Fellows Program Policy


The ACL Fellows program intends to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the association or to the field of computational linguistics in general. The program was created in 2011 and the selection criteria and rules for nomination and selection were last revised in 2017. The list of current ACL fellows can be found here.

Note: ACL is committed to promoting equity and diversity at all levels of the organization. Everyone involved in nomination and selection procedures is therefore encouraged to consult our page with resources for Promoting Diversity and Avoiding Bias.

Selection Criteria for Fellows

A person shall be qualified as a candidate for being ACL Fellow if the candidate has made significant contributions in areas including but not limited to the following:

  1. Scientific and technical excellence: Important technical contributions to computational linguistics. This should be interpreted in a broad sense to include research and technical development, contributions to academic, government or industrial group efforts, and release of software and resources. Evidence of technical contributions is typically in the form of technical results, publications, patents, and awards but other relevant forms of evidence should be considered as well.

  2. Service excellence: Extended service to the ACL or other scientific organizations whose mission aligns with that of the ACL. This includes being a member of a board or executive committee, being the editor of a journal, serving in major conference chair positions, or doing other voluntary work of significance for the organization.

  3. Enabling excellence: Significant educational and outreach activities with broader impact. This includes contributions to improve the visibility and impact of computational linguistics in society as a whole, such as the development and promotion of educational programs, raising awareness of equity and diversity issues, building bridges between academia and industry, or collaborating with government agencies and other pro-societal organizations.

Qualified candidates are furthermore expected to observe accepted professional and ethical standards both within and outside their scientific activities.

Procedure for Selecting New Fellows

  1. Nominations for new Fellows can be made by any current ACL member and need to be supported by recommendations from two additional ACL members. Note: Members of the nominating committee are not allowed to contribute to new nominations (as nominators or recommenders) while serving on the committee.
  2. To be eligible, the nominee must have been a member of the ACL for 3 out of the last 5 calendar years, including the year when they are nominated. Note: Members of the Executive Committee and the Nominating Committee are not eligible to become Fellows while serving.
  3. Nominations and supporting recommendations must be submitted using the special form available here.
  4. The deadline for nominations each year is October 1.
  5. The selection of new fellows from the pool of nominees is handled by the ACL Nominating Committee, consisting of three past ACL presidents and six ACL Fellows.
  6. The committee is charged with soliciting a large and diverse pool of candidates and with making the final selection in accordance with the criteria stated above.
  7. The selection of the committee will be submitted for formal approval to the ACL Executive Committee, providing whatever explanations and supporting documentation the Executive Committee requires.
  8. The role of the Executive is to ensure consistency and clarity in the decision process, and they should not overrule the committee’s proposal or advance alternative candidates.
  9. The number of new fellows appointed in a year should not represent more than 0.2% of the current ACL membership.
  10. Nominators should be informed about the outcome of their nominations but without specific information about why a particular nominee was not elected.

ACL Nominating Committee

The selection of new fellows is handled by the ACL Nominating Committee, based on nominations from ACL members. The membership recently amended the ACL Constitution to designate the makeup of the Nominating Committee as follows:

There shall be a Nominating Committee consisting of the three most recent Past Presidents, each serving for the three years following their own Presidency, and six ACL Fellows selected subject to diversity requirements set forth by the Executive.

The current members of the Nominating Committee (as of January 2019) are listed here.