Smith/Carlsen Grant

Smith/Carlsen Grant

The Smith/Carlsen Grant for graduate students offers $500 funding plus complimentary registration toward attendance at the annual 2-day ALAN Workshop. Eligible applicants must be enrolled as full-time graduate students in a program focused on English Education, Literacy Education, and/or Young Adult Literature and must not have attended an ALAN Workshop previously. Membership in ALAN is required for consideration. One Smith/Carlsen Grant will be awarded annually, and each recipient may only receive the grant once.

Applicants should complete the grant application form (download below), which includes submission of an essay of no more than 1,000 words explaining what they hope to gain by attending this year’s ALAN Workshop, how they hope to use the experience in their studies and/or research, and how this experience will forward the work of Dora V. Smith and/or G. Robert Carlsen.

Applicants should also secure a letter from their academic advisor giving support and permission for ALAN Workshop attendance if the grant is received. Applicants are also welcome to secure optional letters of support from colleagues or university faculty members.

The deadline for application submissions is September 1 of the year of the Workshop to be attended, and the recipient will receive notification by September 15.

Criteria for Selection
  • the applicant’s commitment to studying and promoting young adult literature for and with them
  • the strength of the applicant’s understanding of the work of Dora V. Smith and/or G Robert Carlsen, and the description of how that work would be forwarded through attendance at the ALAN Workshop
  • the strength of the applicant’s letters of support

The Smith/Carlsen Grant relies on the generosity of people like you who support young adult literature and the work of ALAN. If you’d be interested in showing financial support for this grant and its recipients, click here to make a donation, which will be processed securely and safely through PayPal. Thank you for your support!

About the Smith/Carlsen Grant

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) established the Smith/Carlsen Grant in Spring 2015 to support the attendance of a graduate student working in English Education, Literacy Education and/or Young Adult Literature to attend the ALAN Workshop. The grant honors the contributions of Dora V. Smith and G. Robert Carlsen, whose knowledge of and passion for teacher education contributed to the field of Young Adult Literature.

Dora V. Smith (NCTE President, 1936-1937) researched, lectured, and wrote extensively about language arts and English curricula in elementary and secondary schools. Dubbed “The First Lady of the United States in the Teaching of English,” Smith was also internationally acclaimed as a scholar and consultant. Addressing the question of whether students should read “classics” or contemporary children’s and adolescent literature, she argued that the “recommendation of a single book which fills a real need in the life of a child will do more to foster mutual relations of interest and good will than all the prescribed reading lists ever printed.” After more than 40 years of scholarship and service in the areas of curriculum development, reading habits, and children’s and YA literature, Smith retired from the University of Minnesota as a full professor in 1958. That same year, she received the highest honor of the National Council of Teachers of English—the W. Wilbur Hatfield Award—for her “long and distinguished service to the teaching of English in the United States.”

Source: Browse Biography (2010).

Robert Carlsen (NCTE President, 1962-1963) was for many years a professor at the University of Iowa and a classroom teacher at U-High. Carlsen’s work was innovative and exemplary.  His Books and the Teenage Reader (New York: Harper, 1967) brought national attention and critical approval to adolescent literature.  The elective curriculum and the focus on individualized reading at U-High, under his leadership, became the subject of considerable inquiry and experimentation in the 1960s and early 1970s. His thirty-four articles selected by Anne Sherrill and Terry Ley for the collected essays, Literature Is…: Collected Essays by G. Robert Carlsen (Johnson City: Sabre Printers, 1994), demonstrate his versatility and creativity. His study of hundreds of reading autobiographies, Voices of Readers: How We Come to Love Books, done with Sherrill (Urbana: NCTE, 1988), was his culminating work.

Source:  Nelms, B.F. (March 2004). In memoriam: G. Robert Carlsen. The English Journal 93:4, 10-11.