Becoming a CSI Fellow

Fellowship Mentoring Guidelines

The comments that follow were assembled by the Jury of Fellows at the request of several CSI members who served as Mentors to Fellowship nominees. It is hoped that these thoughts will be useful during development of Fellowship nominations, bearing in mind that they are intended only as a supplement to, not a replacement of, the information contained in the Honors and Awards Guide, Administrative References, and By-Laws of The Construction Specifications Institute. These are opinions and reflections from the Jury subsequent to their experience in making individual reviews.

Of paramount importance are the following: read, study, and follow the criteria for Fellowship nomination and submittal/endorsement documentation -- the Honors and Awards Guide, the Administrative References, and the By-Laws of The Construction Specifications Institute. That said, specific suggestions relating to the successful completion of the various Awards Forms follow.

Several Fellows have volunteered to help those who are preparing Fellowship submittals. Feel free to contact any of them with questions about Fellowship submittals. The mentors won't prepare the submittals, but they will review your work and offer suggestions.

Preparing a Fellowship nomination takes time! Starting a year in advance is not too soon.

For many nominees, modesty makes writing about themselves difficult. There are two ways to minimize this problem: tell the nominee to pretend it's someone else who is being described, or have the nominee simply list all of the relevant activities and dates, and let someone else do the writing.

Nomination Forms

List of Fellowship mentors


Nomination Forms

Awards Form 201: This form is pretty straightforward, and leaves little undefined; the candidate should be sure it is correctly completed, and signed.

Awards Form 202: The majority of this is also straightforward, but there are some areas that may benefit from further clarification:

    1. "Published Works" is intended to include things such as documentation that an individual has written a technical or educational column every month for a number of years, and/or books, magazine articles, and the like -- not things such as meeting announcements or president's messages in the Chapter's newsletters.

    2. Item 11 seems to be subject to a lot of misinterpretation: it asks that the nominee explain "in a few sentences" the contributions in the categories on which the nomination is based. This essentially should be a very brief synopsis of the material that is explained in detail by Awards Form 203; a short paragraph for each category that applies is ideal -- make this a concise, clear, correct, and complete summary.

    3. Item 12 requests a color photograph, and the Honors & Awards Guide states that it should be 4"x6", vertical format, head and shoulders view. If the nomination is successful, the nominee will be requested to submit this electronically as well.

Awards Form 203: This portion of the package is by far the one that contains the largest opportunity for lack of clarity, insufficient explanation or documentation, and less than ideal writing skills. Some things to think about would include the following:

    1. Allow sufficient time to proofread the material, several times; look for consistency in presentation, good grammar, complete sentences, and overall format. Make it easy for the Jury to stay focused on your nominee.

    2. Ask yourself if the material that is written does a good job of demonstrating why the accomplishment really made a difference. Explain the significance of the notable contribution.

    3. Verify that the explanation falls into the proper category: did the item being discussed truly (for example) advance construction technology, or was it more a matter of contributing to education?

    4. If something is valid in more than one category, explain it thoroughly in one location, and then provide a cross-reference in the other. Avoid the inclusion of repetitive material.

    5. Make sure the accomplishments that are cited fall into one of the four categories, don't create a fifth one.

    6. Keep the explanation pertinent; fellowship submittals are not judged by their weight or thickness. A Jury member from several years ago has suggested following this simple but effective formula:

          C+S+I = Notable Service = Fellowship

    where C is the nominee's specific, definitive contribution, S is the significance of the contribution within the appropriate category, and I is recordable, factual, identifiable indicators of that significance.

    7. If there is nothing noteworthy to be placed in a particular category, that's fine; simply mark on the form "Not Applicable" or "None", and include the form in the submittal.

    8. There is a difficult distinction to be made in Part 4, Service to the Institute. Item 1 is "Office and Positions Held" -- that's clear. Item 2 is "Special Services", and Item 3 is "Notable Services"; the distinctions are explained on the form itself, but examples may be useful for clarification:

      a. Special Services do not include attending meetings, conferences, or conventions; this type of activity might however be listed under Offices and Positions Held.

      b. Being the chair or serving on the organizing committee for a conference or convention can certainly be considered a Special Service. Giving a seminar or conducting a workshop at a conference or convention can be considered a Special Service.

      c. Notable Services are something really extraordinary: starting a chapter foundation, starting a new chapter, and giving technical seminars prior to or during chapter meetings for several years (i.e., creating a long-standing successful program) might all be examples of Notable Services.


    1. Nominations and endorsement letters may be submitted electronically, or in hardcopy. Signatures may be wet or an image, e.g., jpg format. Refer to the Honors & Awards Guide for specific instructions.

    2. All submittals (nomination dossier, including all required copies, and letters of endorsement) must be received by the Institute office prior to the deadline -- period.

    3. Resist the temptation to include extraneous materials -- copies of newsletters exemplifying an article that was written, the table of contents for a book, the list of events for a special chapter anniversary, extra photographs, and the like.

    4. Explain the nominee's accomplishments, and do your best to solicit letters of endorsement from people who can personally attest to what was done, and the effect it had.

    5. "Service to the Institute" is service at any of the three levels: Chapter, Region, or Institute -- it can be just one, two of the three, or all three. But whatever level or levels it is, it needs to be significant and the significance needs to be documented. Service within the whole of the construction industry that furthers the purposes of CSI has been accepted as "service to the Institute"; if there is uncertainty about a type of service, contact the chair of the Jury for clarification.

    6. Endorsement letters must be forwarded to the Institute, separately, by a method that will ensure their receipt at the Institute office prior to the deadline.

    7. Read the Honors & Awards Guide carefully, and make sure that the forms from the most current edition are being used for the submittal. Then read the Honors & Awards Guide again. Your efforts to assist nominees to prepare a well-documented dossier is very much appreciated by the Jury; sincere thanks for your participation in this program of mentoring.

2017 Fellowship Mentors

Richard Heiserman, Chair, Jury of Fellows, Members of the Jury of Fellows are prohibited from being Fellowship mentors. However, questions regarding requirements for Fellowship should be directed to the Chair of the Jury.





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