How to Nominate


Please note the following changes (implemented in April 2016) that are currently in effect for Distinguished Member nominations:

  • Nominations must be submitted by an ACM Professional Member; self-nominations are no longer accepted.
  • Distinguished Member is the sole category. The category options for “Scientist”, “Engineer”, and “Educator” have been eliminated. The Distinguished Committee will decide which category a candidate falls under based on the information provided on the nomination.
  • The "Summary of Accomplishments" field has been replaced with "Concise Statement of Key Achievement” (from 150 to 75 characters or less). The Distinguished Member Committee will use this information as a basis for its decisions for the category under which the candidate will be placed and will be used for the basis for the citation for the Distinguished Member recipient.
  • Waiting period for a re-submission of a nomination is two (2) years.

For questions on the above please contact distinguished@acm.org.

Distinguished Member nominations are reviewed annually. This webpage describes the process and requirements for nominations. For helpful suggestions, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Next Deadline: August 1, 2017 - End of Day, Anywhere on Earth (EoD, AoE), UTC -12 hrs.

Eligibility: Prior to the submission deadline, a candidate must have accrued:

  1. At least 15 years of professional experience in the computing field. The candidate's highest completed college degree counts toward that time as follows: 5 years for a doctorate, 4 for masters, 3 for baccalaureate, or 2 for associate degree
  2. At least 5 years of continuous professional ACM membership (to verify membership eligibility, contact acmhelp@acm.org)

Selection Criteria: Successful candidates for Distinguished Member must have achieved a significant level of accomplishment or made a significant impact in the field of computing, computer science, and/or information technology. This means that he/she demonstrates substantial depth and breadth of understanding of the field, including the creation of new ideas and the synthesis of work by others. In addition, it is expected that a Distinguished Member serves as a mentor and role model guiding technical career development for others and exhibits eminence by contributing to the field beyond the norm. The nomination must provide clear evidence of at least two of the following:

  • Significant professional leadership: project/engineering leadership, research leadership, education leadership, management, etc.
  • Significant technical contributions: publications in refereed journals or conference proceedings, textbooks and/or novel curricula, success product engineering/development, patents, standards, etc.
  • A track record of technical and professional awards
  • Substantial professional contributions: service to professional societies, review committees, conference committees, standards committees, etc.

The nomination statement is carefully reviewed and evaluated. However, the Committee gives particular weight to the supporting evidence provided by the endorsers, who must be individuals with personal knowledge of the candidate's achievements and impact.

Nominations: Candidates for Distinguished Member must be nominated by another ACM member, preferably one who holds a senior role in the computing field. An online nomination form is used. The requirements for nominations and endorsements are described below; further detail and examples will be found under Frequently Asked Questions.

All materials must be submitted in English. Each nomination involves several components:

  • Basic information about the candidate (including ACM membership number or username).
  • Concise statement (75 characters or less [approximately 15 words]) naming the most important technical or professional achievement(s) for which the candidate should be recognized. Avoid abbreviations, acronyms (unless explained) or technical jargon which may not be obvious to evaluators.
  • Description of accomplishments showing that the candidate deserves recognition as a Distinguished Member (limited to 4,000 characters). Rather than simply listing as many things as possible, this should highlight the candidate's most significant contributions to the computing field.
  • Candidate's educational background, including institution, degree, year conferred, and major discipline.
  • Candidate's professional background (organization, time period, and position held) and a summary of the candidate's experience (limited to 1,500 characters).
  • Copy of the candidate's CV, listing publications, patents, honors, service contributions, etc.
  • Basic information about the nominator (if this is not a self-nomination).
  • Supporting letters from at 4-5 endorsers (see below). After submitting his/her nomination, the candidate will be sent an encrypted URL to forward to endorsers, enabling them to access the endorsement site.

Endorsements: The nominator must secure endorsements from 4-5 colleagues in the field. At least 2 of them must be ACM members, preferably individuals who are themselves ACM Fellows or ACM Distinguished Members. Endorsers must have personal knowledge of the candidate's work. The endorsers attest that they know the candidate's work, that the nomination accurately describes his/her achievements, and that they believe the accomplishments meet the criteria for Distinguished Member. Most importantly, they provide a brief endorsement statement giving their personal assessment of the candidate's key achievements and impact on the computing field (limited to 2,500 characters). It's the nominator's responsibility to ensure that each endorser will make individual, substantive comments that will strengthen the case for the candidate.

It's important that the nominator contact potential endorsers to get their consent and preferred contact info before submitting the nomination. We also recommend that endorsers be sent the information about what endorsements should include (from the Frequently Asked Questions webpage); many nominations fail simply because the endorsers didn't receive good instructions from the nominator. NOTE: After submitting the endorsement form, each endorser will be sent an email from distinguished@acm.org with an encrypted URL which must be used to confirm the endorsement. Please warn endorsers in advance that they should expect that email and be prepared to respond to it promptly (or should contact distinguished@acm.org if it doesn't arrive).

Further information is available on the Frequently Asked Questions webpage. If you still have specific questions, please send them to Rosemary McGuinness, ACM Awards Committee Liaison. ACM's conflict-of-interest guidelines apply to all membership grade nominations.