Distinguished Public Lecture & Award

The University Writing Center organizes an annual public lecture series each spring with a distinguished writer who reflects the mission of the center. In addition to the public lecture, opportunities for students and faculty to participate in reading groups and research presentations will be organized. 

  • 2022 Terraform @cbuwrites: Jason "Propaganda" Petty

    Terraform @cbuwrites

    Propaganda is a Christian musician, poet, educator, and author, who specializes in hip hop and spoken word. He sees how cultures cross and inspire one another, and challenges us to see our unity through diversity. In 2021, Propaganda released his first book, Terraform. In this debut collection of essays and poetry, Propaganda inspires us to create a better, more redemptive world by paying attention to the stories we tell and words we use.  


    Terraform Reading Questions
    Click on the link for a list of reading questions to guide you through Propaganda's Terraform. Engage with these questions in the comments on our Instagram, @cbuwrites.

    Distinguished Lecture and Award (YouTube)
    Thank you to our Distinguished Speaker, Propaganda, and all of our CBU partners for making this a successful event. We would like to give special thanks to our Co-Sponsor, The Racial Equity Task Force, as well as our other supporters: the Provost Office, Office of Student Success, Student Services, School of Music, School of Education, and Department of Social Work.

    We had nearly 400 people register for this event, resulting in 82 guests joining us in person and over 250 tuning in for our livestream of the program. 

    Click on the link above to watch the program.
    1. Special Performance • Stephen Bankole-Wright
    2. Welcome • Noemi Alexander
    3. Diversity Statement & Prayer • Damon Horton
    4. Presentation of Award • Robin Duncan
    5. Conversation with Propaganda • Tae Sung
    6. Special Performance • Nate Peister
    7. Q&A with Propaganda and Alma Zaragoza-Petty • Kenya Davis-Hayes
    8. Special Performance • Taylor Wheatley, Angie Hope, Mykaila Jackson, & Audrey Smith, featuring Propaganda
    9. Benediction • Charles Lee-Johnson

  • 2021 DataStory @cbuwrites: Nancy Duarte

    Nancy Duarte

    Nancy Duarte, CEO & Principal of Duarte, Inc., which is the largest communication firm in Silicon Valley, as well as one of the top woman-owned businesses in the area. Nancy has won several awards for communications, entrepreneurship, and her success as a female executive. On the list of top 250 Women in Leadership, Duarte ranks #67 and on World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals for 2017, Duarte ranks #1. She has been a speaker at conferences and a number of Fortune 500 companies, and counts many more among her firm’s clientele. Her TEDx talk has over two million views. She speaks at business schools and has lectured at Stanford University several times.

    DataStory Reading Group (LancerMail login required)
    Click on link to watch our reading group recording. Those who purchase their own copy of DataStory can use the questions and chat feature to participate in the reading group. 
    Meeting 1:  Assigned reading: Intro + Section 1
    Meeting 2: Assigned reading: Section 2
    Meeting 3: Assigned reading: Section 3
    Meeting 4: Assigned reading: Section 4 + Summary

    Distinguished Lecture & Award (LancerMail login required)
    Thank you to Nancy Duarte and all of our supporters for making this such a successful event. We had over 400 people register and over 300 people sign in during the program. 

    For a limited time, a recording will be made available to those who missed the event. Click on the link to watch the program.  
    1. Reception 
    2. Welcome from Dr. Chuck Sands and Introduction by Dr. Erin Smith 
    3. Distinguished Lecture from Nancy Duarte 
    4. Presentation of Distinguished Lecture Award to Nancy Duarte
    5. Q&A Conversation 
    6. Closing Remarks


President's Award for Excellence in Writing

In an effort to encourage students in all departments of California Baptist University to achieve the highest possible standards in written expression and to honor students who do, the President of California Baptist University has established the President’s Award for Excellence in Writing. The 2022 award presented to the top winner will be in the amount of $600.00, the first runner-up will receive $360.00, and the second runner-up will receive $240.00.

  • Selection Process


    Term papers or other substantial written projects (book critiques, creative articles, and short stories) that are submitted in satisfaction of course requirements during the 2021-2022 school year may be considered for the award. Any student of CBU may submit an entry to the teacher of the class for which the paper was written. The teacher will submit no more than two of his or her best papers for departmental consideration. The department will submit the best paper or two to a faculty committee, which will select the recipient of the award and the runners-up.


