Student Award - Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for Best Dissertation in Planning
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Deadline - June 1


This award recognizes superior scholarship in a doctoral dissertation completed by a student enrolled in an ACSP-member school.

The committee seeks a thesis that is original, well written, employs methods elegantly, offers lessons pertinent to central issues in the field of planning, and provides guidance about how planners or governments should make choices.


  • Nominees must have received the doctoral degree in the two years preceding the upcoming conference.
  • The committee will accept for review no more than one nomination from each doctoral program.
  • Initial nominations, to come jointly from the dissertation committee chairperson and the department chair or director of graduate studies, should consist of ONLY the table of contents and the introductory and concluding chapters. The committee may then ask for the full thesis from selected finalists.
  • The nomination must include two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the chair of the nominee’s dissertation committee, and a university document indicating the date of award of the degree.

The Award

  • The award includes a cash grant in the amount of $500 USD provided by Cornell University plus waived student conference registration from ACSP.
  • The winner will be invited to present their paper on Saturday at the ACSP Annual Conference.
About Barclay Gibbs Jones

Barclay Gibbs Jones (1925-1997) devoted his life to academia. He held four university degrees -- a B.A. in Fine Arts (before WWII, which included time as a wounded prisoner in Germany) and a B.Arch, both from the University of Pennsylvania, then a Masters in Planning and a PhD in Economics, both from the University of North Carolina. After a few years teaching at Berkeley (and finishing his thesis), in 1961 Barclay came to Cornell to reinvigorate and expand its tiny Ph.D. program. The program grew: through 1998 Cornell had awarded 235 doctorates. Jones himself chaired 66 PhD committees in Planning, and he served on uncounted other committees at the master’s and Ph.D. level in planning and many other fields, from industrial engineering to sociology to architectural history. He studied, taught, and wrote -- always with an interest in the normative questions of planning, and often with path-breaking innovation -- in a fields as diverse as architectural design and history, historic preservation, decision theory, quantitative methods, urban development, regional science, and disaster planning.

An eccentric iconoclast, Barclay Jones's main joy was mentoring Ph.D. candidates -- typically between 11 pm and 4 am, every night of the week. When Barclay was awarded the Distinguished Planning Educator award at ACSP in 1990, about 20 percent of the hundreds in the room stood and cheered, in recognition of the time each of them had spent as a student in Barclay’s classroom or office.

The Barclay Gibbs Jones Award Committee:

  • Rachel Weber, University of Illinois at Chicago,
  • Gwen Urey, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Douglass Lee, USDOT/Volpe Center,
  • Kris Wernstedt, Virginia Tech,

Past Award Winners

The entire history of award winners can be found here at, PUBLICATIONS AND ARCHIVES then ARCHIVES then AWARDS.




The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.