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UK Libraries Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship: FAQ

This research guide provides information about the UK Libraries Dean's Award, including timeline, eligibility, evaluation, and other requirements.


Project Criteria

What types of projects will be accepted for consideration?

Papers or projects in any media, from any discipline will be accepted, as long as a bibliography is present, the project or paper has not been previously published (in a peer-reviewed journal, for example), and appropriate use of library-based resources can be demonstrated.  On the checklist, make sure to check the box for which category you are submitting your paper or project.

Can you provide examples of types of projects that would fall under the new category of "digital methodologies"?

The media projects and digital methodologies category would include video projects or documentaries, digital humanities websites or blogs, timeline projects, online digital editing projects or exhibits, projects culminating in data visualizations, or any other project in code or digital form. The tradition paper/scholarship category would include final research papers, a research portfolio, lab journals, and physical exhibitions.

What qualifies as a "library resource?"

A library resource is information that is accessed in a UK library, through UK libraries' website or database, or through interlibrary loan. Such resources include books, journals, databases, articles, microfilm or microfiche, sound recordings, video recordings, and primary resources such as archives, oral histories, rare manuscripts, and historical records in Special Collections.

May my project be something other than an article or paper, e.g., a poster, DVD, work of art, speech?

Yes, projects in all media are eligible. If your project is a speech, you must submit a written version of the speech. A video of the speech is not required but is welcomed in addition to the written version. E-mail the Selection Committee chair. for instructions on submitting a project if it is in a format you cannot submit online. Make sure to check the box for which category you are submitting your paper or project to on the checklist.

Does my project have to include a bibliography?

Yes. All submissions must include a properly formatted bibliography in a recognized style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.). A bibliography is mandatory regardless of whether or not your professor originally required it. See the Library Resources tab for bibliography style guides and citation applications.

May I submit multiple projects / papers for consideration?

No. Instead of submitting several research papers, choose the best one and describe your research experience in your reflective essay.

I won't finish my project by the prize deadline. Are drafts of papers / projects acceptable?

Yes, you may submit a draft version of a paper or project due in Spring 2022 or for which you intend to submit to the Undergraduate Showcase of Scholars. However, try to submit as complete and final of a project and bibliography as possible, and make sure that the reflective essay accurately describes the entire library research process. Drafts will not be returned to applicants to make changes before the deadline. If selected, the final version of the project must be submitted before receiving the prize.

My paper/project was completed for a course that took place before the Spring 2021 semester. May I still apply for the prize?

Yes; projects must be related to coursework or independent study that took place in the semesters between Fall 2020 and Spring 2022.



Do I have to be present at the Library Gala to receive the prize?

Attendance at the Library Gala is strongly encouraged.  Winners will receive one night hotel accommodations if travel is required to attend. We do hope that the winner(s) will attend and participate voluntarily in any publicity or recognition. We want to share your story with other students, and to let the University of Kentucky community learn more about your award-winning research. This is your time to shine and receive recognition for your accomplishments!

Who is eligible to receive the award?

Undergraduate students currently enrolled full-time at the University of Kentucky, or students who have graduated from UK in the current academic year, are eligible. If you have already graduated in the current academic year, please note this on your award application in case your essay is selected as the winner, your award money can be paid in cooperation with the Office of the Registrar and Financial Aid.

Are team projects eligible?

No. Co-authored projects or papers are not currently eligible for consideration.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student and also employed on campus, may I still apply?

Yes, you may apply as long as your research paper/project is unrelated to work performed during your UK employment.

I co-authored a paper (or book, chapter, etc.) with my professor. May I submit this project for this award?

No. Previously-published or co-authored content is not eligible for this award.

May I submit a project I completed for independent study?


Is there a minimum or maximum length requirement for the project?

No. If your project was completed as part of a course, it should follow the length requirements provided by the course instructor.

My project was written in a foreign language. Do I need to translate it to apply?

No. The reflective essay describing your research strategies must be written in English, but the project itself can be submitted in its original language. Please include your abstract in English.


Application Procedure

When is the application deadline?

All materials must be submitted electronically to the Selection Committee chair by [2022 date to be determined] at midnight due date.

Do I need to be nominated for this award?

No, but you must have a letter of support from an instructor of the course for which the project was completed, or from the faculty mentor who oversaw the project.

Are previous winners eligible to win again?


Must the support letter come from a faculty member from the University of Kentucky?

Yes, your letter of support should be written by an instructor of the course for which you completed your research project, or by your faculty mentor on the project. The instructor or mentor may be a member of UK’s Faculty or a graduate teaching assistant (TA) or a graduate research assistant (RA).

The faculty member who taught the course / mentored the project is no longer at the University of Kentucky. Whose letter should I include?

If you're unable to get in touch with the course instructor or faculty mentor, you may submit a letter from the teaching assistant, research assistant, department chair, or another individual who is familiar with the course or with your project. Please include an explanation in your application of whose letter you are submitting and why.

Where should I submit my application materials?

Submissions must be emailed to the Selection Committee chair by the [2022 date to be determined] due date.

What criteria will be used to evaluate my project?

The criteria are presented on the Evaluation Rubric tab. Please note that the reflective essay you submit as part of your application has the most significant impact on how your project will be evaluated, as awards are primarily judged on the demonstrated use of information literacy skills and effective use of library resources.

Who will evaluate my submission?

Your submission will be evaluated by a committee of University of Kentucky faculty, librarians, and library staff members.

If I receive an Award, will it impact my financial aid?

Yes, the award may affect your financial aid. The award payment will be routed from the UK Libraries' Dean's Office through the Office of Student Financial Aid, where any financial obligations will be settled before the award is disbursed. Please consult your financial aid advisor.


Notification and Prize Disbursement

When are award winners notified?

All students who apply for the award will receive notification of whether or not they have received an award after the submission deadline. Notifications will be made by email by [date to be determined].



I have been asked to write a letter of support for a student’s project. Are there any guidelines?

See the Faculty Information tab for more details. Your letter of support should be approximately 1-2 pages long and should be given to the student to add to their application packet. Evaluation criteria for the students' application packet can be found on the Evaluation Rubric tab.

What is UKnowledge?

UKnowledge is the institutional repository for the University of Kentucky and provides permanent access to scholarly materials created by our faculty and students.

When depositing my research paper into UKnowledge, what rights am I, as an author, giving to the University of Kentucky?

Please see for more information.

Will the awards occur every year?

Not necessarily. The prize will only be given when the work submitted is of high enough quality to warrant it. We anticipate giving the prize every year, but do not guarantee it.

Is this prize only for undergraduate students?