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Scholarships and Awards

Minnaar Writing Awards

The English Department is pleased to recognize excellent writing in Written Rhetoric through the Joseph and June Minnaar awards.

Annually, the English Department will make five awards:

  • one for best essay in any genre,
  • first and second place for short essays (3-5 pages), and
  • first and second place for research essays.

The winner of the overall award for the best essay from both categories will receive a check for $100.

Students who receive first and second place awards will receive checks for $75 and $50 respectively.

Because revision is an important part of the writing process, the Program Formation and Assessment Committee encourages you to discuss revision ideas with your Written Rhetoric instructor. You may submit no more than two essays for the awards.

To submit an essay for consideration, submit the following to the Director of Written Rhetoric (Prof. Elizabeth Vander Lei):

  • One clean copy of the essay with no identifying information (student name, instructor name, section letter, etc.);
  • A one-paragraph description of the essay assignment and the student's process for completing the assignment and a one-paragraph description of the revision process that the student followed in preparing the essay for the Minnaar Awards;
  • A Minnaar Award cover sheet with the signature of the student's instructor.

The Program Formation and Assessment Committee will read the essays and rank them according to the following criteria:

  • The focus of the essay: unity, clarity, significance, and insightfulness;
  • The structure of the essay: relationship of thesis or central idea to essay organization, use of supporting data, development of ideas throughout the essay, and use of detail;
  • The structure of the paragraphs and sentences: paragraph development, use of metaphor or analogy, sentence style, and word choice.

For the research essay, the committee will also consider the following:

  • Research sources: variety, number, and appropriateness;
  • Means of incorporating sources: method of integrating source material and form of source material (quote, block quote, paraphrase, summary);
  • Documentation: presence and form.

How to Apply

Download a cover sheet.

Submit the form and the supporting materials described on this page to Prof. Elizabeth Vander Lei.

Applications are due November 30 for the fall semester, and April 24 in the spring.

2013 Recipients

Overall Award
Julia LaPlaca
1st Place Short Essay
Leah Baas
2nd Place Short Essay
Claire Lambert
1st Place Research Essay
Riemer Praamsma
2nd Place Research Essay
Michael Fennema