APS Fellowship Executive & Selection Committee Guidelines

Unit Executive Committee Responsibilities

Each unit executive committee is responsible for canvassing for nominations, promoting fellowship in the unit, and forming the selection committee.

Canvassing and Promotion

At the end of the calendar year, APS staff will distribute a report of the carryover nominations that are still active and eligible for each unit’s honors. Executive committee members should review the existing nomination pool, canvass for a diverse pool of nominees, and send promotional messages via the unit’s communication channels. Unit officers can request a current listing of unit members with fellowship status by emailing Holly Croft, Unit Engagement Coordinator, at croft@aps.org.

If officers would like to submit a nomination themselves, please reference the conflict of interest definition and examples below to prevent conflicts of interest.

Forming Selection Committees

Selection committees are formed by the related APS unit. The committee composition varies by unit and may be defined in the unit’s bylaws. In January, staff will ask each unit’s chair and secretary/treasurer to provide the selection committee. If committee selections are dependent on elections and newly filled positions, continuing committee members should be confirmed as soon as possible to begin their review of carryover nominations.

Guidelines for Promoting Equity

The APS Committees on the Status of Women in Physics and on Minorities have crafted guidelines to improve the effectiveness of award, prize and fellowship committees in finding the most qualified person from a diverse, representative pool of candidates.

Guidelines for Promoting Equity in Awarding APS Prizes, Awards & Fellowships (2014)

Selection Committee Responsibilities

Selection committees are responsible for reviewing nominations and selecting fellows.

The Chair’s Role

The selection committee chair shall be responsible for insuring the review and selection process is completed on time and in accordance with APS guidelines. The chair shall facilitate and document the review and selection process, but, if possible, should not score or vote on nominees unless needed as a tiebreaker. The chair may take part in discussion of the nominees, but should be mindful of their primary role of facilitator.

Scheduling Selection Committee Calls

APS recommends the selection committee has at least one conference call to discuss nominees and scoring. APS Fellowship staff can set up Zoom meetings and provide connection information with advance notice by emailing fellowship@aps.org.

If requested, APS staff can host an optional training session for selection committee members to review how to navigate SM Apply and answer any questions regarding procedures.


The chair of the selection committee shall complete the chair report by providing conflict of interest disclosure and the committee’s selection(s). Some unit bylaws require that the chair report first be shared with the unit executive committee before submission to APS. Once received by APS, staff will submit the reports to the APS Council of Representatives for review and approval.

Selection Timeline

Suggested Timeline

December 1 - Nominations open.

January - Unit executive committee reviews carryover nominees (if applicable) and begins canvassing and promotion.

2 Weeks before Nomination Deadline - Selection Committee Due. The unit executive committee has formed the selection committee and reported the names to APS Fellowship staff.

June 1 - Nomination Deadline. After the nomination deadline, selection committees begin scoring in SM Apply.

June-July - Selection committees complete scoring and discuss nominees on conference call. Fellows are selected.

August 1 - Chair report due.

Using SM Apply to Score

Optional - Suggested Scoring Procedure

The optional suggested scoring procedure is intended to calibrate and focus the discussion of nominees, not replace or automate it. This is the process successfully used each year by the APS Medal and Prize Committee and the Apker Award Selection Committee. It is not mandatory if your unit already has a system in place that works well.

After the nomination deadline passes, committee members will be prompted to review nominations on SM Apply.

Instructions for Scoring in SM Apply

  1. Log in to SM Apply with your APS website username and password.
  2. Select the role “Reviewer”.
  3. Review and rate each nomination from 1 (least recommended) to 5 (most recommended) then select “Mark as Complete”.

After the scoring deadline, the chair will review the committee’s scores and facilitate a discussion of the candidates.

The chair may choose to assign each committee member as primary reviewer of a subset of nominations. The primary reviewer should be prepared to briefly summarize the nomination on the committee selection call before discussion. Primary reviewer assignments may be based loosely on area of physics, but not necessarily.

If a clear consensus is not reached on the selection call after discussion of the scoring, voice voting or ranking candidates on the call may help the committee reach a decision.

Conflicts of Interest

The following connections between selection committee members and nominees are conflicts of interest:

  • Residing at the same institution within the past four years,
  • Collaborations (co-authors, post-docs, etc.) published within the past four years,
  • Financial via direct chain of command and/or participation in tenure, promotion, salary or forms of support by either party,
  • Member of the same center or sharing any funding contract,
  • Relationship due to immediate blood relation, current or prior marriage or civil union,
  • Current or prior students, advisees, and advisors,
  • Nominator or participant in the nomination package.

Before scoring nominations, committee members should review the list of nominees and disclose to the committee chair any potential conflicts of interest. The chair is responsible for documenting conflicts of interest in the chair report.

If the chair has a conflict, they should disclose it to the committee. A new chair may need to be identified, depending on the level of conflict. The committee minus the chair will vote to determine if the chair must be replaced due to conflict, or if recusal is sufficient.

Committee members and chairs with conflicts must recuse themselves from scoring and discussion of the person with whom they have a conflict.

Confidentiality and Information Security

The committee's deliberations are confidential. The recommended recipients are not official until approved by the APS Council of Representatives, and the recipient has been notified. Please do not disclose the recipients until APS has made a public announcement.

If you have any questions about the review process, please contact Jacob Robertson, Honors Program Manager, at robertson@aps.org.

Nominees and award and office holders are expected to meet standards of professional conduct and integrity as described in the APS Ethics Guidelines. Violations of these standards may disqualify people from consideration or lead to revocation of honors or removal from office.