English Department 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 only.  Feel free to contact English Department Chair Dr. Stephen Severn with any questions.

True Blue Core Writing Awards

The True Blue Core Writing Awards are administered by the English Department's General Education Office with the financial support of the Virginia Peck Trust 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.

First place winners in each category receive $600, second place winners $400, and third place $200.

Please contact Jayrah Trapp in General Education English office (Peck Hall 324), 615-898-2579, for full application requirements and the cover sheet, which must accompany the submission.

John N. McDaniel Teaching Awards

The John N. McDaniel Excellence in Teaching (PhD) and Promise in Teaching (MA) Awards were 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 GTA Orientation and in commenting on the winners' qualifications.

Originally supported by Cengage/Wadsworth, the award is now also supported by the McDaniel Award Fund and the Virginia Peck Trust 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. 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 $900 given at the spring English Department 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.

Contact Jayrah Trapp for more information.

Richard C. and Virginia Peck Awards

The Richard C. and Virginia Peck Awards were established in 1975 with a gift from Virginia Peck after Richard's death and have provided over $150,000 to outstanding English majors and graduate students. Students are nominated by English Faculty and are then selected by committee. Visit our English and the Pecks page for more information and a list of past winners.

N. C. Beasley Scholarship

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. Nominations come from English faculty for English majors with a minimum 2.5 GPA whose career choice is the teaching of English. Preference is given to applicants from the Shelbyville/Tullahoma area.

Virginia Derryberry Memorial Scholarship

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.

Neil D. Frazier Writing Award

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. Stephen Severn.

Christine Vaughan Scholarship

The Christine Vaughan Scholarship was established in 1983 in honor of Ms. 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.

Homer Pittard Creative Writing Scholarship

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, who will remain in school the following year. 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.

Heather Uffelman Scholarship

The Heather Uffelman Scholarship was established in 1992 in memory of MTSU student Heather Uffelman. Former MTSU student Jeremy Rolfs, Heather's fiance', started the scholarship and left the proceeds of his estate to it when he died in 1997. Because Heather and Jeremy were active in the Media and Entertainment College and in the English Department, the scholarship benefits students of both.

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.

Bill Brown Writing Scholarship (new for 2022)

Beginning in 2022, the BIll Brown Writing Scholarship is awarded to an English major with an interest in writing. Financial need as determined by the University is preferred, and preference is given to an individual from an underrepresented student population. Contact Dr. Stephen Severn for additional information.

William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Award

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 graduate student 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. Previous winners may not enter again; however, if Honorable Mentions are awarded, these honorees may enter again with new essays. Entries are evaluated by the Graduate Awards Committee. The winners will receive a monetary award and are recognized at the English Department Awards Ceremony. 

Contact Amanda Triplett in the Graduate English office, 615-898-2665, for more information.

William J. Connelly Writing Award

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's Outstanding Teacher Award, Dr. Connelly was  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 Nicole Leonce in the Undergraduate Studies English office, 615-898-2576, for more information.

Kevin J. Donovan Graduate Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Established in AY 2021–22, the goal of this award is to promote and recognize graduate student excellence in academic scholarship at both the MA and PhD levels. The naming of the award recognizes Professor Kevin J. Donovan’s achievements as a scholar and his active involvement in and leadership of the Graduate Program through his long service in graduate teaching and multiple terms as Director of Graduate Studies. The Kevin Donovan Graduate Award for Excellence in Scholarship is sponsored by the Virginia Peck Trust Fund.

For the first three years of the award, two $2500 awards for MA students and two $5000 awards for PhD students will be distributed, followed by one $3000 award for MA and one $6000 award for PhD students from the fourth year on.

Currently enrolled MA and PhD students who are in good academic standing and making progress toward completion of the degree are eligible to apply after completing 12 hours in the program. Applicants must provide application materials and a faculty letter of recommendation. Contact Amanda Triplett in the Graduate English office, 615-898-2665, for more information.

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Mailing Address:
Department of English
Middle Tennessee State University
Box 70
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Main Office: Peck Hall 302

Chair: Dr. Stephen Severn

Email: stephen.severn@mtsu.edu

Telephone: (615) 898-2648