Ernest W. Burgess Award

2022 Recipient - Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D., CFLE


The award is given in memory of Ernest W. Burgess, a noted professor at the University of Chicago with a career spanning five decades. He was an NCFR co-founder and became NCFR's fourth president. Dr. Burgess was a pioneer in his contributions to marriage and family research in America. The award recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement during the course of a career in the study of families. The recipient is chosen in recognition of continuous and meritorious contributions to theory and research in the family field.


The recipient is presented with a $750 cash award and a plaque. The award is presented biennially (even years). He/she presents the Ernest Burgess Award Address during the NCFR Annual Conference (even years) and commits first publication rights to the Journal of Marriage and Family.


The applicant should have a superior research program designed and executed, as demonstrated by:

  • quality research;
  • conceptual integration and achievement;
  • codification of the field of inquiry;
  • new research dimensions(s) opened up;
  • new measurement instrument developed; and
  • new data collection or analysis technique developed.

Membership in NCFR or the Research and Theory (RT) Section is not required.

Nomination/application process

  • Members make the nominations. If there are none, the committee chair compiles biographies from the pool of candidates from previous years and sends them to the other committee members for review.
  • The nominator should include a Curriculum Vitae and one letter of recommendation with the nomination form.
  • Committee members suggest additional names and then compose one paragraph resumes of biographical facts and major works for each suggested candidate.
  • Candidates return Curriculum Vitae to committee chair.


May 1: Application deadline. Submit all materials to Membership.
July 31: The recipient will be notified by this date.

The application form is downloadable here.