English professor receives national award for outstanding mentorship

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Cheryl Geisler Award winner Dr. Richard Enos

The Cheryl Geisler Award for Outstanding Mentor is presented biennially at the Rhetoric Society of America (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. We are pleased to announce that this year’s award will be presented to Dr. Richard Enos at the RSA Awards Ceremony Saturday evening, June 2, at the convention in Minneapolis.

Dr. Ann George recalls a moment that stands out as the first of many instances when Rich showed her what it means to be a great mentor. Shortly after she began working at TCU as a newly minted Ph.D., she received page proofs from her first solo scholarly article. She had no idea how to mark them or the best way to approach the proofreading task. She went to Rich—whose door was always open—and asked him what to do. He said the best way to proof an article was to have someone read the essay aloud while the author followed along on the proofs. She was wondering who on earth she could ask to read—She was too new to have a network of helpers—when he offered to read for her. And before she could ask how he’d fit such a task into his busy schedule, he said, we could do it right now, if she were free. She was stunned—and enormously grateful–that he would just stop whatever he was doing to help her.

Nominated by pupils/scholars who describe him as selfless, Dr. Joona Smitherman Trapp, director of Writing Across Emory at Emory University “remember[s] the day early in [her] tenure at TCU when [she] showed up in Rich’s office with a question. After responding, he said that the area of inquiry was a research interest of his and invited [her] to work collaboratively with him if [she] wanted. That invitational stance, offered to a brand new graduate student, serves as a glimpse of his eagerness to inspire the emerging scholar.”

The supporters of this nomination include program, department and university administrators. These national grant winners and leaders of local organizations nominated Dr. Enos because “his open door, his gracious smile and genial humor, his ability to make you feel like the most important person in the world to him at that moment in time arise frequently in the stories [they] all tell.”