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Award Criteria: 

Award-winning essays will possess all of the following characteristics:

  • Control of Syntax / Mechanics: Writing that includes sophisticated use of language, virtually error-free spelling, grammar and sentence mechanics, and has a strong sense of authorial “voice.” The paper will also include a clearly articulated thesis statement.
  • Information Literacy: Data and research that include a variety of facts, figures, and data that successfully support the authors’ argument. The author will also smoothly integrate high-quality sources into their argument at the sentence level.
  • Content Development and Organization: A topic that is addressed in a manner that is complex, nuanced, and acknowledges multiple perspectives on the issue.
  • Design/Visual Literacy: Expert deployment of visual rhetoric to appeal to the unique characteristics of online audiences
  • Critical Thinking: Carefully calibrated use of the four elements of rhetoric (Kairos, Ethos, Logos, Pathos).
  • Context and Purpose for Communication: An argument centering upon a topic that has recently risen to national/international prominence (i.e.: within the past 12 months or less).