Martinson Award of Excellence

The Martinson Award of Excellence recognizes an innovative and successful initiative in a writing program or writing center from a SLAC-WPA member college. The award was created to honor the accomplishments of Deborah Martinson, who passed away in 2014. Deb was an active, engaged member of SLAC-WPA; she hosted the annual conference, served on the executive board, and built and supported writing communities within and beyond our organization. Deb was known among her colleagues both at Occidental College and in the larger community for her boundless spirit, her insight and intelligence, and her wisecracking sense of humor. Her simultaneous dedication to both writing program design and writing instruction that helps students overcome academic barriers characterizes Deb Martinson’s career and the criteria for this award.

Call for Nominations for the 2024 Martinson Innovation Award

This award recognizes an innovative and successful initiative in a writing program or writing center from a SLAC-WPA member college. The award was created to honor the accomplishments of our colleague Deborah Martinson, who passed away in 2014. Deb was an active, engaged member of SLAC-WPA; she hosted our annual conference, served on the executive board, and built and supported writing communities within and beyond our organization. Deb was known among her colleagues both at Occidental and in the larger community for her boundless spirit, her insight and intelligence, and her wisecracking sense of humor. Her simultaneous dedication to both writing program design and writing instruction that helps students overcome academic barriers characterizes Deb Martinson’s career and the criteria for this award.

Deb believed that SLAC writing programs did not always get the attention and recognition they deserved. If left to Deb, she would shine a spotlight on the wonders of each of our programs. 

To begin the spotlight process, the Martinson Innovation Award Committee invites nominations, including self-nominations, for the Martinson Innovation award. To be eligible for the award, the initiative must be led by at least one person who participates in SLAC-WPA events and discussions, and it will accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Adapt writing program/writing center best practices to build and support programs that connect students, faculty, and staff to each other and/or to the community beyond the college.
  • Facilitate a program or center for students, faculty, and staff that helps students overcome barriers to success.
  • Use resources imaginatively to serve writing program / writing center and institutional / community needs.

Examples of such initiatives might include:

  • Writing program initiatives addressing the challenges of hybrid work on residential campuses in a post-COVID world;
  • Anti-racist initiatives specific to writing centers and writing programs;
  • Writing Associates/Writing Fellows program that demonstrates new or innovative collaboration;
  • Writing Center innovations that explore novel paths to reaching desired objectives;
  • Writing pedagogy across departments and divisions that revitalizes curriculum or fosters new communities;
  • Course offerings in writing, writing pedagogy, and rhetoric at all levels;
  • Pedagogy courses or undergraduate research initiatives that encourage peer tutors to write, publish, and present their discoveries;
  • Support for people whose first language is not English informed by dedicated professional development for those who support them; and/or
  • Programmatic research that benefits the field.

To nominate a program or center, please submit your nomination using this Google form, which includes the following prompts:

  • Briefly explain the details (the what and how) of the initiative.
  • What is innovative about the project within a SLAC context? Or, how might the initiative provide a model to other SLAC writing programs?
  • What prompted this innovation? What circumstances led you to innovate?
  • What happened as a result of the initiative? What were the outcomes? 

Feel free to include links to relevant resources, websites, or documentation, along with a sentence or two describing how these resources support your application, and please ensure that the committee members have viewing access to any links.

After the deadline for nominations passes, the committee will contact each nominee to ask if they would like to be included for consideration. At this time the committee may request additional materials in order to make a final decision; nominees will be notified by the end of August about the award.

This year’s Martinson Award Committee is Alicia Brazeau (Wooster), Leigh Ann Dunning (Stetson College), Bridget Fullerton (Bates College), and Scott Whiddon (Transylvania University).

Application Form: Deadline for Nominations is June 15, 2024