RSS Award Descriptions

The RSS Awards and Endowment Committee is responsible for administering, recognizing, and announcing awards. Questions regarding the submission process and the deadline for each award should be addressed to the current Awards and Endowment Committee Chair.

 

RSS regularly administers the following awards:

  • Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award
  • Distinguished Rural Sociologist Award
  • Excellence in Research Award
  • Excellence in Instruction Award
  • Excellence in Extension and Public Service Award
  • Olaf Larson Graduate Student Paper Award
  • Certificate of Appreciation
  • Frederick H. Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award
  • Lawrence Busch Award for Graduate Student Research on Food and Agriculture
  • The Rural Sociology Best Paper Award*
  • Research and Interest Group Awards*

* The Award and Endowment Committee recognizes and announces these awards, but does not administer these awards.

Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award

Purpose: To recognize a person, organization, or collective who has made an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of rural life, rural people, or rural policy.

Eligibility and Intent: Nominees should be individuals, organizations, or collectives whose activities exemplify the goals of the RSS. Nominees may or may not be RSS members. This award is intended to recognize excellence in non-academic settings, such as a non- governmental organization, government agency, or private firm. When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Nomination Submissions:

  • A cover letter from the principal nominator outlining the major contributions of the nominee.
  • A biographic sketch of the candidate/organization.
  • Two to four letters of support.
  • Evidentiary materials: up to three examples (e.g., brochure, report, etc.) describing the nominees’ contributions and/or project or program if nominee is an organization or collective.

The Distinguished Service to Rural Life Award recipient will be invited to make a brief presentation at the Awards Banquet at the Society’s Annual Meeting. In addition to an engraved plaque, the award recipient will receive a lifetime RSS membership, two-nights lodging, travel reimbursement, and one banquet ticket to the annual conference.

Excellence in Research, Excellence in Instruction, and Excellence in Extension and Public Service Awards

In the nomination for the Awards for Excellence in Extension and Public Service, Excellence in Research, and Excellence in Instruction, the specific contributions to a substantive area would be cited and would provide the substantive justification and underpinning for the award. The emphasis will be on acknowledging publicly the recent contributions in each area. Competition will be Society-wide, but interest groups are encouraged to nominate candidates for each award. When nominating someone for any of the following awards, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Excellence in Research Award

Purpose: To recognize a RSS member who has made outstanding contributions to rural- oriented research and/or theory.

Eligibility and Intent: Contribution of nominee to substantive area of rural-oriented research and/or theory should be emphasized.

Nomination Submissions:

  • A cover letter from the principal nominator detailing the member's qualifications for the award.
  • A current version of the nominee's vita.
  • Two to four letters of support.
  • Evidentiary materials: up to three examples (e.g., publication, report) of the nominee's research.

Excellence in Instruction Award

Purpose: To recognize outstanding rural-oriented teaching by a RSS member at the graduate and/or undergraduate level.

Eligibility and Intent: Innovation in teaching and learning should be emphasized. Innovation may relate to a particular course, thematic area, population of students or pedagogical approach or technique. Evidence of impact should be provided.

Nomination Submissions:

  • A cover letter from the principal nominator detailing the member's qualifications for the award.
  • A current version of the nominee's vita.
  • Two to four letters of support (at least one letter from another faculty member and one from a student).
  • Evidentiary materials: up to three examples (e.g., syllabus, website, teaching evaluations, learning assessments, assignment) that supports the case for instructional excellence.

Excellence in Extension and Public Outreach Award

Purpose: To honor an RSS member, working at a university or college, who has made significant contributions to extension and public outreach.

Eligibility and Intent: This award is intended to recognize public service excellence in academic settings. Excellence centers on having made a significant impact on rural residents, rural life, and/or rural policy. A specific program or area of outreach or extension should be highlighted.

Nomination Submissions:

  • A cover letter from the principal nominator detailing the member's qualifications for the award.
  • A current version of the nominee's vita.
  • Two to four letters of support.
  • Evidentiary materials: up to three examples (e.g., brochure, 1-2 page summary) describing the project or program.

Olaf Larson Graduate Student Paper Award

Purpose: To enhance the involvement of graduate students in the RSS annual meeting, and to support their professional development, an award for the best graduate student paper submitted for the Annual Meeting will be presented each year by the Society. Presentation of the paper will take place as a special feature of one of the scheduled paper sessions.

Eligibility and Requirements: To be eligible, papers must be authored by graduate students who are members of the Society. In multiple authored papers, all authors must be graduate students, although only the first author must be a member of the RSS. By graduate student we mean an individual who holds graduate-student membership in the RSS; this requires certification of graduate-student status by a faculty advisor. (The papers may not be co- authored by a faculty member.) The papers must be submitted to the Program Committee by the due date specified for all papers, and it obviously must be accepted for presentation at the RSS annual meeting in the year the award is made. Papers should be of normal journal article length and format (12 pt font, double-spaced, 20-30 pages inclusive).

