All Awards

Cheryl Geisler Award for outstanding mentor

The Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor is presented biennially at the RSA conference. This award honors individuals who during their careers have demonstrated exceptional commitment to mentoring through such activities as guiding, supporting, and promoting the education, training and career development of their students or junior colleagues.


In consultation with the RSA President and the Chair of the Committee on Committees and no later than December of the year prior to the award date, the ASC Chair identifies three RSA members to serve on the Geisler award selection committee. 

  • The Chair of the selection committee may be a member of the Awards Steering Committee or may be drawn from the RSA membership. 
  • The other three members of the committee should reflect the diversity of rhetorical studies with regard to rank, institution type, and identity categories.


All RSA members are eligible to be nominated for the Geisler Award.


Nominations are reviewed by the Geisler Award selection committee, a sub-committee of the Awards Steering Committee, which recommends winners to the Board for final approval. 

In reviewing nominations to the Geisler Award, the selection committee considers:

  • The nominee’s history of mentorship, including intentional development of mentoring skills, consistent support for undergraduate and graduate students and junior colleagues, and involvement in formal mentoring structures above and beyond those expected by the nominee’s professional positions. 
  • How the nominee’s mentorship practices contribute to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values.
  • The “ripple effect” of the nominee’s mentorship practice beyond specific individual relationships. 
  • The extent of the nominee’s “invisible labor” of mentorship, carrying additional burdens because of or to intentionally mitigate the effects of structural.

Deadline for nominations: March 1, 2024.


It is expected that members of the selection committee may have previous working relationships with nominees for Geisler Award. Before beginning deliberation, members of the committee will disclose their potential conflicts of interest and develop a plan for mitigating those conflicts. Any member who feels they cannot fairly evaluate a nominee will abstain from ranking that nominee.

Ratified by the RSA Board of Directors May 23, 2014, Amended July 2020


Each nomination must include:

  • A nomination letter summarizing the nominee’s mentorship work and explaining why they merit the award (2-page maximum);
  • The nominee’s curriculum vita and
  • Two supporting letters from former students and/or colleagues in rhetorical studies who are able to comment on the effectiveness of the nominee as a professional mentor, including the nominee’s contributions to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values.


Please contact the society’s Awards Committee with any outstanding questions about the nomination, submission, or selection processes.

Award Recipients

Andre Johnson

2022 Award

University of Memphis

Keith Gilyard

2020 Award

Pennsylvania State University


2018 Award

Texas Christian University


2016 Award

North Carolina State University


2022 Award

Carnegie Mellon University