Gerald R. Ford Scholar Award
(Dissertation Award)
in Honor of Robert M. Teeter

View announcement for the 2022 Ford Scholar Award

View previous Ford Scholar Award recipients and their topics

The Gerald R. Ford Scholar Award in Honor of Robert M. Teeter is an annual award of $5000 given to a doctoral student to support dissertation research and writing in any field related to any aspect of the United States political process and public policy during the last half of the 20th century. Of special interest is the role and analysis of public opinion in that process. The Selection Committee encourages applications from doctoral students in a wide range of fields, including Political Science, History, Journalism, Communications, Public Policy, Foreign Relations, and American Studies.

Eligibility Requirements
Applicants must have achieved candidacy and completed all requirements for the Ph.D. program (coursework and examinations) except for the dissertation by the application deadline. The award must support research to be conducted after the award is announced and will not be granted retroactively for research already completed.

Applications and Deadlines
Applicants must demonstrate their professional potential by submitting each of the following:

  • an application cover sheet (download here);
  • an abstract describing the dissertation, no longer than 150 words;
  • a 5 page proposal that describes the topic and outline of the dissertation, including the design of the research project and research resources to be employed. The proposal should also describe the ways in which Ford Library resources can advance the research on the topic and address how the dissertation will relate to current scholarship on the subject. A bibliography of up to two additional pages should also be included. The proposal and accompanying bibliography should use 12-point font and be double-spaced (page count does not include footnotes or bibliography);
  • three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to the applicant's qualifications for the award (one of these letters must be from their academic director that includes a statement approving the dissertation topic);
  • unofficial transcripts from all graduate schools attended (the Selection Committee reserves the right to request official transcripts); and
  • a curriculum vitae.

The application deadline each year is March 31st. Applications and letters of recommendation can be submitted by e-mail to

Applications may be submitted at any time, but those received after the deadline will automatically be entered for the following year's award.

Evaluation and Selection

The Ford Scholar Award Selection Committee will conduct its evaluation of the applicants on the basis of academic achievement, faculty recommendations, and demonstrated writing ability. The award is made on merit without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or political affiliation. The applicants will be notified of the Committee's selection in writing not later than June 30. The recipient must claim the award within twelve months of receipt.

The Gerald R. Ford Library will present the award when the recipient arrives at the Library to conduct research. The recipient determines use of the award money, including, but not limited to, travel, paper and audiovisual reproductions, administrative costs, and other research and writing expenses. Alternative research arrangements may be made with the award winner in the event of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Requirements of the Scholar/End-of-Award Reporting Responsibilities
The Gerald R. Ford Scholar will be required to conduct at least a portion of his or her research at the Gerald R. Ford Library, and, if appropriate, will be encouraged to make full use of the Robert M. Teeter Papers. The Scholar must agree to submit a brief report on the work done under the award to the Director of the Gerald R. Ford Library no later than six months after receipt of the award and present a copy of the resulting dissertation to the Gerald R. Ford Library when it is completed and accepted. The scholar may be invited to participate in a public forum or seminar at the Ford Library in conjunction with the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy or other academic program. The Scholar also must acknowledge the support awarded in the resulting publication(s).

Role of the Gerald R. Ford Library
The Gerald R. Ford Library will assist the Gerald R. Ford Scholar by providing reference service from open collections prior, during, and following the Scholar's visit. The Library will aid the Scholar with pertinent contact information should he/she wish to conduct personal interviews with members of the Ford Administration or professionals at the University of Michigan to supplement the research.

Background Information on Robert Teeter
Robert Teeter (1939-2004) spent over thirty years as a leader in public opinion analysis and campaign strategy, including the 1976 campaign of President Gerald R. Ford. The majority of written materials from Mr. Teeter's career are part of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library collection. The Robert M. Teeter Papers document public opinion analysis and political campaign strategy from 1972 to 2004. They also include the NBC News and Wall Street Journal national public opinion surveys from 1989 to 2004. For more information about the Robert Teeter Papers, please view the collection finding aid.

In the latter part of his career, Mr. Teeter was a consultant to several major U.S. companies and served as a member on the Board of Directors for four companies, including UPS. This award has been made possible by the generous support of the Teeter family and friends and UPS.

Further Questions
Lauren White, Ford Scholar Award Coordinator

What other grants are available through the Gerald R. Ford Library?
The Gerald R. Ford Foundation awards several Research Travel Grants of up to $2,200 each in support of research in the holdings of the Gerald R. Ford Library. A grant defrays travel and living expenses of a research trip to the Ford Library. Grants are awarded twice a year with application deadlines of March 15 and September 15. See details about the travel grants.