    The selection will be based on the following:

    1. A substantial written project submitted for a class during the 2020 spring semester or at any time during the 2020-2021 academic year;
    2. The level of scholarship (certainly beyond general encyclopedias and Reader’s Guide periodicals) or creativity presented by the paper;
    3. The quality of the paper’s organization, readability, and effectiveness;
    4. Maturity of style;
    5. Overall excellence in writing. [Some written forms such as excellent technical research, statistical analysis, or chemical theories are difficult to evaluate against one another. Thus, the committee must adhere to the central intent of the President: to award excellence in the writing itself. Past winning essays have been deposited in the library.]
    6. Not in conflict with the Christian principles at the heart of the University.


    1. Refer to the Instructions for Entries listed below.
    2. Students must submit entries to teachers by March 4, 2022.
    3. Teachers will submit no more than two of their best papers to their department head by March 7, 2022.
    4. Departments will submit no more than two of their best papers to the department secretary of Modern Languages & Literature by March 14, 2022.
    5. The selection committee will submit the name of the winner and the two runners-up to the President by April 1, 2022.

    Instructions for Entries

    All students of California Baptist University are eligible to enter. Instructions are as follows:

    1. Follow the criteria and schedule above.
    2. After receiving a graded paper from a professor, type a clean copy as error-free as possible. Corrections and suggestions from a professor may be incorporated into the paper, but the work must be your own (not collaborative effort). Entries must be typed; computer versions should be letter quality.
    3. Do not put your name, your teacher’s name, or the name of the course on the submitted copy.
    4. In the upper left corner of the first page put your student number and the date. Center the title of the paper about two inches from the top of the page. No separate title page is needed.
    5. Though the original paper must be submitted for class by March 8, 2021, you may submit the clean copy to your teacher as late as March 12, 2021.
  • Past Award Recipients

    Past Award Recipients 

    Morgan Vandiver

    2022 - Morgan Vandiver (English), "The ‘Madwoman’ is Not Your Metaphor: A Feminist Disability Studies Perspective on Wide Sargasso Sea"

    First runner-up: Michael Dome (Aviation Management), "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Southern California Flight Schools"

    Second runner-up: Bethany Bruce (English), "Not Just a Piece in Their Games"

    2021 - Laura Elizabeth Farley (Single Subject Credential Program), "Establishing an Understanding in Contrastive Rhetoric--Why is it Important?”

    First runner-up: Chandler Shay Broadbent (a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology), “Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy: A Brief Theoretical Overview.”

    Second runner-up: Anna K. Compton (Early Childhood Studies), “The Special Project.”


    Award recipient

    2019 - Kasaan M. Hammon (Liberal Studies), “Knowledge Proceeds from I Am: A Philosophical Journey.”

    First runner-up: Joseph M. Arriaga (English), “Young Adult Literature and Jung’s Shadow.”

    Second runner-up: Emily Anne Stewart (Philosophy), “Grace upon Grace: Aquinas’ Theological Revitalization of Aristotelian Virtue Ethics.”


    Award Winner

    2018 - Sarah N. Rodriguez (English), “From Collins to Bertram: The Clergy in Austen’s Life and Writing.”

    First runner-up: Katherine A. Robinson (English), “The Illusion of Female Empowerment in William Wells Brown’s ‘Clotel: or, The President’s Daughter.’”


    Award Winner

    2017 - Sarah N. Rodriguez (English), “Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, and the Influence of the Christ-Haunted South.”

    First runner-up: Katie E. Venzke (Education), “Philosophy of Ministry.”

    Second runner-up: Maigen Turner (Music), “A Task Fit Only for Ladies: Music and the Early Nineteenth-Century English Gentlewoman.”



    2016 - Melissa Chesney (English), “Keats, Greeks, and Beliefs: A Mythical Quest for Human Truth.”

    First runner-up: Yvette Quintana (English), “The Crux of the Matter in ‘The Lord of the Rings': On the Absence of an Incarnation in Middle-Earth.”

    Second runner-up: Sarah N. Rodriguez (English), Following Jesus: Flannery O'Connor's Inspiration for ‘Wise Blood.’”


    Award Winner

    2014 - Tara Anderson (English), “In Between the Mountaintops: A Look at Langston Hughes' ‘Christ in Alabama.’”

    First runner-up: Robert James Sapunarich (English), “Grace in the Maelstrom.”




    2013 - Michael J. Sutherlin (English), “The Word and Words.”

    First runner-up: Tawnee J. Ortiz (English), “Dr. Jeckyll's Shadow Is Reborn: In a Game of Hyde and Seek.”

    Second runner-up: Andrew D. Winegarner (Biology), “Wittgenstein's Veneration of Value Devoid of Vacant Logic.”




Community Service Hours

Coming soon. If you have writing-related community service projects that you would like to propose, contact the Director who is eager to partner with students, staff, and faculty who want to serve our local communities through writing. Future project ideas include summer writing camps, writing in prisons, tutoring for at-risk youth, creative writing workshops, and more.