All Awards

RSA Fellows

Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America have produced scholarship in rhetorical studies that is remarkable for its quality, quantity, and/or influence; have participated in the work of the RSA, whether on the Board, on its committees, or in other capacities; and have worked to increase the visibility and influence of rhetorical studies through public lectures, teaching, advocacy, or other activities. 


Each biennium, in the even (Conference) year, the Rhetoric Society of America names new Fellows of the Rhetoric Society of America. Designation as a Fellow indicates sustained and superlative contributions to the field of rhetorical studies, the study of rhetoric, and the Society. 

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 to the Fellows.


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 to the RSA Fellows, the selection committee considers:

  • The nominee’s scholarly contributions to rhetorical studies, including:
  • The nominee’s influence on scholarship (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 nominee’s contribution to the Society’s IDEA and/or social justice values through scholarship, mentorship, teaching, leadership, and/or service.
  • The nominee’s work to advance the public profile of rhetorical studies (e.g. through teaching, public outreach, community organizing, speaking, or public scholarship)

Up to three Fellows, exclusive of the recipient of the Yoos Award, may be designated biennially.

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.

Ratified by the RSA Board of Directors May 2004. 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.
  • A copy of the nominee’s current CV.
  • Two additional letters of support.


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

Award Recipients


Class of 2022

University of Washington

Cheryl Geisler

Class of 2022

Professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology
Simon Fraser University

Kirt H. Wilson

Yoos Award 2022

Associate Professor
Penn State University


Yoos Award 2020

Professor Emerita of English
University of Maryland


Class of 2020

Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor of English and Bass Fellow
Stanford University


Class of 2020

McCourtney Professor
Pennsylvania State University


Class of 2020

Associate Professor
University of Illinois – Chicago


Class of 2018

Professor and Head
Arizona State University


Class of 2018

Professor of English
College of The Holy Cross


Yoos Award 2018

Professor of English
Brigham Young University


Yoos Award 2016

Professor of English and Campbell Chair in Technical Communication
Clemson University

Lester C. Olson

Class of 2016

Professor of Communication and Chancellor’s Distinguished Teacher
University of Pittsburgh


Class of 2016

Professor of English
Clemson University

Jacqueline Jones Royster

Class of 2014

Dean Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair in Liberal Arts and Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology

David S. Kaufer

Class of 2014

Mellon Distinguished Professor of English
Carnegie Mellon University


Class of 2006 and Yoos Award 2014

Professor of English
University of Texas – Austin

Jeanne Fahnestock

Class of 2012

Professor Emerita – English
University of Maryland

Winifred Horner (1922 – 2014)

Class of 2012

Professor Emerita and Radford Chair Emerita
Texas Christian University


Yoos Award 2012

Paterno Family Liberal Arts Professor
Penn State University


Class of 2010

Professor Emerita – English
North Carolina State University

James Jerome Murphy (1923 – 2021)

Class of 2010

Professor Emeritus – English
University of California – Davis

Barbara Warnick (1946 – 2020)

Class of 2010

Professor Emerita – Communication
University of Pittsburgh

George Edward Yoos (1923 – 2021)

Class of 2010

Professor Emeritus – Philosophy
St Cloud State University

David Zarefsky

Yoos Award 2010

Professor of Communication
Northwestern University

Michael C. Leff (1941–2010)

Yoos Award 2010

Professor of Communication
University of Memphis

Janice M. Lauer (1932 – 2021)

Yoos Award 2008

Department of English
Purdue University

Sharon Crowley

Class of 2008

Department of English
Arizona State University


Yoos Award 2006

Professor of English
Texas Christian University

Edward Schiappa

Class of 2006

Professor of Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kathleen E. Welch

Class of 2006

Presidential Professor of English
University of Oklahoma

George A. Kennedy (1928 – 2022)

Class of 2006

Professor Emeritus – Classics
University of North Carolina

Frederick J. Antczak

Class of 2004

Dean for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Grand Valley State University

C. Jan Swearingen (1948 – 2017)

Class of 2004

Professor of English
Texas A&M University

Gerard A. Hauser

Yoos Award 2004

Professor of Communication
University of Colorado – Boulder

S. Michael Halloran

Yoos Award 2002

Professor Emeritus Language, Literature and Communication
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Please click here to read the text of the Citation.

Arthur Walzer

Yoos Award 2000

Professor Emeritus – Communication Studies
University of Minnesota