Each year, Ithaca College faculty volunteer their time and service to judge the Spring Writing Contests. These opportunities would not be possible without their generous support. For the 2019 Spring Writing Contests, I would like to thank the following judges:
First-Year Essay: Sandy Dutkowsky & Daniel Wilber
Short Story: Augusto Facchini & Jacob White
Poetry: Christine Kitano & Jaime Warburton
Long Form: Joan Marcus & James Miranda
Hybrid: James Miranda & Vinita Prabhakar
Humor: Antonio DiRenzo & Tyrell Stewart-Harris
Personal Essay: Vinita Prabhakar & Amy Quan
Creative Nonfiction: Eleanor Henderson & Nick Kowalczyk
Nonfiction: Barbara Adams, Tom Girsham, Stewart Auyash
Feature/Magazine: Barbara Adams & Nick Kowalczyk
We received nearly 150 submissions from Ithaca College students in various majors and concentrations. The categories of poetry, short story, personal essay, and hybrid received the most submissions. In a few cases, judges identified conflicts of interest (per judging instructions), and a substitute stepped in to evaluate those submission—all in the spirit of running a fair contest.
Judges did not award second place prizes in first-year essay, poetry, long form, or in humor, which can happen. While situations varied per genre, judges decided that no clear runner-up could be identified.
2019 saw the elimination of the judge's prize. It also saw the addition of two new categories: long form and humor.
A small number of students had questions pertaining to the contest guidelines, mainly concerning the differences between genres. To aide in better communicating contest guidelines going forward, I plan on hosting an open forum in early March.
There was a stipulation in our 2019 contest guidelines that dictated only one prize could be awarded per person, per year. This was a new addition to the guidelines, added on a trial basis in 2019 to address issues pertaining to equity—making space so that more students could be recognized. In practice, this guideline proved to be logistically impossible. Since all prizes are judged without identifying information, the responsibility of identifying dual winners falls on the contest coordinator. This qualification can only be enforced once a submission has been deemed a winner; thus, enforcing this guideline would require, first, stripping a winner of their designation. I determined that this practice, ultimately, undermined the integrity of the contest, of the judges' decisions, and the work. The only reasonable way of enforcing such a qualification would be to restrict students to submitting only in one category, which would then reduce opportunities for all.
Finally, due to issues with technology, a small batch of writers received notice that their submissions had been received too late and were therefore disqualified. I identified, however, that many of the late submissions were the result of a lag between time of submission and time of receipt; thus, I invited writers to submit a timestamp as proof of on-time submission. Writers who provided a timestamp indicating their original submission time were entered into the contest and sent a confirmation.
It has been my pleasure coordinating the 2019 Spring Writing Contests. If you have question, please direct them to me: Raul Palma, RPalma@Ithaca.edu