The Rhetoric Society of America recognizes the achievements of its members through nine awards: five given annually and four given biennially.
The Book Award and Dissertation Award are presented annually for the best work in rhetorical studies published or defended by an RSA member in a given year. The annual Fellows’ Early Career Award recognizes the cumulative successes of an RSA member within eight years of completing their doctorate. The Charles Kneupper Award acknowledges the best article published in RSQ in a given year and is selected annually by a sub-committee of the RSQ Editorial Board. The Outstanding Student Chapter Award recognizes the efforts of RSA graduate student members as they advance the work of RSA through student chapters.
In even years (at its biennial conference), the Society presents the five awards described above as well as an additional four awards. It recognizes significant and sustained contributions to RSA and to the field by conferring the George E. Yoos Award and naming RSA Fellows. It celebrates exceptional mentoring of students and junior colleagues with the Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor. And it confers the Gerard A. Hauser Award for outstanding student papers presented at the conference.
The 2020 awards will be presented at the 2020 Biennial Conference for work published or defended in 2019.
Nominations for the Book Award, Dissertation Award, Fellows’ Early Career Award, and Outstanding Student Chapter Award are accepted annually. Nominations for RSA Fellows, the George E. Yoos Award, and the Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor are considered biennially. Any RSA Member meeting the criteria for each award (outlined below) is eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are welcome, though in some cases must be accompanied by additional supporting material.
An Awards Committees appointed by the RSA President oversees the selection of RSA Fellows and winners of the Book Award, Dissertation Award, George E. Yoos Award, and Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor. A committee of RSA Fellows named by the RSA Awards Chair chooses the recipient of the Fellows’ Early Career Award. The Editor of RSQ appoints a sub-committee of the editorial board to determine the recipient of the Charles Kneupper Award from the slate of all articles in that year’s volume-no nomination is necessary. The Outstanding Student Chapter Award review committee is comprised of the two graduate student/early career RSA board members and at least one other Board member. The RSA Board gives final approval for each of the above Award Committee recommendations. Gerard A. Hauser Award recipients are selected from nominated papers by a committee appointed by that year’s conference planner.
For more information about RSA Awards, please contact RSA Awards Committee Chair,
Ersula J. Ore
African & African American Studies
Arizona State University
Wilson Hall 240 Orange Mall
Tempe, AZ 85281
Click the title of the award below for a description and requirements:
The Rhetoric Society of America gives a Book Award for the best work published in rhetorical study in a given year. We welcome nominees in any branch of rhetorical studies.
Deadline for nominations: January 31, 2020
Prof. Robert Terrill will chair the 2020 RSA Book Award review committee. Follow this link to submit a nomination.
Nominations should include 4 copies of the book for consideration. Please send them to the Awards Steering Committee Chair at the address below:
Christa J. Olson
Department of English
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
If you wish to nominate yourself or someone else, the press is unwilling to provide four complimentary copies of the book, and the cost of submitting 4 copies is prohibitive, please contact Christa Olson by email to discuss alternatives.
Guidelines for Assessing Nominated Books:
In reviewing nominees for the Book Award, the Awards Committee considers:
- Strength and persuasiveness of argument
- Engaging style or readability
- Potential to promote rhetoric among scholars from other fields
- Potential to promote the general public's understanding of rhetoric
Nominations are reviewed by a Book Award Sub-Committee appointed by the chair of the Awards Committee of the RSA Board (including at least two members of the main Awards committee). The Steering committee forwards the sub-committee’s recommendation to the Board for final approval.Send any questions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books are eligible for the 2020 Book Award if they were published by RSA members between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. Generally, edited collections and second editions are not eligible for this award; translations are eligible. Book Award nominees must supply evidence that the book was published in 2019 (such as the date imprinted on the copyright page). Letters of nomination are welcome but not required. Authors may nominate their own work.
To be considered for the Book Award, a scholar must be a member of the RSA. The book award subcommittee will consider any book that has a designated author or authors who meet the eligibility requirements.
Conflict of Interest for the Book Award.
