafting these guidelines.