John Laska Dissertation Awards

Application Information

Deadline Date – April 30

AATC recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertation research through the awarding of the John Laska Dissertation Award.  Each year, the organization recognizes two outstanding dissertations in teaching and curriculum that best represent the mission of the organization. The dissertation awards are a way to recognize the founder of AATC, Dr. John Laska.  Dr. Laska earned his doctoral degree from Teachers College and was a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin from 1967 until his death in 1995.  His publications were extensive, as was his supervision of doctoral students from the United States as well as foreign countries.

AATC requests nominations for its annual awards to recognize two distinguished doctoral dissertations – one in Teaching and one in Curriculum. Competition is open to non-members, but all applicants must be nominated by an AATC member. Entries are not limited to a particular kind of research. The nominee’s dissertation must have been defended and approved by the doctoral committee within the last two years.

Each entry must include:

1. A letter of nomination attesting to the quality of the dissertation. The nomination letter should address the following substantive ideas: (1) explanation of whether the research fits best within the category of curriculum or teaching (or perhaps both); (2) description of how the dissertation represents the highest level of scholarship; (3) analyses of how the research represents a significant contribution to curriculum and/or teaching; (4) evaluation of the scope of the research and how problems in curriculum and/or teaching are considered; (5) evaluation of the conclusions of the research and how these relate to the improvement of professional practice and/or the advancement of theory within curriculum and teaching.  Please note that historical, narrative, inquiry-based, and alternative dissertation formats that tackle concerns in teaching and curriculum are welcome, as well.

2. A summary of the dissertation describing important findings of the dissertation. Submit one electronic copy (MSWord, RTF or PDF) of a 2,000-2,500 word summary of the dissertation with no more than 1 page of references. There should be no reference to the author in the summary or references.

3. A letter of intent from the author stating that he/she is willing to be nominated and whether the dissertation should be considered for the teaching award or the curriculum award. The letter from the author should include current mailing address, email, and phone number. The author must notify the chair of the dissertation selection committee if there is a change of address.

4. Entries should be sent electronically from March 1 through April 30.

Send materials to:
 Crystal Howell, AATC President-Elect,

Winners will receive a one-year membership to AATC, a conference fee waiver to the annual AATC meeting where the award will be presented, and an invitation to present the dissertation at an AATC conference session.

Award Recipients

 Curriculum  Teaching
2020 Jennifer L. Schneider Kelley Johnston
2019 Michelle Garcia-Olp Kevin Magill
2018 Jennie Mizrahi Gulistan Gursel-Bilgin
2017 Kristen Mattson Katherine Perrotta
2016 Rhonda Webb Kari Colley
2015 Caroline Conner
2014 Benjamin Ingman Jesica Meehan
2013 Limarys Caraballo Brooke Blevins
2012 Erica DeCuir Michele Baum
2011 Anita Charles Jill Martin
2010 Cassandra Trousas John Pecore
2009 Avi Mintz Candace Schlein
2008 Steven Fleet Sherri Colby
2007 Shijing Xu Mark Seaman
2006 Michelle Sharpswain Sandra Musanti
2005 Stephanie Soliven Sarah Ramsey
2004 Donna Spirka Hsuan Jen Chen
2003 Stacey Elsasser April Luehmann
2002 Wesley Null Kevin Kienholz