Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award

History of the Award
Criteria for Consideration
Review Process
Award Committee
Award Winners

History of the Award

The Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award was first presented at the Annual Conference in 2001. The Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award was initiated in to recognize a distinguished scholar for a lifetime contribution that has had a significant impact on the field of literacy theory, research, and practice. The award acknowledges an outstanding individual who has not been actively involved in LRA committee work, editorial work, or presentations, but whose lifetime work, nevertheless, has had a major influence on literacy theory, research, and practice of the LRA membership.

Criteria for Consideration

  1. The individual should be a distinguished scholar who has made a lifetime contribution which has had a significant impact on the field of literacy theory, research and practice, whether directly by working on some aspect of literacy itself, or in a related field.
  2. The scholar is not, or was not, an active participant in LRA (e.g., a regular presenter, committee member or on editorial boards). If a person could qualify to be nominated for the Oscar Causey Award, they would not qualify to be nominated for the LRA Distinguished Scholars Award. The scholar may belong to the organization, as long as the scholar’s involvement has been primarily the receipt of the journals and/or the yearbook.
  3. Application materials. Nominations for this award may be made by a group of 10 (or more) LRA members who present a written nomination signed by these members to the committee chair with a brief description of the significance of the scholar’s contribution and the impact this scholar has had on the field. The group should pick a spokesperson from the group nominating this person who will work with the committee chair, if needed.

Review Process

  • The committee chair will convene the committee at, or shortly after, the Annual Conference and generate a short list of names to be considered for the award. The committee chair will also include any nominations from the membership to be included on the initial short list. The nomination should be completed by the May Board Meeting.
  • Nominations for this award may be made by a group of 10 (or more) LRA members who present a written nomination signed by these members to the committee chair with a brief description of the significance of the scholar’s contribution and the impact this scholar has had on the field. The group should pick a spokesperson from the group nominating this person who will work with the committee chair, if needed.
  • In drawing up the initial list of nominees, the committee must discuss whether each scholar truly qualifies for this award. (They must not be able to qualify for the Oscar Causey award.) Once the list has been determined, the names must be checked with headquarters, the officers, and the editors of the publications about each nominee’s participation in the organization and whether they qualify for the award. The committee must agree that all nominees qualify before proceeding to the next step.
  • Each committee member should select and sponsor one or more nominees from the generated list, presenting them to the committee. A brief description must be written for each of the selected nominees describing the significance of each scholar’s contribution and the impact each scholar has had on the field. This information will be shared by e-mail with all committee members. Also, included would be any nominees obtained from the membership with the description provided as part of the member nomination process. (If needed, the committee chair may call on the spokesperson of this member group to add information on their nominee.)
  • Committee members must then dialogue and try to reach a consensus. If the committee needs to limit the field, each committee member will select one nominee. The work to reach consensus would continue. If consensus is not reached, no award will be given.
  • The committee chair will report the selection of the award recipient to the President, who will present the name to the Board for final approval. Arrangements must be made to invite the award recipient to receive the award and present at the next conference or organize scholars familiar with the work of a posthumous recipient to present. A written version of the presentation will be solicited for one of the publications.

Award Committee

Patricia Edwards (edwards6@msu.edu), Chair
Hilary Janks (hilary.janks@gmail.com), Liaison
Stephanie Jones (sjones1@uga.edu), Committee Member
Mariam Jean Dreher (mjdreher@umd.edu), Committee Member
Nancy Frey (nfrey@mail.sdsu.edu), Committee Member
Althier Lazar (alazar@sju.edu), Committee Member
Randy Bomer (bomer@austin.utexas.edu), Committee Member
Jackie Malloy (malloy2@clemson.edu), Committee Member

Award Winners

Shirley Brice Heath (2017)
Allan Luke (2016)
Gloria Ladson-Billings (2015)
Marilyn Cochran-Smith & Susan L. Lytle (2014)
Keith Raynor (2013)
Michael Halliday (2012)
Janet Emig (2011)
Walter Kintsch (2009)
Brian V. Street (2008)
Jerome Bruner (2007)
Courtney B. Cazden (2004)
Marie Clay (2003)
Louise Rosenblatt (2002)
Ann Brown (2000-2001)


Distinguished Scholar Brochure