Cowen Award Committee

Chair

Mike Mischna, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA

Members

Carolyn Gramling, Science Magazine, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Richard Kerr, Science Magazine (retired), Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Meenakashi Wadhwa, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Jeff Taylor, National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Staff Liaison

Nanci Bompey

Named for longtime science editor (now retired) of The Christian Science Monitor, this award recognizes a journalist or team of journalists who have made significant, lasting, and consistent contributions to accurate reporting on the Earth and space sciences for the general public. Cowen Awardees are honored for high-quality work spanning a period of more than 15 years. The Award is presented no more often than every two years.

COMMITTEE CHARGE

  • Select the recipient of the Cowen Award; the final decision is subject for approval of the Council Leadership Team.
  • Abide by AGU’s Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Interpret the scope of the award broadly and keep in mind that as a Union award, it should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the Earth and space sciences.
  • Promote excellence and transparency and allow broad input and recognition beyond disciplinary awards.
  • Promote diversity and commitment to equity to ensure that the awards are sufficiently representative of underrepresented groups.
  • State, as part of the award recommendation to the Council Leadership Team, the number of candidates considered, how many candidates were holdovers, how many candidates are new, and whether the new candidates were nominations from general call or were actively encouraged by the committee.
  • Define the process used for reaching the decision.
  • Remain cognizant of the variety of media by which science journalism is done and ensure equal consideration is given to all forms.

WORK PLAN FOR 2017-2018

In addition to selecting Cowen awardees,

  • Review the history and all aspects of the Cowen Award, including the award’s premise, its eligibility criteria, its pool of nominators and the size/expertise of that pool, the nomination process, selection criteria, selection process (including hold-overs), forms of recognition (currently consisting of a glass globe on a base, no prize money), the award’s relationship to AGU’s other journalism awards and its relevance to goals of the Union’s strategic plan.
  • Develop specific and detailed recommendations and a timeline for the AGU Honors & Recognition committee for restructuring the award, its criteria, procedures and forms of recognition. Interpret the scope of the award broadly and keep in mind that as a Union award, it should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the Earth and space sciences. The award committee may recommend options ranging from enhancing the Cowen Award in some manner to eliminating it.
  • Participate in training and orientations conducted by the Honors and Recognition committee to be fully informed of policies, processes and program elements.