A member whose book is nominated for the RSA book award may not serve on the book award sub-committee. Members of the Book Awards Sub-Committee or the parent Awards Committee who feel that they are unable to be impartial in judging any nominee will recuse themselves from discussion of that nominee.
Charles Kneupper Award
The Charles Kneupper Award, given annually, recognizes the article published in that year's volume of Rhetoric Society Quarterly that the editorial board and the editor consider the most significant contribution to scholarship in rhetoric. The award is named to honor Charles Kneupper's contributions to the scholarly mission of RSA.
Cheryl Geisler Award
The Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor is presented biennially at the RSA conference. This award honors individuals who during their careers have demonstrated exceptional commitment to mentoring through such activities as guiding, supporting, and promoting the education, training and career development of their students or junior colleagues.
A committee of three RSA members appointed by the Chair of the RSA Awards Committee will review the nominations and select the winner.
All nominees must be current RSA Members.
Nominations should include:
- A formal nomination letter providing an overview and specific examples of how the person has been an exemplary professional mentor (2-page maximum);
- An abbreviated version of candidate’s curriculum vita (3-page maximum);
- Two supporting letters from former students and/or colleagues in the field who are able to comment on the effectiveness of the nominee as a professional mentor.
Prof. Ersula Ore will chair the 2020 Geisler Award review committee. Follow this link to submit a nomination.
Deadline for nominations: February 16, 2020.
The RSA Dissertation Award is presented annually for the best dissertation in the field of Rhetorical Studies completed by a student member of the Society.
Deadline for nominations: January 31, 2020.
Nominations should include (1) An abstract of the dissertation no longer than one double-spaced page; (2) the complete dissertation as a pdf file; (3) a letter of recommendation from the supervising professor certifying that the dissertation was defended within the eligibility period; and (4) a 35- page, double-spaced extract from a chapter of the dissertation, including all materials, e.g., references, charts, or images. Please do not include extracts from multiple chapters.
Prof. Maegan Parker Brooks will chair the 2020 Dissertation Award Committee. Follow this link to submit a nomination.
Guidelines for Assessing Nominated Dissertations:
- Originality: By this we mean the adoption of a fresh perspective or a new way of looking at/answering an ongoing question or perhaps, a new line of inquiry or considering new primary sources.
- Engagement with primary and secondary texts: Here, we were thinking about demonstrating depth and breadth of knowledge of text and context.
- Clear and engaging prose and style
- Strong prospect for publication as a book: This has to do with a project's readiness to contribute to the field.
Dissertations are eligible for the 2020 award if they were defended between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
To be considered for the Dissertation Award, the scholar must be a current member of RSA.
Fellows' Early Career Award
The Fellows' Early Career Award honors a current member of the Rhetoric Society of America who has established an innovative and robust research record within eight years of having earned the Ph.D. degree. Fellows' Early Career Award nominees should have a clear and impressive record of scholarly research, and they should exhibit the potential to contribute significantly to the field of rhetorical studies. A complete nomination file for the Early Career Award should include: (1) a letter of nomination that outlines the nominee’s credentials, (2) the nominee’s curriculum vitae, and (3) a copy of one chapter or article that best represents the quality and direction of the nominee’s scholarship. Self-nominations are welcome but should be accompanied by an additional letter of support.
Recipients will be selected annually by a committee composed of RSA Fellows to be named by the chair of the RSA Awards Steering Committee.
The Awards will be presented by a representative of the Fellows at the biennial RSA Conference.
Letters of nomination should address the following:
- A brief (~25 word) introductory statement of the nominee's major accomplishments that justify the nomination.
- A description of the nominee’s major research contribution and why is it considered leading edge. Relevant scholarly achievement is understood broadly as including not only books, articles and chapters, but also editorial work, public scholarship, and scholarship of teaching; such work may appear in either traditional printed form or in digital or other media.
- Ways in which this nominee's potential and current work have been recognized as especially promising.
- Influence on rhetorical education through publications, teaching activities, outreach, mentoring, etc.
Deadline for nominations: January 31, 2020.
