The Janice M. Lauer Institutional Achievement Award in Rhetoric & Composition Doctoral Studies

Sponsored by the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric & Composition


Janice M. Lauer was the Reece McGee Distinguished Professor of English at Purdue University, where she founded, directed, and taught in the graduate program in Rhetoric and Composition. In 1995, Janice Lauer conceived of and founded the Doctoral Consortium of Programs in Rhetoric and Composition.

Professor Lauer received the 1998 CCCC Exemplar Award, co-authored two textbooks, coedited the composition entries to The Encyclopedia of English Studies and Language Arts, and published on invention, persuasive writing, classical rhetoric, and composition studies as a discipline. For thirteen years, she directed a national summer Rhetoric Seminar. She also chaired the College Section of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and served on the executive committees of CCCC, the MLA Group on the History and Theory of Rhetoric, and the Rhetoric Society of America. 


The purpose of this award is two-fold:

First, to memorialize the long-time disciplinary impact of rhetoric and composition/writing studies scholar, Professor Emerita Janice M. Lauer, whose contributions have benefitted doctoral programs in rhetoric and composition worldwide.                                     

Second, to recognize institutional achievements in doctoral education in rhetoric & composition/writing studies that exemplify Professor Lauer’s innovative spirit, scholarly grace, and professional persistence.

Frequency/Number of Awards

One award and up-to-two honorable mentions shall be conferred annually.

Eligibility and Award Criteria

To be eligible for this award, candidates must demonstrate an institutional innovation that enhances doctoral education and student development in rhetoric and composition/writing studies through its excellence and impact. Areas of possible contribution include, but are not limited to, research, curriculum, pedagogy, professional development, mentoring, policy development, technology, and vision and leadership. 

This award is designed for an “institutional” initiative, not for an individual teacher-scholar. In the spirit of Professor Lauer’s Summer Seminars in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Detroit and Purdue University, the Consortium intends to recognize collaborations, alliances, teams, seminars, workshops, laboratories, think tanks, and activities that may or may not originate in an individual PhD program. An eligible program nomination could involve multiple participants in and/or across universities, communities, and constituencies. For example, the award might recognize collaboration within institutions or across institutions. The award, as another example, might recognize an initiative based in a professional organization that serves doctoral programs. The award might also recognize ad hoc teams that produce tools and technologies that enhance doctoral education in general and benefit doctoral students in rhetoric and composition specifically. This award might recognize initiatives to modify curricula and professional development to broaden PhD goals from academic to alt-academic careers. Overall, the Consortium seeks nominations of institutional innovations with broad impact, i.e., replicable, sustainable, inspirational. Strong institutional or organizational candidates, by self or external nomination, will show strength, dedication, and impact to the field of rhetoric and composition.

Nomination Processes and Procedures

The Chair of the Consortium places a call for volunteers to serve on a three-member Award Selection Committee. When appropriate, the Chair of the Consortium may invite a designated representative of the previous year’s award recipient to serve as the third member of the Award Selection Committee. 

The nomination process begins with a digital letter of nomination. The nomination letter identifies the nominated institutional initiative and a designated contact person for the group, i.e., name, address, phone/text number, email. It should address the above criteria by briefly describing the innovation, defining its area of contribution, and explaining its excellence and impact. The letter is signed and includes the nominator’s contact information. Self-nominations are accepted. Letters of nomination are due in June. The nomination letters are emailed to the current Chair of the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric & Composition. Nominees will be notified of their nomination. Nominees may withdraw their nomination. The letters are reviewed by the award committee in order to identify a short list of no more than three nominated initiatives. Those initiatives not selected are notified, thanked for their nomination, and invited to submit in future years.

The identified initiatives are then invited to submit a support documentation package. The Awards Selection Committee will provide guidelines for documentation. The documentation package is emailed to the current Chair of the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric & Composition. Documentation packages are due in September.

Notification Processes and Procedures

Notifications about the award process include (1) an acknowledgment confirming and verifying receipt of the nomination package, (2) any appropriate communication about the process, e.g., professional courtesies regarding progress or delays, and (3) the outcome.


May 1, 2023: Call for nominations. Please send nominations to ridolfo at gmail dot com.

June 30, 2023: Nomination letter deadline. Please send nomination letters to ridolfo at gmail dot com.

July 30, 2023: Shortlist announced. Nominators thanked and notified.

September 30, 2023: Support documentation package deadline. Please send nomination packages to ridolfo at gmail dot com.

October – January: Award Committee deliberations.

February: Notification of award recipient and honorable mentions. 

March- April: Award presentation. The recipient will be publicly announced at the annual gathering of the Doctoral Consortium during the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication.


The Consortium wishes to thank Dr. Louise Phelps, Dr. Hugh Burns, Dr. Cristina Ramirez, Dr. Julia Romberger, and Dr. Kevin DePew for their work on this award.