The Janet Smith Emerging Activist-Scholar Research Award (sponsored by The Voorhees Family) was established to support emerging activist-scholars.
This award honors the memory of Dr. Janet Smith, Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, and co-director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement. As an expert in local and national housing policy, Janet dedicated her career to fighting alongside community groups for a right to place and representation within the city. Janet brought to this work a deep respect for the self-determination of communities. Working alongside communities and activists, she brought her own astute analysis – and fierce critique – of the political economy of housing production in the United States.
As an activist-scholar, Janet worked alongside tenant-activists to leverage a fierce critique of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation and bore witness to the ways in which the plan fragmented existing communities. This work informed her books Where are Poor People to Live?: Transforming Public Housing Communities with Larry Bennett and Patricia Wright, and Claiming Neighborhood: New Ways of Understanding Urban Change with John Betancur.
Within UAA, Janet was an outstanding leader and mentor to both students and faculty. From 2001 to 2007, she served on the UAA Governing Board, becoming Vice-Chair in 2005 and Chair in 2006. Throughout her UAA engagement, Janet chaired countless committees and shared her insights with early career scholars in workshops and professional development sessions.
Janet’s energy, enthusiasm, and determination was inspirational to all that worked with her. This award honors Janet’s contributions as an activist-scholar as well as her commitment to supporting emerging scholars in developing their own models for community engagement and activism.
November 1, 2022 (11:59pm CST) – Last day to submit a nomination
December 1, 2022 (11:59pm CST) – Last day for nominated individuals to submit their application materials
The applicant must be either a current doctoral student or a recent doctoral graduate who received their degree within the past three years (counting from the time of application).
Current Doctoral Graduate Students. Students pursuing doctoral research related to urban affairs, regardless of academic discipline, are eligible to apply. Applicants must:
Post-Doctoral Graduates. Recent doctoral graduates who received their degree and completed research related to urban affairs, in any disciplinary field, are eligible to apply. Applicants must:
The recipient receives:
*This multi-year benefit allows the recipient to participate in professional development workshops, mentoring programs, networking, and research presentations.
The plaque and honorarium will be presented at the annual awards reception held during the UAA conference. Following the conference, a press release will be prepared announcing the winner.
Faculty or self-nominations may be submitted by November 1, 2022. In order to nominate someone, you need the following information:
The applicant OR their nominator must hold a UAA membership.
A UAA staff member will follow up with nominated individuals to request the following materials via the application form by December 1, 2022.
The nominated individual must submit the Emerging Activist-Scholar Nominee Application Form and upload the following documents as PDF files:
Important note: Do not submit additional documents. Only the requested documents will be forwarded to the selection committee.
The nominations will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the Chairperson of the Governing Board. The winner will be selected based on scholarship and commitment to urban issues. Specifically, candidates for the award are evaluated on the following three criteria:
The awards committee will report its decision to the UAA Executive Director, who will inform all nominees and nominators of the committee’s decision prior to the UAA conference.