Masters theses and dissertations will not be considered.

When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Criteria: Papers will be evaluated on the basis of commonly accepted professional criteria: theoretical grounding, appropriate methodologies, and adequacy of supporting evidence, clarity in thought and writing, and contribution to the discipline.

Award: The award includes a $300 prize, 3 nights lodging at the annual RSS conference, and one-year membership in RSS.

Nomination Submission:

  • One electronic copy of the completed paper.
  • A current version of the author's vita.
  • A letter from the author’s faculty advisor or department chair certifying graduate student status.

Certificate of Appreciation

Purpose: This award recognizes a RSS member (or members) who have provided outstanding service and selfless effort beyond the call of duty in a singular area of effort on behalf of the Society.

Eligibility and Requirements: When nominating someone for a Certificate of Appreciation, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Nomination Submission:

  • A cover letter from the principal nominator outlining the specific outstanding service provided by the member.
  • One letter of support.

Frederick H. Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award

Purpose: The Frederick H. Buttel Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award recognizes a member of RSS for a specific recent scholarly work in the form of a book or journal article (alternating years for each format) that demonstrates particular excellence in rural sociology in the same spirit as that exemplified by the late Fred Buttel.

Eligibility and Intent: The nominee must be a member of the Society. The Publication and Communications Committee solicits nominations for outstanding scholarly work that advance the field of rural sociological knowledge, alternating every other year between books and journal articles. The work must have been published within two years of the nomination. When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Award: The award includes a $300 prize.

Nomination Submission:

  • A letter of nomination from the author, publisher, or other relevant source.
  • A current version of the author’s vita.
  • A copy of the nominated article or book for review by the committee.

Recognizing the Rural Sociology Best Paper Award

The Rural Sociology Best Paper is determined by the Editor and Editorial Board of Rural Sociology in consultation with the RSS Publications and Communications Committee. The results are provided to the Awards and Endowment Committee for reporting at the Awards Ceremony.

When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

Recognizing Awards by Research and Interest Groups (RIGs)

Individual RIGS may provide special awards. The RIGS are encouraged to have information on the procedures for applying for these awards on their sections of the RSS website and for maintaining open lines of communication with the RSS Awards and Endowment Committee to ensure that any questions or issues are referred to the appropriate people.

RIG awards will still be awarded by the respective interest groups at their own meetings, but the names of persons who have received RIG awards will be mentioned by the chair of the Awards and Endowment Committee at the RSS Awards Ceremony and their names will be included in the RSS Awards brochure.

When nominating someone for any award, nominators should consider whether the candidate meets the standards outline by the RSS Code of Ethics. RSS Award winners are expected to meet these standards: https://www.ruralsociology.org/rss-ethics.

 

The Endowment Awards Subcommittee of the Awards and Endowment Committee

The Endowment Awards Subcommittee is responsible for administering the four RSS grants award competitions listed below. While the Endowment Awards Subcommittee is not responsible for nominating persons for awards, it is responsible for encouraging RSS members to nominate persons who are eligible. The Endowment Awards Subcommittee will decide on the criteria for each award, the maximum size for a single award in each category, issue a call for applications, and set requirements for reporting. Multiple awards in each grant category may be given based on available funds. These grants will be made each year from interest earned from the RSS Endowment Funds and other sources, with the total amount determined each year by Council in consultation with the Executive Director. The RSS Endowment Awards Subcommittee, with the help of the RSS Executive Director, will allocate the funds in the form of grants to the respective universities of the recipients. The Secretary will be the co-signatory on all Endowment accounts with the Executive Director/Treasurer. And although final reports are required of grantees, the Executive Director/Treasurer may not withhold funds from awardees to induce reporting at the project’s conclusion. The Endowment Awards Subcommittee must circulate the names of all individuals nominated for awards to the entire RSS Council at least one month prior to announcement or notification, with an invitation for council members to provide to the Ethics Committee any knowledge of behavior that violates our code of ethics.

  • Master’s Thesis
  • Dissertation
  • Early Career
  • Busch Graduate Student Research Award

These grants are open to RSS members only. The Master’s Thesis Grant,  Dissertation Grant, and the Busch Award aredesigned to promote and enhance research leading to a degree by students working in substantive areas relevant to rural sociology. The Early Career Grant is designed to promote and enhance the professional growth of rural sociologist members who received their postgraduate degrees within the last five years. This nominee would normally be a PhD, but it could also include practitioners with a Master’s degree. Proposals by individuals would be funded to support teaching, research, or the application of rural sociology.