The Faster Forward Fellowship (FFf) essay guidelines 2016

The deadline was March 1, 2016 at midnight PST.

Winners will be announced by April 1, 2016

All entrants must meet two eligibility requirements:

1) students must be currently enrolled at Claremont Graduate University;

2) students must have taken or be taking at least one evaluation course at CGU. However, exemptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for students who can show that they have equivalent background knowledge or experience in evaluation.

Essays must be about (not merely using or exhibiting) the discipline of evaluation or part of it, or its methods or applications, including evaluation as practiced in disciplines other than the usual application areas (program, product, policy, performance, personnel, portfolio and proposal).

The criteria of merit are as follows:

  • The essay must put forward an original suggestion (or several)–critical or creative–with supporting argumentation and documentation, that is intended to improve the current theory or practice of evaluation, as it is applied in the usual topical fields (education, social sciences, business, health, etc.) or in some other field which involves evaluation (e.g. sports, the arts, crafts, personal or public management, the study of domestic or wild animals, water or drug purity, or anything else that someone evaluates or might evaluate).
  • The importance of the topic area addressed, either academically or socially, is a criterion of merit.
  • Of equal importance with the topic above is the extent to which the proposal or conclusion represent “thinking outside the box” i.e. a new concept, point of view, method, important new application, etc.
  • Although absence of social impact is not a deal breaker, there must be careful consideration of the impact of your idea or proposal on humans in extreme need, whether for economic, medical, educational, or respect, etc. In other words you don’t have to prove help to a group, but you do have to prove that you looked diligently for it, and you earn points for showing your concept’s significant impacts in this dimension.

(Please contact 3F directly if you would like feedback on the eligibility of a proposed essay topic—this is encouraged.)

Note One

You may think that students with very limited knowledge about the current discipline of evaluation are not in a good position to write such an essay. But all of you are in a position to do so through your knowledge at this point in your life because you know a lot about a number of topics or subjects that frequently involve evaluating data, theories, methods or approaches in some field of knowledge––and that’s all that you need to write about, plus a ton of smarts.

Note Two

If you want to learn more about the business of evaluating evaluations, which is one topic that this fellowship encourages you to write about, you might look at either Nick Smith and Paul Brandon’s book, Fundamental Issues in Evaluation, or Stewart Donaldson’s anthology, The Future of Evaluation. CGU students are also welcome to audit or take seminars where the evaluation of evaluations will be discussed fairly extensively.

Note Three

The Faster Forward Foundation (3F) which is ultimately in charge of this fellowship is also providing much more substantial support in this direction (see Competition for that support is open to all interested scholars interested in the field and hence considerably more competitive. There is also a parallel award to the FFf that will soon be offered for work done in the field of critical thinking.

Note Four

This year’s $5,000 prize will be awarded to the student (or students, if two tie­­––but no multiple author submissions are accepted––) who submit(s) the best essay. The winning essay(s) will be published on the website. (click here to see last year’s winners and their essays.)

Note Five

  • Essays must be between 2-5,000 words (in double-spaced, 12 pt. type).
  • Please do not include your name on the title page or in your paper.
  • Email your entry with your name and paper title clearly noted in the body of the email. (Reviewers need to have applications sent to them by us anonymously—our administrative assistant will track your entry.)
  • Questions, exemption requests, and submissions should be sent to: FasterForwardFund@gmail by email with a heading line that begins “FFfellowship”.
  • The deadline is March 1, 2016 at midnight PST.
  • The essays will be judged by senior faculty teaching evaluation at CGU and results will be announced by April 1.

For questions, email and read our FAQ’s coming soon!

Best of luck!