Student Awards and Scholarships
The English Department is proud to offer student awards at all levels of education. Scholarships apply to declared English majors and graduate students. All processes and guidelines are listed below. Please note that some require nomination by department faculty.
Feel free to contact English Department Chair Dr. Stephen Severn with any questions.
- The General Education Writing Award
- The John N. McDaniel Excellence in Teaching Award
- The Richard C. and Virginia Peck Awards
- The Neil D. Frazier Writing Award
- The William J. Connelly Writing Award
- The William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Award
- The Christine Vaughan Scholarship
- The Heather Uffelman Scholarship
- The Homer Pittard Creative Writing Scholarship
- The N. C. Beasley Scholarship
- The Virginia Derryberry Memorial Scholarship
The General Education Writing Awards are administered by the English Department's Lower Division Office with the financial support of the Peck Fund. Essays from students enrolled in English 1009, 1010, 1020, 2020 and 2030 in the summer, fall, or spring semester are eligible. The student's essay must be nominated by the faculty member for whom the essay was written.
Specific details about the criteria and the current semester's deadlines can be found below as well as copy of the coversheet that you can download.
First place winners in each category receive $300, second place winners $200, and third place $100. See Karen Hillman in Peck 324 for a cover sheet, which must accompany the submission.
The John N. McDaniel Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 2006 to honor former English department Chair and Dean of Liberal Arts John N. McDaniel and to recognize exceptional teaching by graduate students. At one point in his long career, Dean McDaniel served as GTA Coordinator and forever remained a champion of quality teaching. He took great pleasure in presenting the awards at the annual fall TA Orientation and in commenting on the winners' qualifications.
Originally supported by Cengage/Wadsworth, the award is now also supported by the McDaniel Award Fund. Applications are accepted each spring from MA and PhD students currently teaching at MTSU who have a history of successful teaching; applications are then evaluated by a committee of faculty members also charged with visiting applicants' classes. In an attempt to recognize the teaching of students at various stages in their academic careers, applications will be separated into an MA category and a PhD category, with up to two awards of $500 given at the spring Liberal Arts Award Ceremony. If an award winner in either category cannot be decided upon, the award does not have to be awarded or two awards in one of the categories could be given.
For more information contact Dr. Julie Barger.
The Richard C. and Virginia Peck Awards were established in 1975 with a gift from Virginia Peck after Richard Peck's death and have provided over $150,000 to outstanding English majors. Students are nominated by the English Faculty and are then selected by the committee charged with administering the funds. Stipends are presented each year to academically talented and deserving English majors, graduate and undergraduate, who have been identified by faculty as deserving of the honor and encouragement.
For more information contact Dr. Claudia Barnett.
The N.C. Beasley Scholarship was established in 1980 to honor the former MTSU Dean of Admissions and father of former English Department Chair William Beasley. It is awarded to an English major with a minimum 2.5 GPA whose career choice is the teaching of English. Preference is given to applicants from the Shelbyville/Tullahoma area. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the Spring 1999 semester.
The Virginia Derryberry Memorial Scholarship was established in 1994 by Virginia's sister, Dr. Faye Julian, in honor of this colleague of more than thirty years. The Derryberry Scholarships go to English majors who plan to teach at the middle school, high school, or college level. Students must have at least 30 credit hours and must demonstrate both need and academic achievement (a 3.0 GPA minimum). Faculty nominate students for this award during fall semester; nominated students who meet the qualifications are then invited to apply early in spring semester. Under certain circumstances, the scholarship is renewable. For more information contact Dr. Pat Bradley.
The Neil D. Frazier Writing Award was established in 1982 by two former students and commemorates the first chair of the English Department. From 1923 until his death in 1944, he taught a very popular course entitled "The Bible as Literature." Paul and Karen Gore Farmer, who have enjoyed long and distinguished careers in public education, were so fund of Mr. Frazier that they have generously underwritten this award by a contribution to the MTSU Foundation.
Open to any undergraduate or graduate student, this award is given annually for the best original essay (1000-2500 words in length) on the use or influence of the Bible in literature or in the other humanities. For more information contact Dr. Bob Petersen.
The Christine Vaughan Scholarship was established in 1983 in honor of our longtime colleague from Manchester, Tennessee. Miss Vaughan, who taught in the public schools and at MTSU, specialized in children's literature and "Methods and Materials of Teaching English." She was an officer in various state and national educational organizations, a life long resident of Manchester, TN, and a world traveler. Her true passion in life was teaching, and she has been described as a person who "lived a long, exemplary life, a fine woman who loved to have fun. She gathered students around her, cared for them, and encouraged and educated them to become teachers." The scholarship, funded by her colleagues and friends, is awarded annually to an English major from Coffee County. For more information contact Dr. Bene Cox.
The Homer Pittard Creative Writing Scholarship was established to honor Homer Pittard, a longtime member of the Education Department. The scholarship is awarded each year to an English or History student, junior or senior, just as long as the recipient plans on being in school the following year, and preference is given to students for whom an interest in creative writing is central. The deadline each year is sometime early in the spring, with the announcement of scholarships (sometimes one, but often two) made later in the semester. Distribution of funds is divided between the two semesters of the following academic year. Applicants must complete a simple application. For more information contact Dr. Gaylord Brewer.
The Heather Uffelman Scholarship was established in 1992 in memory of our student Heather Uffelman. Jeremy Rolfs, Heather's fiance', another of our students, started the scholarship and left the proceeds of his estate to it when he died in 1997. Because Heather and Jeremy were active both in the Media and Entertainment College and in the English Department, the scholarship benefits students of either department.
The scholarship is available to students who reflect Heather's love of the written word and her dedication to media projects; it is awarded in the spring semester. Applicants compete in an essay contest, with finalists interviewed by faculty members representing both departments. For more information contact Dr. Mary Nichols.
The William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Award is named after the late Dr. William R. Wolfe, former Director of Graduate Studies in English, and supported by the Peck Fund. This award goes to the authors of the best essays written each year in MTSU English graduate courses. A student may submit only one essay, perhaps revised, written for a graduate course in the Spring, Summer, or Fall semester of the previous calendar year. Entries will be read by a committee appointed by the Graduate Director. The cash reward up to $1000 is given in the spring, and the winners are recognized at the Liberal Arts Awards Ceremony.
Contact Debbie Flanigan, Graduate English, 898-2665, for more information
The William J. Connelly Writing Award is designed to recognize excellence in student writing at the upper-division level. Dr. William (Bill) Connelly was a member of the English department from 1970-2008 and chair from 1997-2005. A recipient of the MTSU Foundation's Outstanding Teacher Award, Dr. Connelly was the first organizing director of Developmental Studies, a long-standing director of the English upper-division program, and Associate Chair before becoming Chair. In naming this award after him, the department wishes to recognize, in a small way, his outstanding service as a teacher, scholar, administrator and mentor.
Contact the upper division English office at 898-2576, for more information.
Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Main Office: Peck Hall 302
Chair: Dr. Stephen Severn
Telephone: (615) 898-2648