[FRC Blog] Chairman's Award Updates Blog

Posted on the FRC Blog, 8/20/2020: Chairman’s Award Updates Blog | FIRST

Chairman’s Award Updates Blog

2020 AUG 08 | Written by Fiona Hanlon, Program Specialist, FIRST Robotics Competition.

We hope all our teams are staying safe during these uncertain times. One of the projects we have been working hard on is reviewing and reassessing all the awards. We are happy to share that we have made some revisions to the Chairman’s Award.

The focus of the award is unchanged, but we revisited the executive summary questions to eliminate some duplication. We also wanted to establish an emphasis on sustainability and add in a question related to our FIRST strategic pillar of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Emphasis was also added into the description for the essay to encourage teams to include more specific information. We believe these new questions do a better job capturing the essence of the award, and many teams were already including this information in their executive summaries and essays. Special thanks to the Hall of Fame teams and Judge Advisors who shared suggestions with us. You can see the updated questions listed on the Chairman’s Award page, as well as below:.

  1. Describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants within the last 3 years. This can include but is not limited to percentages of those graduating high school, attending college, in STEM careers, and in FIRST programs as mentors/sponsors.
  2. Describe your community along with how your team addresses its unique opportunities and circumstances.
  3. Describe the team’s methods, with emphasis on the past 3 years, for spreading the FIRST message in ways that are effective, scalable, sustainable, and creative. How does your team measure results?
  4. Please provide specific examples of how your team members act as role models within the FIRST community with emphasis on the past 3 years.
  5. Describe your team’s initiatives to Assist, Mentor, and/or Start other FIRST teams with emphasis on activities within the past 3 years.
  6. Beyond starting teams, what initiatives have you done to help inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators? What results have you seen from your efforts in the past 3 years?
  7. Describe the partnerships you’ve created with other organizations (teams, sponsors, educational institutions, philanthropic entities, etc.) and what you have accomplished together with emphasis on the past 3 years.
  8. Describe your team’s efforts in the past 3 years to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within your team, FIRST , and your communities.
  9. Explain how you ensure your team and the initiatives you have created will continue to run effectively for the foreseeable future.
  10. Describe your team’s innovative strategies to recruit, retain, and engage your sponsors within the past 3 years.
  11. Highlight one area in which your team needs to improve and describe the steps actively being taken to make those improvements.
  12. Describe your team’s goals to fulfill the mission of FIRST and the progress you have made towards those goals.
  13. Briefly describe other matters of interest to the FIRST Judges, including items that may not fit into the above topics. The judges are interested in learning about aspects of your team that may be unique or particularly noteworthy.

In addition, we tweaked the guidelines to emphasize that any first-year teams (including rookie teams and new teams that have been assigned a veteran number) are not eligible for the award since the Chairman’s Award is about sustained excellence and impact. For the 2021 season, since Rookies from 2020 will be eligible for Rookie Awards, they will also be ineligible for the Chairman’s Award.

CA Definitions/Documentation

Last year, we introduced the Chairman’s Documentation Form and although we did not get to see it tested fully, we heard many positive comments about it from both judges and teams; we also heard suggestions for improvements. We took the feedback and have updated the documentation form which can be found here (editable version here). Although the Chairman’s Documentation is not required, it is highly recommended as it shows the Judges that your activities are well planned and documented.

We also heard feedback on revising the Chairman’s Definitions and worked with the Hall of Fame teams to address some of the concerns raised. There was confusion with using the word ‘Assisted’ for both events and teams, so we have replaced the word ‘Assisted’ at an event with the term ‘Supported.’ In addition, you will notice a new word: “Advocacy” which is to provide teams with the opportunity to better classify their activities. You may also notice minor wording changes were made to multiple definitions to reflect the “new normal” and abundance of online events. You can see the full list of Chairman’s Definitions here. Remember, it is crucial that teams are aware of these definitions and use them appropriately within their submissions.

We do want to assure our teams that we are planning to present Chairman’s Awards in the 2021 season no matter what scenario we are in. We believe these changes are a positive addition to the award and hope that our teams agree. Teams with feedback can send it to frcteamadvocate@firstinspires.org.