George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award
The George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award is presented biennially to a member of the Society who has made significant and sustained contributions to RSA and to the field. The award is named in honor of George Yoos, a founding member of RSA, who served as founding editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly from 1975-1986 and as Executive Secretary from 1986-1995. Winners of the George E. Yoos Award, which automatically confers the status of Fellow, meet the criteria for Rhetoric Society Fellows and have made sustained contributions that have improved the Society.
Deadline for nominations: February 16, 2020.
Nominations should include (1) a letter describing how the nominee fits the award criteria, and (2) a copy of the nominee's CV.
Prof. Christa Olson will chair the 2020 George E. Yoos Award committee. Follow this link to submit a nomination.
Gerard A. Hauser Awards
The Gerard A. Hauser Award recognizes the best paper presented by a graduate student at the at the biennial RSA conference. A graduate student may submit no more than one essay for consideration for this award at any given RSA conference.
To be considered for the award, current graduate students must submit a complete version of a paper that has been accepted for inclusion in the upcoming biennial conference by the deadline set by the awards committee (usually in the February before the conference).
The following criteria are used in the selection of the submissions:
- significance to rhetorical studies (historical, critical, theoretical ,and/or pedagogical),
- quality of research design and execution,
- ample engagement with germane primary and secondary sources,
- a clear and engaging prose style.
Recipients of the Hauser Award are expected to present their award-winning papers at the Conference to which it was submitted. Recipients receive a free registration for the conference, a cash prize, and an acknowledgement during a public presentation of the award.
Send Hauser Award submissions to the conference organizer, RSA President-Elect Michelle Ballif at email@example.com. Submissions are due on February 16, 2020.
Lunsford Award info coming soon...
Outstanding Student Chapter Award
The Outstanding Graduate Student Chapter Award, given annually, recognizes the previous year’s most creative, engaged student chapter. A prize of $500 accompanies the award.
Deadline for nominations: February 16, 2020
Materials to submit:
Student chapters that wish to be considered for the Outstanding Graduate Student Chapter Award must submit the following materials (for up to 2 years):
- A table of membership including faculty advisor(s) and graduate student members with their year and department affiliation(s)
- An annotated list of student chapter events. This list may include business meetings, guest speaker events, social events, panel planning meetings, participation in the RSA webinar or previous Student Chapter Award events, and so on. Annotations may include descriptions of events, attendance, budget information, and so on.
- Any materials that substantiate events as flyers, brochures, websites, recordings, and so on.
- A 500-word maximum rationale highlighting the student chapter’s achievements.
Submissions and questions should be emailed to the Graduate Student / Early Career members of the RSA Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Notification of the awards decision will be sent to the person whose email account submitted the chapter proposal.
Criteria for selection: Competitive proposals will demonstrate that the graduate student chapter have met at least the following criteria:
- Has hosted or participated in interdisciplinary events that connect graduate students across departments
- Has designed and hosted events and activities that may be successfully duplicated at other institutions
- Has acted to expand the visibility and influence of RSA student chapters within the organization
- Has hosted or participated in events and activities that increase the visibility of RSA and reflect the interests of the organization
Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America have produced scholarship in rhetorical studies that is remarkable for its quality and quantity, have participated in the work of RSA, whether on the Board, on its committees, or in other capacities, and have worked to increase the visibility and influence of rhetorical studies through public lectures, teaching, advocacy, or other activities.
Deadline for nominations: February 16, 2020.
Nominations should include (1) a nomination letter describing the nominee's specific contributions and explaining why they merit the award, (2) a copy of the nominee's CV. (3) Two supporting letters offering additional perspectives on the nominee's contributions to rhetorical studies.
Prof. Christa Olson will chair the 2020 RSA Fellows review committee. Follow this link to submit a nomination.
RSA Student Chapters provide a forum for gathering locally as rhetoricians and can serve a variety of rhetoric-related functions.more information
Rhetoric Society Quarterly
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Become a Member
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Awards & Honors
The Rhetoric Society of America gives a Book Award and a Dissertation Award for the best work in rhetorical study in a given year.more information