The Clarence F. Stephens / Abdulalim A. Shabazz Teaching Award


What is the "Clarence F. Stephens / Abdulalim A. Shabazz" Teaching Award?

The Board of Directors of the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) has established a prize in honor of Clarence Stephens and in honor of Abdulalim Shabazz to recognize outstanding mentorship activities.

  • Clarence Francis Stephens (1917 -- 2018) came to Morgan State University in 1947 as chair of the Department of Mathematics, but prior to his arrival, no student from Morgan had gone on to earn a masters degree in the mathematical sciences. Some of the undergraduates Stephens taught during this time who went on to earn a doctorate degree are Earl Barnes, Vassily Cateforis, Earl Embree, Gloria Ford Gilmer, Arthur Grainger, Charles Moore, Sylvester Reese, Robert Smith, and Scott Williams.
  • Abdulalim Abdullah Shabazz (1927 -- 2014), born Lonnie Cross, helped establish the reputations of several HBCUs as department chair, and mentored countless students across the country. Shabazz received a mentoring award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1992 as well as a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) award from President Bill Clinton in 2000.

This prize will be awarded annually to a mathematics educator who has significantly contributed to the development of mathematical talent in underrepresented undergraduate students and encouraged underrepresented undergraduate students to pursue mathematical careers and/or the study of mathematics at the graduate level, with preference given to faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize and honorary plaque, and will be featured in an article in the NAM Newsletter. The award is open to all in the mathematical profession. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination.

Please send any questions to A complete nomination package is due by 11:59 PM Eastern on September 1. The award will be presented at the NAM banquet at the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

Award Eligibility

All nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have worked or currently works in the classroom as a faculty at a college or university.
  • Must be a member of an underrepresented minority group (African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian or Alaska Native) or someone from the African Diaspora.

Nomination Package

All nominations must consist of the following in order to be considered complete:

  • A 1-page cover letter from the nominator.This document should list contact information about the nominator, the nominee, and the individuals who will submit letters of recommendation.
  • A 2-page Curriculum Vitae for the nominee. This must discuss the work of the nominee, not the nominator.
  • A narrative, up to 3 pages, outlining the impact the nominee has had as both an educator and a mentor. This narrative should provide evidence of the nominee’s sustained track record in outstanding teaching as well as mentoring of underrepresented minority undergraduates in the mathematical sciences. The nominator should include a clear description of the nominee’s philosophy with regard to teaching and mentoring. Please provide a description of how the nominee’s previous student have progressed in their careers (such as participation in REUs, earning doctorate degrees, or becoming leaders in the STEM fields) or where the mentees are currently.
  • Four letters of recommendation, each up to 2 pages. At least two of these four letters must address the nominee’s teaching and at least two must address the impact of mentoring. A least two of these four letters must come from former students, where one letter must address the nominee’s teaching while the other must address the impact of mentoring.

Please submit these documents via e-mail to A complete nomination package is due by 11:59 PM Eastern on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The award will be presented at the NAM Banquet at the Joint Mathematics Meetings on Friday, January 7, 2022.