Students in a First-Year Writing Seminar

Awards for Students and Instructors

You are here

 

Indispensable Reference

Awards for Students and Instructors


 

The Knight Institute celebrates work in First-Year Writing Seminars by offering several prizes and awards for FWs students and FWS instructors. The winners will be announced to the Cornell community, and copies of winning submissions will be made available to interested persons. You will receive further information about all contests at the end of each semester.


Awards of $300 each are offered for excellent expository writing in a First-Year Writing Seminar. To be eligible for these awards, essays must have been written in response to an instructor's assignment. Student essays are eligible for possible publication in Discoveries, the Institute’s annual compilation of prize-winning student essays.

Elmer Markham Johnson Prize

This prize is given in memory of Elmer Markham Johnson, who taught first-year English at Cornell and served as Chancellor of Telluride House. (Fall only)

James E. Rice, Jr. Awards

The generosity of the Adelphic Cornell Educational Fund allows us to offer two James E. Rice, Jr. ’30 awards each semester for excellent expository writing in a First-Year Writing Seminar. (Fall and Spring)

Adelphic Award

The Adelphic Award is sponsored by the Adelphic Cornell Educational Fund. Each semester an award of $300 is made for the best essay written in a First-Year Writing Seminar by a student whose native language is other than English. (Fall and Spring)

Gertrude Spencer Essay Prize

The Gertrude Spencer prize of $350 each will be awarded to an instructor (graduate student) and his/her student for work together that led to the student’s finished essay. The teacher may, for example, have designed a sequence of readings accompanied by journal entries, one-paragraph analyses of texts, a rough draft, and a revision, culminating in a student essay. The essay itself may well be one that is significant not because it is “perfect” but because it shows that the student improved significantly in understanding of the discipline and in ability to write within that discipline. Student essays are eligible for possible publication in Discoveries. (Fall and Spring)

Gertrude Spencer Portfolio Award

This prize, in the amount of $350 to the instructor (graduate student) and $350 to his/her student, is given in memory of Gertrude Spencer and will be awarded to a student and instructor in recognition of excellence in the development of a portfolio of the student’s essays.

A portfolio (including a minimum of four essays and no more than seven) might display the growth in the student’s writing ability over the course of the semester; it might show the excellence of the student’s work in a variety of modes of writing; it might display the excellence and development of a student’s work with a particular topic. Student essays are eligible for possible publication in Discoveries. (Fall and Spring)

Neil Lobow Prize

Through the generosity of the Riger Potash Family Fund and with the sponsorship of the Cornell Program on Ethics and Public Life, this prize is given in memory of Neil Lubow ’66, who was a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. It is awarded for an outstanding essay in ethics, including moral philosophy and ethical issues in public policy, science, business, and personal life.

An award of $300 is made for the best essay submitted from a First-Year Writing Seminar, English 2880/90 (Expository Writing), or a Writing in the Majors. Publication of winning essays in Discoveries is also possible. (Fall and Spring)

Knight Award for Writing Exercises

The Knight Award for Writing Exercises recognizes excellence in short exercises and/or handouts designed by graduate student instructors to improve student writing. Appropriate topics may be drawn from the whole range of writing issues such as development of theses, use of primary sources, organization of evidence, awareness of audience, attention to sentence patterns (e.g., passive/ active voice; coordination/ subordination), attention to diction, uses of punctuation, attention to mechanics (e.g., manuscript formats, apostrophes). Exercises and handouts may be developed for use in and/or out of class.

Submissions should comprise three parts: (1) a copy of the handouts or instructions that go to students, (2) an explanation of the exercise/handout and of the principles behind it addressed to future instructors who may use the material, and (3) if possible, an example of a student response. Submissions may range in length from one to five pages. Winning exercises and handouts, receiving $350, will be posted on the Knight Institute’s website at the "Archive of Teaching Materials" link. (Fall and Spring)

James F. Slevin Assignment Sequence Prize

The James F. Slevin Assignment Sequence prize of $500 will be made to the graduate student insructor submitting the best sequence of writing assignments used in a First-Year Writing Seminar. (Fall and Spring)

Assignment sequences in a writing course are built around a series of essay topics, but submissions should also include a rationale and a description of your plans for eliciting and responding to student drafts and revisions. You might also describe your ideas on how you ready students for each essay assignment, for example by engaging them in preparatory writing exercises, including informal writing designed to help students understand the material on which they subsequently write formal essays. Reflections on what worked well, and why, and on what you would change another time would be welcome. Winning Assignment sequences will be posted on the Knight Institute's website at the "Archive of Teaching Materials" link. (Fall and Spring)

Information Literacy Assignment Sequence Prize

This prize of $500, awarded by the Olin and Uris Libraries, will go to the graduate student instructor submitting the best sequence of information literacy assignments used in a First-Year Writing Seminar. Assignment sequences must incorporate information literacy as a key component of a research assignment. The sequence should also include a collaboration with a librarian. Examples of such collaboration include interacting with an instruction librarian through the assignment design process and/or a library instruction session. Submissions should also include: a rationale and a description of your plans for eliciting and responding to student research performance; a description of how you prepare students for each assignment, for example by engaging them in preliminary exercises; and a brief reflection on what worked well and why, and on what you would change another time.


Back to Indispensable Reference for Teachers of First-Year Writing Seminars Table of Contents