Joan Pavelich CASDW Annual Award for Best Dissertation

The Joan Pavelich CASDW Annual Award for the Best Dissertation in Writing and Discourse Studies

Each year, CASDW gives an award to an outstanding dissertation in writing and discourse studies. Dissertations from the preceding calendar year are eligible for nomination. Nominees may be students of any nationality studying in a Canadian program or Canadian students studying elsewhere. To be eligible for consideration for the best dissertation award, the author need not already be a member of CASDW.


  • General quality of writing and comprehensibility
  • Potential significance to the field, including significance of the problem studied and the degree to which important new information is revealed
  • Originality
  • Depth of research


Nominations will be due in the months preceding our annual conference; the specific date will be publicized early in 2019. The award is presented at the annual CASDW conference.

In recognition of Joan Pavelich, Professor Emeritus at UBC, who passed away May 11, 2015, the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing (CASDW) recently voted to change the name of its annual best dissertation award to The Joan Pavelich Award for the Best Dissertation in Writing Studies, effective in the 2015 award year.

The renaming of the award recognizes the work that Joan did in 1981-82 in founding the Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (CATTW), the precursor organization to CASDW. As Joan recounts in a 1994 article in Technostyle, she had to overcome a number of obstacles—including lack of funding and institutional support—to get the association up and writing. Through Joan’s tireless efforts, CATTW emerged as a new bilingual association, with its own refereed journal, Technostyle, and an annual conference held in association with the Learneds conference, now the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Joan was the founding editor of Technostyle and served as president of CATTW until 1985. In 2008, CATTW became CASDW, with a new broader focus on advancing the study of discourse and the teaching of writing in academic and non-academic settings.

Joan’s obituary can be found here.

Joan’s entertaining account of the founding of CATTW can be found here.