Furman Engaged! Integrative Essay Contest


The Integrative Essay Contest, an initiative sponsored by the Strategic Vision Advisory Council through the Four-Year Pathway Working Group, aims to foreground a core value of the Furman Advantage: integrative learning.

Students are accustomed to receiving prompts for essays, and more often than not, those prompts are properly shaped by the context of course content. The Integrative Essay prompt, however, is shaped instead by methodology for an explicit purpose: to encourage students to create their own contexts for thinking and writing.

The Furman Advantage aims to develop student authority by developing their capacity for authorship, or the ability to create meaning from disparate information. The Integrative Essay Contest provides an opportunity for students to explore their own authority beyond the boundaries of the curriculum and for the community to celebrate their efforts.

Here is an example of what might be possible drawn from the Furman Engaged! 2016 program:

  1. "Community Journals" (Communication Studies)
  2. "3D: Community: We Live in an Age of Networks" (Art)
  3. "Being Left Out in an Era of Connectivity: the Implications of Increasing Reliance on Mechanical Mediums of Communication for Anxiety and Fear of Exclusion" (Sociology)

Possible integrating topic or problem: How can communities use social media to overcome exclusion?

$1700 in prizes will be awarded as outlined below.

Prize categories:

  • $300 Best Freshman Integrative Essay (in terms of requirements)
  • $300 Best Sophomore Integrative Essay (in terms of requirements)
  • $300 Best Junior Integrative Essay (in terms of requirements)
  • $300 Best Senior Integrative Essay (in terms of requirements)
  • $500 Best Academic Integrative Essay (in terms of academic prose, argumentation, conceptualization, and overall significance)

Requirements for student submissions:

  • Essays must be between 1,000 and 1,500 words.
  • They must integrate material from at least three distinct FE! sessions within a clear and compelling context. For example, context might be provided by a significant problem, question, or hypothesis that provides a meaningful framework for integrating material that otherwise seems disparate.
  • "Sessions" refers to formal presentation sessions. Sessions comprised of multiple short presentations or a panel are considered ONE session. Poster sessions may be integrated but may not count as one of the three sessions.
  • Writers are strongly encouraged to STUDY the Furman Engaged! program in advance and PLAN which sessions to attend for the essay contest. Not only will they leave less to chance by doing so, but their take-away from each session will be greater for already having defined a tentative context for their listening. The Program sorted by department presentations is most helpful for planning purposes. Essays should combine material from multiple departments, preferably at least three.
  • All essays MUST use proper citation.
  • Essays that merely compile material without integration within a clear and meaningful context will not be considered for an award. This contest is NOT about reporting attendance at sessions.
  • Writers should think of FE! as inspiration and "raw material" for their essays, NOT as the context itself. Again, this contest is NOT about reporting attendance at sessions. It is an opportunity to exercise imagination, insight, and creativity alongside intellectual rigor in creating meaning from disparate information.

Submissions are due by midnight on April 26th, 2017.

Upload your entry via the Form below.

Winners will be announced by May 30th, 2017.

Need help brainstorming for your submission?  We encourage you to make an appointment in the Writing & Media Lab to explore your ideas before Furman Engaged!

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