The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, in cooperation with the Office of the President, Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Student Affairs recognize the achievements of outstanding women students on an annual basis.
Eligibility for the awards is restricted to women students, including students who identify as female, with an expected graduation date during the award year, i.e. to seniors, third-year law students and graduate students who will receive their degrees December, May, or August of the award academic year (i.e. December 2016, May 2017 or August 2017).
The information sheet completed by nominees includes data concerning departmental and university leadership roles, community involvement, other awards and scholarships, goals and aspirations, and obstacles overcome in pursuit of their education. Preference is given to candidates with a 3.0 GPA or better.
Nominations are invited from interested faculty, staff and students. Women who are nominated will be notified and invited to complete an information sheet which includes specifics of their scholarship, leadership service to the University, community involvement, goals and challenges.
The completed information sheets are reviewed by a selection committee comprised of NIU faculty and staff. The awards will be bestowed to the selected students during a reception. Their nominators, family and friends are welcome to attend.
This recognition process was begun in 1980 as the Women's Student Leadership Awards. These awards were intended to foster the development of leadership among women students, both graduate and undergraduate. For this reason, students who hold formal office in campus or community organizations have been obvious candidates for this recognition. It has increasingly been the goal of the Commission to recognize those students whose leadership may be less formal in nature, who entertain non-traditional aspirations, who have overcome significant obstacles in the process of pursuing their education, or whose achievements and contributions might otherwise go unrecognized.
The award title was changed in the Fall of 1987 to the "NIU Outstanding Women Student Awards".
The awards are intended to encourage the full participation of women students in all facets of the University experience and in their communities; to support their development of corresponding strengths, both cooperative and competitive; and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, including those not usually recognized by other award programs.