The Frank Johnson Goodnow Award was established by the APSA Council in 1996 to honor service to the community of teachers, researchers, and public servants who work in the many fields of politics. Frank J. Goodnow, the first president of the American Political Science Association, a pioneer in the development of judicial politics, and former president of Johns Hopkins University, is an exemplar of the public service and volunteerism that this award represents.
Each year the Association solicits nominations from members of the Council, former winners, and APSA members. Nominations are then considered by the Goodnow Committee. One or more recipients may be selected, and in some years no recipients may be named. Recipients are approved by the APSA Administrative Committee.