Skip to main content

Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing

Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing Application

The Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing has been made possible through the generosity of former West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton. This award will support improvements in the writing skills of undergraduate and graduate students by recognizing tenured faculty members who exhibit dedication and proficiency in the teaching of writing.

Governor Caperton's intent was to increase awareness of the need for improved writing skills through his position as President of the College Board and its establishment of the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges. In addition to identifying strong writing skills as a critical issue necessary to maintain America's competitive edge in the global market, he has developed initiatives to improve writing skills among high school and college students.

The Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing is intended to encourage the faculty to emphasize the importance of effective written communication across the disciplines. Writing skills are most often stressed in the disciplines of English, journalism, and education, but strong writing and communication skills are critical in every field. Additionally, the minds-on engagement required to write effectively enhances student learning of the material and may contribute to student retention.

Raising expectations of the quality and frequency of student writing across the curriculum and at every level, from large-section introductory courses to capstone courses, and in a wide range of disciplines including engineering and the health sciences as well as the arts, humanities, and sciences, will strengthen the academic core of the University, heighten the value of the education provided by the University, and increase the competitiveness of graduates in the global market. The educational environment will become more conducive to teaching and learning because students with strong writing skills will be better prepared to encounter and respond to sophisticated subject matter.

Recipients of the award will receive $5,000 in professional support and they are not eligible to again receive the award for a period of eight years. Tenured faculty members from any discipline are eligible to apply. The application is limited to a two-page narrative, five pages of supporting appendices, and a five-page abridged curriculum vitae. A committee of three members, appointed by the Provost, will evaluate applications and recommend the award recipient.  The Provost will make the final decision.

Applicants should submit materials that best document their excellence in the teaching of writing. Applicants (not nominators) should submit a narrative statement describing the role of writing in their pedagogy with supporting evidence of teaching activities that utilize writing assignments to enhance student learning, communication skills, and content knowledge within and beyond the classroom. Applicants are encouraged to reflect in their applications on the objectives, activities, and outcomes of writing-intensive courses and capstone courses. Evidence of a demonstrated effort to understand best practices in teaching writing is desirable. Letters from students can be included as supporting evidence.

Applications must be received, with all required documents, by Monday, February 5, 2024. No late applications will be accepted.  Applications, including the required documents, are to be uploaded to Digital Measures under Archived Reports and Documents in Other Submissions. Please select the current Academic Year, select Award: Excellence in the Teaching of Writing in the submission type and upload your materials in the Initial Faculty Submission.  Any applications that are incomplete at the deadline or exceed the limitations on maximum length of 13 pages, including the cover page, will not be considered.

For additional information, please email or call 304-293-2021.