The Colvin Prize for Best Essay on Leadership aims to foster and encourage student excellence in leadership scholarship at Christopher Newport University. The prize is named for Dr. Robert E. Colvin, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and founding chair of the Department of Leadership and American Studies. To be eligible, papers must:

  • Creatively apply leadership/followership theory to a particular case, individual, literary or artistic work (including film), historical figure or event, activity, or industry; papers may also creatively develop or compare leadership/followership theories and/or analyze key aspects of leadership and leadership styles of civic or other leaders
  • Be at least 1,500 words in length, including references
  • Be well-written and edited
  • Have a clear and coherent argument/thesis
  • Use American Psychological Association citation and reference format

Each faculty member in the Department of Leadership and American Studies may nominate two papers submitted to them during the calendar year for the contest. Faculty may provide helpful feedback and suggestions for how to improve the paper (although they do not rewrite any portion of the paper). All participating faculty serve on the adjudication committee, along with available staff from the CNU's President's Leadership Program.

The prize winner must meet the above criteria and are ranked according to overall quality, relevance to leadership studies, depth of research and thinking (analytical/synthetic/critical), use of evidence, originality, clarity and coherence of argument, editing and writing style.