The Gail E. Hawisher & Cynthia L. Selfe

Caring for the Future Scholarship



This award honors the pioneering work of Gail Hawisher and Cindy Selfe, whose visible commitment to the field of Computers and Writing—through their scholarship, teaching, and service—is rivaled only by their commitment to mentor new (and not-so-new) scholars in the profession. Through their words and deeds, Hawisher and Selfe have empowered a generation of scholars to believe in themselves and to continue the hard, and often invisible, work of promoting and sustaining an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment.

The award was announced on the awards night banquet Friday, May 20 at the 2011 Computers and Writing Conference held at the University of Michigan. The scholarship is provided to assist the recipient with travel and lodging expenses associated with the Computers and Writing conference, up to the amount of the scholarship. It waives the conference and lodging fee, and provides the winner up to $500 in transportation expenses. Immediately after the award was announced, members of the community spontaneously began donating -- from the cash they had in the wallets at the time -- to the fund. To understand why the Computers and Writing Community respects and honors the work of Gail and Cindy, and why the people who have worked with them closely over the years have come to love them, to see why this award has been created, here is the Award Announcement speech given by Kristin Arola and Cheryl Ball.


The Award Announcement

The occasion of Gail Hawisher's retirement caused us to reflect on all that both she and Cindy Selfe have done, not only for the field of computers and writing, but also in very heartfelt and generous ways, for the people who make up the field. An academic field is defined by its scholarship, and Gail and Cindy were among the first to plant the seeds of that scholarship.

They began Computers and Composition as a newsletter with Kate Keifer, and shortly thereafter, they turned it into a journal, and then an international journal. They recognized excellence by establishing the Hugh Burns, Charles Moran, Ellen Nold, and Michelle Kendrick awards, which are announced annually at this conference. More recently, they created Computers and Composition Digital Press, to continue pushing and publishing excellent scholarship in our field.

In service, Gail and Cindy have represented the field and its interests in their committee work at NCTE, the Seven C's, and MLA. They have worked tirelessly to help make the digital work so many of us do count more for promotion and tenure.

As teachers and dissertation advisors and editors, they nurture all of us with the utmost humanity and compassion. They have served as our mentors, counselors, teachers, friends, and, as often, our conscience.

They remind us always to work from our most ethical selves, to remember —- as we move always on to the next technology -- those who do not have yet the access to the technologies we've already enjoyed and explored. They remind us to learn not only from one another and our literature, but from our students, and from those who are not our students -- parents, community members, and others outside the academy.

They have worked to bring into the field the voices of those we would not otherwise hear, and have sought to recruit into the field -- through CIWIC and DMAC, through their travels, their scholarship, the journal and press, and their friendship -- people from underrepresented groups. They do this, not so much for the benefit of those underrepresented, but for the good of the field. To be more curious, to learn more, to become healthier, to have a wider reach, to do better work, we must be more diverse.

Gail and Cindy’s commitment to diversity is indivisible from their commitment to our scholarship, teaching, service, and, ultimately, to the extent that our intellects, politics, and ideals shape our work, our happiness, and well being—ultimately, to the joy we find in what we do.

So with deep gratitude, and much love, we are pleased to announce The Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe Caring for the Future Scholarship. This will be a full scholarship – conference registration, housing, and travel -- to the Computers and Writing conference for a first-time student attendee, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, who seeks to study and research in our field. In the spirit of Gail's and Cindy's work in supporting diversity, preference will be given to students who come from backgrounds underrepresented in our field.

We thank the University of Michigan for giving us time to announce this new scholarship and North Carolina State University for inaugurating this scholarship by waiving lodging and registration for next year’s recipient – a tradition we hope future C&W hosts can follow. We're off to a good start, one that will yearly celebrate the contributions of Gail and Cindy by making it a full scholarship to the conference.

Please support the scholarship with a donation so that we can continue to cover travel expenses for our awardees, and know that your support will be appreciated and will serve an important need.