Sam Black Award for Education and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts


UBC VP Research

Sponsor deadline:

Deadline projected/TBC

Award Details

Inaugurated in 1999, this biennial award pays tribute to legendary UBC figure Sam Black, a well-known artist and educator whose 41-year association with UBC began in 1958 as a professor of Fine Arts and Art Education.

This biennial award, consisting of a certificate and prize in the amount of $1,000, is deemed UBC’s highest honour in the Arts and Education disciplines (in conjunction with the Dorothy Somerset Award offered in alternate years). The Sam Black Award recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding education and development contributions to (and should include outstanding performance in) the fields of Art, Music, Creative Writing, and Theatre and Film and outstanding accomplishment in scholarship in the fields of the Fine and Creative Arts.

Next deadline: 2023


Nominees must:

  • Be a full-time faculty member of their department, and 
  • Have spent at least five (5) years as a UBC faculty member.

Recipients are only eligible for ONE of the Sam Black and/or Dorothy Somerset Awards in their lifetime.

Terms of the Award

  • One Sam Black Award will be available each year.
  • The total value is $1,000, given to the recipient as an honorarium.

Nomination Process

  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  • Faculty members must be nominated by two to three tenured or tenure-track faculty members in their Faculty.
  • Nominators must complete and submit all documentation.

Note: The Dean's office should be informed of the intention to submit a nomination and the name of the proposed nominee to avoid duplicate nominations. The signature of the Dean is not required for nominations.

Nomination Package

Nominators must submit all required materials by the November 15 deadline using this nomination form.

Nomination form fields include:

  • Nominator information: Name, faculty, department, email address
  • Nominee information: Name, position, faculty and department, year started at UBC, year of PhD/terminal degree, email address
  • Referee information: Name, organization, email address of 3 external referees
  • Citation (50 words): Please include a brief 50-word citation of the candidate's research written for a non-expert audience.

Documents required:

  1. Nomination letter (1,200 words): A joint letter of nomination signed by all (2-3) nominating individuals including the name, title, and affiliation of each nominator. The letter should:
    • Frame the achievements of the candidate for a non-specialist, multidisciplinary, university-wide committee. It should set the subject matter and the contribution of the research in perspective.
    • Illustrate how the candidate has had an impact in their field.
    • Explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and why the candidate should be selected to receive the award.
  2. Letters of Support (3): Three external letters of support from arm's-length referees. Recommended 1,200 words max.
    • References are deemed crucial in the selection process thus letters should be objective assessments of the nominee’s suitability for the prize.
    • Referees should be external to UBC and internationally recognized in their field (i.e. outside of UBC and preferably one from outside Canada).
    • Referees must be at arm’s length and may not include thesis or dissertation supervisor(s), anyone the candidate has supervised, or anyone with the candidate has collaborated (as co-author or coinvestigator) within the past 24 months.
    • Letters must be signed and dated.
    • Letters in excess of three will not be considered.
  3. CV: Official updated UBC CV including complete list of publications (no page limit)


Please review the FAQs, and contact

Previous Award Winners


  • Gayle Murphy (Theatre & Film)

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