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WVU professor earns Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing

Kate Staples

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Kate Kelsey Staples, associate chair of the West Virginia University Department of History, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing.

The award, established in 2007, was made possible by the generosity of former West Virginia Governor and College Board president Gaston Caperton. Caperton’s intent was to “increase awareness of the need for improved writing skills,” identifying writing as a critical issue necessary to maintaining America’s competitive edge in the global market. 

The award’s description notes that writing skills are most often stressed in the disciplines of English, journalism and education, but remain critical in every field to promote effective learning and retention.

“The Caperton Award allows us to recognize our exceptional faculty for not merely teaching writing but for instilling in our students a deep appreciation for the value of writing, no matter what career they pursue,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “As our world moves faster and we all become more closely connected, we must be able to communicate eloquently across borders and boundaries.”

Staples teaches courses in the areas of medieval Europe, British history, world history, western civilization and the history of women, gender and sexuality. Her own research focuses on the gender norms and social and cultural practices of medieval Europe. She describes writing as the cornerstone of every class she teaches at WVU.

“Through careful and concise composition, we express our ideas, engage with others, and extend our knowledge and inquiry,” Staples said. “Whether to inform, process, persuade, or advocate, the practice of writing enables critical thinking for all students and helps prepare engaged citizens.”

Staples was the recipient of both the Eberly College Outstanding Teaching Award and the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2012 and has received numerous other awards and grants for her research and teaching.

As the recipient of the 2016 Caperton Award, Staples will receive $5,000 in professional development from the Caperton fund and be recognized by WVU President Gordon Gee and Provost McConnell at the annual faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House this spring.



CONTACT: Ann Claycomb; Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Academic Communication

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