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Hunter Scholar Award

The Hunter Scholar Award promotes and supports faculty research integrating Hunter Library’s resources and services. The award winner may choose release time, a graduate assistant, and other support for their proposed research; use of the graduate assistant and course release are highly encouraged, but not required. Applications that forgo one or both of these incentives will be fully evaluated. The Hunter Scholar Award winner is announced in early spring, with the research project being completed the following fall and spring semesters.  This award is jointly provided by Hunter Library, the Graduate School and Research, and the Office of the Provost.


  • Release time for one course in the fall semester and one course in the spring semester, as approved by the applicant's department/college (Optional)
  • A Graduate Research Assistant for the two semesters (Optional)
  • $400 in support funds (can be used for supplies, travel, or other expenses related to the project as pre-approved by the Dean of Library Services)
  • A private study room in Hunter Library for fall and spring semesters


  • All full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members are eligible for this award.
  • Recipients of this award within the last five years are not eligible.


  • The Hunter Library Scholar Award recipient must develop the project in the fall semester with the Hunter Library Liaison associated with the recipient’s program/department. The recipient will present results the following fall semester separately to university community and the general public.
  • The recipient must submit a final summary at the Faculty Scholarship Celebration event the following spring.
  • The recipient will serve on the following year’s Hunter Scholar Award selection committee.

Application Guidelines

  • Applicants must demonstrate how library resources and services will be used in the project. Preference will be given to projects that highlight a combination of consultation with the appropriate Library Subject Liaison(s) and robust, substantive use of the library's various collections (including, but not limited to, print or electronic materials, data, databases, and Special Collections). Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hunter Library Liaison that is associated with their department/program to assist in the development of this aspect of the application. Good proposals will clearly demonstrate how a robust use of library resources and services is critical to the success of the research project.
  •  The award includes optional funding for a graduate research assistant. Proposals that include a request for this funding must show the benefit to the student, clearly outline the role of the student in the project, and address the educational impact of the project on the graduate assistant’s learning. Applications that forgo funding for a graduate assistant will be considered equally with those that request funding; neither will be privileged.
    •   Course releases, if taken, must be used as one fall course release and one spring release.
    •   Applications will not be evaluated based on the applicant’s previous internal or external funding. However, preference will be given to applications that outline opportunities for possible external funding based on the Hunter Scholar’s research project.
    •   Length of employment at Western Carolina University is not a consideration factor in the selection of the recipient.
  • Application Due Date: January 25, 2024
  • Applicants may apply using the application form. Learn about past winners.


  • The Hunter Scholar Award Committee will consist of a member of the senior library administration, two members from the Graduate Council, a representative from Research Administration, and the current Hunter Scholar. Award Committee recommendations will be provided to the Dean of Library Services. Applications will be evaluated using this rubric.
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