FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Chairman’s Award Updates Blog

Aug 20, 2020 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

Back to Blog

Add new comment