The Fichter Award Committee "will solicit applications, judge their merit, and allocate the funds available" for Joseph H. Fichter Research Grants "within guidelines established by the Executive Council. The Committee will also triennially review the topic area [for the grants] and make recommendations to the Executive Council."

The work of the Fichter Award Committee as far as grants are concerned is quite clear cut. Guidelines for applicants are posted on the Web site and distributed at RRA/SSSR by the Executive Officer. The Chair may choose to distribute the guidelines elsewhere. The Chair of the committee receives the applications and distributes them to the other members. Normally the Chair is the senior member of the committee, but an incoming president may appoint someone else as Chair if s/he desires. In that case, the Chair would be a nonvoting member of the committee, except in the case of ties. Grant proposals normally are due the 1st of March, and awards are announced the 1st of May. Both the Chair and the Executive Officer receive a fair number of inquiries about the program across the academic year. The Chair should check the names of all the applicants with the Executive Officer prior to distributing the applications to ensure that they have met the Association's membership requirement.

When the committee has made its decision, it is the responsibility of the Chair to notify all the applicants of the committee's decision, and to send to the Executive Officer the names of the awardees along with their proposals (but not the supporting documents). Neither the Chair nor the Awardees are required to attend the annual meeting, but if they are present, the Chair will be recognized to announce/recognize the Awardees. Normally the amount of the award is not announced.

Administration of the funds is entirely in the hands of the Executive Officer, and the Chair should make no commitment to a grantee regarding disbursement procedures. (But in no case will the ASR pay "overhead" or "administrative" costs to another institution.)

The flow and level of grant applications varies significantly. How the grants are awarded is entirely within the discretion of the committee, hence the entire amount may be given to a single proposal or the money may be divided. Often proposals are only partially funded. At least once all of the funding was not distributed, in spite of proposals that could have used it all, because the committee felt some of the proposals were not worth funding.

The triennial review of the topic area is next due in 2003. Future reviews can be determined from that date. The topic area is currently defined as women and religion, gender studies, and studies using feminist theory and/or methods. The topic area is set by Council for the triennium, after considering the committee's recommendation.