Independent Review Committee
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In 2016, the GCLS Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the awards process. The Independent Review Committee ("IRC") Reports were presented to the Board of Directors and GCLS Membership during the 13th Annual Conference in Chicago, IL and the 14th Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

The IRC proposed, and the Board has agreed to, several changes that were implemented in the 2018 and 2019 Awards cycles.

IRC presentations, board reports and research reports are listed below and available for download. Also available for download are IRC member bios and lists of GCLS volunteers who worked on 2019 evaluation instruments and judging-related committees.

During the Membership Meeting at the Las Vegas conference, the GCLS Board of Directors recognized IRC members and thanked all who participated in this remarkable effort to improve the Goldie Awards. IRC work officially concluded at the end of the conference.


The IRC's primary goals for this project were as follows:

  • Conduct an independent review to ensure the quality, integrity and prestige of the GCLS awards process, a key component of GCLS's stated mission: "to recognize and promote lesbian-themed literary work."

  • Make recommendations for how the awards process can be improved so best books have an even better chance of being recognized as Goldie finalists and Goldie winners.

  • Suggest ways to implement recommended improvements in the 2018 awards and beyond.

  • Develop survey instruments, metrics and other devices as benchmarks for subsequent reviews.


  • Virginia Dodge Fielder (chair): Retired corporate executive and market researcher for newspaper industry. GCLS member for seven years. Attended ten conferences with partner KG MacGregor.

  • Donna Brown: GCLS member since beginning. Served as Goldie judge for one term. Avid reader and Xena: Warrior Princess fan. Administrative Assistant for sheriff's department.

  • Jane Chen: Won Goldie in 2010 writing as Trinity Tam (with wife Nell Stark) for everafter. Has attended four conferences. Marketing VP and Harvard grad.

  • Leigh Howell: Attended eight GCLS conferences with sister Lynne Pierce of Lesfic Unbound. Former editor for Blue Feather Books. Lives with husband Steve.

  • MJ Lowe: GCLS member since 2004. Served on Board of Directors in 2008-2010 and as Awards Administrator for 2012-2014. Librarian by trade and training.

  • Elaine Lynch: Attended 12 conventions. Served as Goldie judge five times. Been reviewing books since 2005. Married to GCLS Trailblazer Lee Lynch. Retired Quality Control specialist.

  • Rosa Moran: GCLS member since beginning. Attended all conferences and awards ceremonies. Served as judge for four years. "Techie" by trade and training.

  • Sharon Owens: Avid reader belonging to GCLS for seven years. Attended six conferences. Been presenter at awards ceremony. Retired library worker and former attorney.

For more detailed committee bios, please download the PDF documents in the list below.


Awards Administrators and Board Liaisons

12 open-ended surveys sent via email on 7/28/16 to ask about perceived strengths and weaknesses in the awards process, plus recommendations for improvements. Top-line results from 11 respondents completed on 8/15/16 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – Administrative Assistants and Board Liaisons.

Publishers

12 open-ended surveys sent via email on 8/31/16 to ask about perceived strengths and weaknesses in the awards process, plus recommendations for improvements. Top-line results from 11 publishers completed on 9/22/16 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – GCLS Publishers.

Awards Nominators

Quantitative surveys sent on 11/1/16 to 107 authors/publishers/readers who nominated books for the 2017 Goldie Awards to assess key elements of the submissions process. Top-line results from 32 nominators completed on 11/21/16 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – Awards Nominators.

Goldie Judges

Former 2015 Judges: 31 open-ended surveys sent via email on 11/21/16 to people who judged the Goldie Awards in 2015 but not  in 2016 to ask about perceived strengths and weaknesses in the awards judging process, plus recommendations for improvements. Top-line results from 15 former judges completed on 12/12/16 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – Former Goldie Judges.

2016 Judges69 quantitative surveys sent via email on 3/5/17 to people who judged the 2016 Goldie Awards to assess key elements of the judging process and to secure reaction to specific suggestions for improvements. Top-line results from 43 judges completed on 3/19/2017 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – 2016 Goldie Judges.

GCLS Membership

Quantitative survey emailed on 5/5/17 to 593 eligible GCLS members to ask about the Ann Bannon and Tee Corrine specialty awards. Top-line results from 150 responses completed on 5/22/17 and summarized in document entitled IRC Research – 2017 Membership Survey.

Key Metrics

Analysis of metrics on entries, publishers and awards in past three awards cycles (2016, 2015 and 2014), plus metrics on judges for 2017 and 2016, completed on 1/5/17. Results detailed in document entitled IRC Research – GCLS Key Metrics.

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