Intended to recognize the best paper in an essay contest on a designated topic in religious studies. This award honors the memory of longtime Chair and Professor of Religious Studies, Rowland A. Sherrill. In addition to the monetary benefit of the award, students should consider how this award could also enhance future applications to graduate school and/or employers, both of which often seek evidence that an applicant can formulate and argue a thesis well. A major benefit of this award is the opportunity to have those skills formally recognized.
Faculty of the Religious Studies Department of the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI will determine the recipient(s). The author of the winning essay will be honored at the Celebration of Scholarship.
Students submitting papers for the competition must be undergraduates enrolled at IUPUI (papers from all disciplines and departments are welcome). Eligibility is restricted to students enrolled in the current academic year.
Students are free to address any of a broad range of issues from any disciplinary perspective as long as essays deal with religion and culture. Essays should have a minimum of 7 pages, double-spaced, with standard font and margins.
Past recipients have written essays on a wide range of topics. For example, they have observed people living out their religious practices in writing about the use of sacred time in Wiccan rites and the disparity between youth and adult styles in a congregation's worship. They have addressed religion and politics in discussing religious practices of nonviolent peace building and the debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation. They have written about religious influences on different work ethics, and they have analyzed the challenge of feminist theology to traditional religious authority.
The following criteria will be applied to the evaluation of the essays:
- Essays should exhibit a clearly stated thesis and a coherent argument supported by cogent and concrete examples (a guide for constructing a critical introduction to an essay, which includes the development of a thesis statement, is available from the Religious Studies office.)
- Essays should be based on sources appropriate to an academic paper (for example, primary and secondary textual sources, field work, etc.), and they should cite all sources used (including Web resources) following any standard method of citation (MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.). A bibliography should be included.
- Essays should follow university guidelines for academic integrity.
Papers will be judged by members of the Religious Studies faculty members of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.