University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Award & Lecture

PurposeFormer U Provost E. Thomas Sullivan with inaugural Ada Comstock winner, Catherine Verfaillie

This prestigious award/lecture has been established to acknowledge and honor the scholarly accomplishments and leadership of distinguished women faculty at the University of Minnesota and to offer a forum for them to share their insights and ideas with a campus and community audience. One scholar from the sciences or engineering and one scholar from the humanities, arts, or social sciences will be selected to present a lecture, one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester. (Lectures from Fall 2008-present are available on iTunes U.)


This award/lecture is sponsored by the Women's Center with support from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and University Libraries.


A specially selected piece of artwork created by a Minnesota woman artist is designed to highlight this scholar's work, and is presented at the event.


4:30 p.m., second Friday in March (the deadline has been extended to March 28, 2014 for award funds distributed in 2014-2015). A scholar will be selected from the sciences or engineering in even years, and a scholar from the humanities, arts or social sciences will be selected in the odd years.


Eligibility is limited to tenured women faculty employed at the University of Minnesota for at least five years. (While it is anticipated that the majority of Ada Comstock lecturers will be at the rank of full professor, we recognize that exceptional cases may exist among those who have achieved prominence at earlier stages of their career.)

Selection Criteria

Nominees are evaluated on the basis of a narrative documenting their scholarly accomplishments, national and international reputation and impact, and ability to deliver an engaging, scholarly lecture to a general audience. The narrative should provide specific evidence of excellence worthy of this recognition.
Selection criteria in order of importance are:

  • Quality of the nominee’s scholarly or creative achievements, with emphasis on originality, imagination and innovation.
  • National and international reputation and impact of the nominee's scholarly work. This may be reflected in the receipt of major grants and/or prestigious awards. Scholarly achievement such as that recognized by the Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award, the Regents Professorship, the McKnight Distinguished Professorship, and the Fulbright Foundation Award, is an essential characteristic for those chosen to deliver the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture.
  • The ability of the nominee to deliver a dynamic, engaging, and scholarly lecture to a general audience.

Selection Committee

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Women’s Faculty Cabinet serves as the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Award/Lecture Selection Committee.

Nomination Process

A nomination letter (preferably under 1000 words) recommending a scholar’s selection as the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecturer may be submitted by a faculty member’s department chair/head, collegiate dean, or faculty colleague.

A completed nomination packet includes:

  • A nominator narrative describing how the nominee meets the selection criteria.
  • Nominee's curriculum vitae

E-mail Nominations to: Women's Center at, Attn: Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholar Award Selection Committee