2020 Writing Program awards

Each year the English Department at The University of Tulsa distributes Writing Program awards in three different categories to recognize the outstanding achievements of TU students. 

The Outstanding Freshman Essay contest is annual, and students in the first-year Writing Program courses are encouraged to submit an essay from course work from the fall or spring semester. The contest is judged by a faculty membertypically in the English Department, according to a rubric provided by the Writing Program.  

Students or peer instructors may submit nominations for the Outstanding Writing Program Instructor and Writing Center Consultant of the Year awards based on a form provided in all Writing Program Student Guides. Nominees submit a copy of their teaching or consulting portfolio for review and an administrator from the College of Arts and Sciences serves as a judge of this award. 

This year, Megan Whitley and Linda Hudson, post-doctoral fellows in the English Department, judged the Freshman Essay Contest submissions, and Associate Dean Kirsten Olds judged the Instructor/Consultant of the Year Award.

Erica McAlester

Outstanding Freshman Essay Winner: Erica McAlester  

Erica McAlester wrote “Food Deserts: A Prominent Issue” for instructor Hannah Covington in Exposition and Argumentation during the fall 2019 semester. 

This essay convincingly argues for the relevance of its topic, food deserts, showing a thorough understanding of several factors that contribute to the phenomenon and addressing a variety of arguments surrounding the issue. The author is especially strong in balancing multiple points of view while strongly presenting their own case with evidence from relevant scholarly texts as well as timely local sources and maintaining a clear thesis and argument throughout with smooth transitions between points.  

We felt that this essay stood out because of its clarity, sense of purpose, strong use of evidence and compelling relevance to our culture more broadly, but especially as concerns the Tulsa community. The food deserts in North Tulsa have been problematic for many years and have attracted little interest by the rest of the Tulsa community, a problem this author seeks to remedy. These problems are well documented in this paper, along with intelligent, well-thought-out solutions, Whitley and Hudson said.  

Outstanding Writing Program Instructor of the Year Award Winner: Annie Paige  

Annie Paige is a teaching assistant and a graduate student in the English Ph.D program. 

I appreciate Annie’s obvious commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her focus on rhetorical analysis seems to help her advance those goals for all students. Her syllabus is clear, organized and parceled out into discrete writing skills, and student evaluation comments display students’ appreciation for her evident enthusiasm and care. Evaluation responses also reveal that the detailed feedback Annie provides is appreciated by students, Olds said. 

Seona KimOutstanding Writing Center Consultant of the Year Award Winner: Seona Kim  

Seona Kim is a teaching assistant and graduate student in the English Ph.D program.  

Kim’s empathy for students is demonstrated throughout the materials she submitted; it is evident that she cares about students as individuals and wants to help them not simply with their assignment but with their confidence overall. Student survey responses are extremely high, and the qualitative data confirms this as well. Student comments, such as The advice she presented made my piece sound stronger and enthusiastic, and I feel much more confident about my paper, and I now have a greater understanding as to what a professional argumentative essay should be,’ demonstrate that students who met with her left with knowledge, tools with which to approach their writing and belief in their own abilities, Olds said.