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2021 2020
Describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants within the last 3 years. This can include but is not limited to percentages of those graduating high school, attending college, in STEM careers, and in FIRST programs as mentors/sponsors. Briefly describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants within the last five years
Describe your community along with how your team addresses its unique opportunities and circumstances. Describe the impact of the FIRST program on your community within the last five years
Describe the team’s methods, with emphasis on the past 3 years, for spreading the FIRST message in ways that are effective, scalable, sustainable, and creative. How does your team measure results? Describe the team’s methods for spreading the FIRST message in ways that are effective, scalable, sustainable, and creative
Please provide specific examples of how your team members act as role models within the FIRST community with emphasis on the past 3 years. Describe examples of how your team members act as role models and inspire other FIRST team members to emulate
Describe your team’s initiatives to Assist, Mentor, and/or Start other FIRST teams with emphasis on activities within the past 3 years. Team’s initiatives to help start or form other FIRST Robotics Competition teams
Describe the team’s initiatives to help start or form other FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge)
Describe the team’s initiatives on assisting other FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge) with progressing through the FIRST program
Describe how your team works with other FIRST teams to serve as mentors to younger or less experienced FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge)
Beyond starting teams, what initiatives have you done to help inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators? What results have you seen from your efforts in the past 3 years?
Describe the partnerships you’ve created with other organizations (teams, sponsors, educational institutions, philanthropic entities, etc.) and what you have accomplished together with emphasis on the past 3 years. Describe your Corporate/University Sponsors
Describe your team’s efforts in the past 3 years to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within your team, FIRST, and your communities.
Explain how you ensure your team and the initiatives you have created will continue to run effectively for the foreseeable future.
Describe your team’s innovative strategies to recruit, retain, and engage your sponsors within the past 3 years. Describe the strength of your partnership with your sponsors within the last five years
Highlight one area in which your team needs to improve and describe the steps actively being taken to make those improvements.
Describe your team’s goals to fulfill the mission of FIRST and the progress you have made towards those goals.
Briefly describe other matters of interest to the FIRST Judges, including items that may not fit into the above topics. The judges are interested in learning about aspects of your team that may be unique or particularly noteworthy. Briefly describe other matters of interest to the FIRST Judges, if any
For FIRST Robotics Competition teams older than 5 years, briefly describe your team’s broader impact from its inception
Describe how your team would explain what FIRST is to someone who has never heard of it
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[expletive deleted] yes!

Glad to see some positive changes here. Idk if it’ll be represented in the award recipients but a step is a step.

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:heart_eyes:

I’m also excited to see that they’ve backed off from the “FIRST only” messaging.

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(Full disclosure, I was one of the HoF reps who shared suggestions)

I’m a huge fan of this question. It shows an understanding that teams have very different backgrounds and communities, and that these should be a factor when judging this award. After all, the impact that can be made in a rural community of 1000 is going to be different than an urban centre of 1,000,000. This gives teams a chance to highlight unique circumstances that may present opportunities or obstacles. Granted, teams could have always brought this up in their submissions, but there was always a cost when it came to time and characters. Now teams have a specific spot reserved for describing their team circumstances. This is very important when viewing this award through the lens of equity.

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Great changes by FIRST to the award questions. I have to echo @Karthik that these changes really help to acknowledge the community and resources teams have available to work with. As a team that still has more to do to really strive for Chairman’s and that has challenges with funding and man-hour resources available relative to other communities hearing the accomplishments in some of the Chairman’s presentations can make it seem like a disheartening numbers game that we can’t compete in. FIRST acknowledging and factoring in differing backgrounds into the award criteria will help to make Chairman’s a little more reflective of relative rather than absolute impact.

Also with the decreased emphasis on FIRST teams specifically, can we retire the Pyramid Scheme Award memes?

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This is a welcome change. Thank you FRC HQ and the HoF teams who are helping improve this for all of us.

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I’m not sure it’s a huge step, but it puts emphasis on having teams tell THIER story and stop worrying about comparing yourself to everyone else.

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I’m a big fan of these changes, thank you to HQ, the HoF, volunteers and anyone else that helped implement these improvements.

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I really do appreciate these changes immensely. The Chairman’s Award has always been one way people interpret “what we should be doing” in the community, what FIRST expects of us in a way. I’ve fairly openly shared skepticism to some changes to the award, but the focus on sustainability, retention of sponsors, and a lack of explicit focus on FIRST programs, and including a natural point of inflection? Absolutely brilliant!

Hats off to HQ, and everyone involved in this, thank you.

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I think the thing that initially stuck me the most was thre change from 5 years to 3 years. I’m confused. If they want to focus on sustainability, why only 3 years?

Otherwise, I think all the changes were very positive and I appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness that was put into it.

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Not sure if this is why, but I always thought that it was weird that if a high school student decided “hey, let’s focus on the Chairman’s Award”, they would basically be guaranteed not to win it within their time on the team. 3 years lets a high schooler make a big impact if they get started right away.

Besides, it’s not like before when teams talked about all the rookie teams they started they would go “and five years later all of them still exist!”. That was never really a question.

Big fan of the changes overall.

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I really appreciate the changes they made. I have tried to explore some of these topics in the Q&A. Some of you may of been the victim of my bonus question.
The awards committee is recognising that team structure is evolving faster than the topics on the Chairman’s award.

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I would suggest that sustainability and “what have you done for me lately” (3 yrs impact) can be two different categories. We’ve been doing this, this, and this for many years (sustainability), but in the last 3 yrs we’ve done this, this, and this. Or while we’ve done this thing for 5 or 6 years, here are the changes and improvements we’ve made to what we’re doing in the last 3 yrs.

I’m not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to be interpreted, but I think that’s the way I would look at it.

For those who want to get some more insight into the the changes to the Chairman’s Award Executive Summary for the 2021 season, some of the Hall of Fame reps were on FIRST Canada LIVE! last week to discuss the changes in detail. Here’s the video:


(Starts at about 13:08, if the timestamp link didn’t work)
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