All Awards

George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award

The George E. Yoos Distinguished Service Award is presented biennially to a member of the Society who has made significant and sustained contributions to RSA and to the field. The award is named in honor of George Yoos, a founding member of RSA, who served as founding editor of the Rhetoric Society Quarterly from 1975-1986 and as Executive Secretary from 1986-1995. Winners of the George E. Yoos Award, which automatically confers the status of Fellow, meet the criteria for Rhetoric Society Fellows and have made particularly notable contributions to the RSA which have improved the organization. 

Selection Committee

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 four RSA members to serve on the Fellows & Yoos Award selection committee. 

  • The Vice Chair of the Awards Steering Committee will chair the selection committee. 
  • 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 Yoos Award


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

In reviewing nominations for the Yoos Award, the selection committee considers the full extent of the nominee’s contributions to rhetorical studies, including:

  • The nominee’s scholarly work
  • The nominee’s influence on conversations in rhetorical studies (through publications, lectures, editorial work, and teaching/mentorship),
  • The quantity of scholarship the nominee has produced (to be weighed relative to the publishing culture of the institutions at which the nominee has worked), and 
  • The content of the scholarship (particularly its role in extending, synthesizing, correcting, and/or re-directing the shape of work in rhetorical studies)
  • The nominee’s work for the Society in formal and informal capacities, including service on the Board of Directors, on RSA committees, and in mentorship capacities; leadership for the RSA Institute or individual seminars or workshops; and/or work beyond RSA that has indirect effect on the good of the Society (e.g. leadership in other professional organizations, service on public commissions related to higher education, or organizing work in higher education or rhetorical studies). The selection committee will give this item extra weight for the Yoos Award, looking for sustained and extensive contributions to the governance and practice of the Society.
  • The nominee’s contribution to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values through scholarship, mentorship, teaching, leadership, and/or service. The selection committee will pay particular attention to the nominee’s work building these values into the structures and practices of the Society itself.
  • The nominee’s work to advance the public profile of rhetorical studies (e.g. through teaching, public outreach, community organizing, speaking, or public scholarship)

Deadline for nominations: March 1, 2024

Conflict of Interest for the RSA Fellows & Yoos Award Selection Committees

It is expected that members of the selection committee may have previous working relationships with nominees for RSA Fellows and the Yoos 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.

Amended July 2020


Each nomination must include:

  • A letter of nomination describing the nominee’s specific contributions to rhetorical studies and explaining why this person merits the award, and
  • A copy of the nominee’s current CV
  • Additional letters of support are acceptable but not necessary.


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

Award Recipients

Kirt H. Wilson

2022 Recipient

Associate Professor, Penn State University


2020 Recipient

Professor Emerita of English, University of Maryland


2018 Recipient

Professor of English, Brigham Young University

David Blakesley

2016 Recipient

Professor of English and Campbell Chair
in Technical Communication, Clemson University

Jeffrey S. Walker

2014 Recipient

Professor of English, University of Texas – Austin

Jack L. Selzer

2012 Recipient

Paterno Family Liberal Arts Professor
Penn State University

Michael C. Leff

2010 Recipient (posthumously)

Professor of Communication, University of Memphis

David Zarefsky

2010 Recipient

Professor Emeritus Communication
Northwestern University

Janice M. Lauer

2008 Recipient

Professor Emerita – English
Purdue University

Richard Leo Enos

2006 Recipient

Professor of English and Lillian Radford
Chair of Rhetoric & Composition
Texas Christian University

Gerard A. Hauser

2004 Recipient

Professor Emeritus – Communication
University of Colorado – Boulder

S. Michael Halloran

2002 Recipient

Professor Emeritus – Language, Literature, and Communication
Rensselear Polytechnic Institute

Arthur Walzer

2000 Recipient

Professor Emeritus – Communication Studies
University of Minnesota