APS Fellowship Selection Committee Chair Guidelines and Instructions

Updated 05/02/17

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 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, post-docs, advisees, and advisors.

Before scoring nominations, committee members should review the list of nominees and disclose to the committee chair any potential conflicts of interest via the secure committee site or phone call. The chair is responsible for documenting conflicts of interest on the nominee spreadsheet that staff will post to the committee’s secure website after the nomination deadline.

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. Specifically, they cannot be on the conference call while that person is discussed.

The Chair’s Role on the Selection Committee

The 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 should not score or vote on nominees. The Chair may take part in discussion of the nominees, but should be mindful of their primary role of facilitator.

Selection Calls

The committee should schedule a one-hour selection call, and a second optional selection call if further deliberation is needed. The selection calls will be conducted via conference or video call. Email fellowship@aps.org, subject line: Conference Call Request, and provide the name of the selection committee, date and time of the call(s), if video or phone-only is preferred, and staff will provide access information. The agreed upon short list of top-ranked nominations shall be discussed. The primary reviewer will summarize each nomination for the committee. After the committee discusses the nominations, final scoring will determine the recipient(s).


For most selection committees, all members review and score all nominations, except conflict of interests. In order to lessen reviewer burden, if there are very many active nominations to review, the chair may decide to divide the reviewer assignments between the committee members randomly or according to area of expertise.

Chair Report

The Committee Chair shall complete a chair report recording the committee recommended fellows, as well as the selection process. The report should not include the names or information of any other nominees. This report is submitted by APS Honors staff who will provide it to the APS Fellowship Committee for review and approval, then to APS Council of Representatives for election.

Unit Allocations

The number of fellowships awarded each year shall be no more than 0.5% of total APS membership, excluding student members. Removing student members from the calculation was passed by the APS Council of Representatives, to be phased in over 2 years, 2017 and 2018. The Council also agreed on a time requirement for APS membership. Each unit will be allocated a maximum number of fellows that may be elected based upon an allocation formula using the number of members affiliated with that unit as of January 1 of that year. APS staff will post the annual allocations for each unit on the APS website. Selection Committees will recommend no more than the maximum number of fellows allocated.

Canvassing Responsibilities

After fellows are selected, the final responsibility of a fellowship selection committee chair is to ensure the committee discusses canvassing for diverse and highly-qualified nominees for the next selection cycle. This process should include reviewing the carry-over nominations, identify gaps in diversity of nominees from this year's list, working with the related unit executive committee or APS staff to encourage nominations. Any committee members continuing to serve the following year should be aware of any potential conflicts of interest with suggested nominees as they arise.