Three separate nominating bodies evaluate the ICA awards:

  1. The B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award Committee is comprised of a chair, normally an ICA Board Member-at-Large, and up to four members appointed by the incumbent ICA President. The President makes an effort to include a recent mentorship award winner. Committee members serve staggered two-year terms. ICA's Executive Director compiles the information on each nominee, distributes the information to the committee for deliberation, and receives a report from the committee chair. The report names the successful candidate, if any. The Executive Director forwards the report to the ICA Board of Directors for final approval.
  2. A committee of ICA Fellows selects the ICA Fellows Book Award. The Fellows select one of its members to chair the book selection process and a committee of Fellows to review nominated books. The committee chair submits a report to the ICA Executive Director for inclusion in materials to be presented to the ICA Board of Directors for final approval.
  3. The Research Awards Committee, comprised of a chair and the chairs of six awards committees, gives the remaining six awards:  the Steven H. Chaffee Career Productivity Award, the Outstanding Book Award, the Applied Research Program Award, the Outstanding Article Award, and the Young Scholar Award.
  4. The James W. Carey Urban Communication Grant, with a committee comprising three members of ICA and three members of the Urban Studies Association. The operation of this committee is yet to be finalized.

The incumbent ICA President appoints all committee members in consultation with the chair of the Research Awards Committee. Recommendations for committee service are sought from ICA Fellows, division and special interest group officers, and the Executive Committee. Members of the awards committees are chosen to reflect the diversity of the ICA membership, varying particularly across divisional/interest group membership but also across other types of diversity, such as nationality, regional identification, gender, and ethnicity. Each of the six awards committees includes one individual nominated by the ICA Fellows, a chair, and three general members. One of the general members will be the previous year's winner. Two members of each subcommittee are held over from the previous year's committee to ensure continuity. Service on the committee is for a two-year term. The various committees submit their recommendations to the Research Awards Committee Chair, who submits a final report to the ICA Executive Director, who then forwards it to the ICA Board of Directors for final approval. 

The awards committees are tasked as follows:  Organize and oversee the evaluation of nominees for ICA's research awards, solicit nominees, create evaluation committees (according to by-laws), evaluate nominees and recommend award winners. The committee organizes and oversees evaluation of nominees. The Chair produces a Call for Nominations, including deadline dates and selection criteria for each award, in the July-August ICA Newsletter and web site (assisted by the Executive Director; deadline is 15 June). The Chair and Committee produce a written report to the Board of Directors recommending award winners or the reasons for not recommending winners (deadline is 1 May). Committees actively search for nominees during the call process (assisted by division and interest group chairs, who recommend nominees according to the published selection criteria and recommend recipients (or give reasons for not recommending a recipient) to the Chair.

The awards committees may solicit nominations through procedures they may determine, but at a minimum they will include timely announcement in the ICA Newsletter and in all appropriate and related media. Self-nominations are welcome, as are nominations by members of the awards committees. However, no ICA member who makes a nomination or who is nominated for an award can serve on the committee judging the nomination.