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Presidential Award
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For Exceptional and Innovative Leadership in Adult and Continuing Education


In every field there are those who surpass their peers both in terms of their vision of the future and their ability to mobilize others in shaping that future. Leaders demonstrate a clear vision of what should be and a well-thought out strategy to achieve that vision. Leaders demonstrate their effectiveness by the results they achieve and by influencing outcomes by gaining the willing cooperation of colleagues/contemporaries in pursuing commonly held goals and objectives. This award is presented to a person from education, government, industry or other sectors who demonstrate exceptional and innovative leadership to or in support of adult and continuing education.


  • Nominees for this award should:
    • Demonstrate an ability to envision a new reality and aid in its translation into concrete terms. The ability to conceive, construct, and convert into behavior a new view of organizational reality is demonstrated by mobilizing people around the unknown.
    • Currently be engaged in a leadership role. That is, the individual must have a broad scope of responsibilities and demonstrate breadth and depth of leadership skills in a complex contemporary context.
    • Be exemplary and held in high esteem by their peers (for example, he or she will be the kind of leader who would be cited as the best in the field.)
    • Be engaged beyond the boundaries of a single unit or institution when considering and shaping adult and continuing education. (For example, the nominee should be active and influential in consortia development; statewide or regional adult and continuing education associations or committees; or national/international associations, committees or project teams.)
  • It is not necessary for nominees to be or have been directly employed in the field of adult and continuing education.
  • The nominator (but not the nominee) MUST be a member of AAACE.


  • The 2020 award deadline for nominations was June 5, 2020.  2021 nominations will be open March 1, 2021.
  • Attach the following (cover sheet, statement, bio) in a PDF form to the nomination form:
    • Nominations Cover Sheet that includes the following information:
      • Award Identification. Please identify the nomination by typing at the top of the page: "AAACE National Awards Nomination, Presidential Award for Exceptional and Innovative Leadership."
      • Nominator Information. List the following information for the nominator: Name, Job Title/Organization, Address, City/ State/Zip, Telephone, and Fax.
      • Nominee Information. Please list the following information for the Nominee: Name, Job Title/Organization, Address, City/State/Zip, Telephone, and Fax.
    • Statement by Nominator. Attach a one-page statement that summarizes the nominee's service to the field of adult and continuing education. Show how the nominee has met the criteria including professional development (e.g., honors, degrees and civic activities). Discuss the challenges faced, the impact of their contributions, and how they inspired others to become better professionals. Please explain why the candidate is being nominated and why they deserve the honor. Nominators: Please sign and date your statement.
    • Biography of Nominee. Please provide a biography of the nominee, preferably not to exceed one page.


  • The award is selected by a subcommittee of the National Awards Committee.

Recipients of the Presidential Award

  • 2019 - Susan Norton, PhD
  • 2018 - No Award
  • 2017 - Dr. Jean E. A. Fleming; Dr. James E. Witte
  • 2016 - Dr. Victor C. X. Wang
  • 2015 - Dr. Jim Pappas, University of Oklahoma
  • 2014 - None
  • 2010 - Mary Alfred
  • 2009 - John Boultmetis
  • 2008 - Alan Knox
  • 2006 - Alex Charters
  • 2005 - John Boultmetis
  • 2004 - Jack Mezirow
  • 2001 - Doug Smith
  • 1994 - Jack Mezirow


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