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Charles Moran Best Text Contest

This award honors Charles Moran, the founding director of the Writing Program, who served in that capacity from 1982 to 1990. He created the program around many of the principles that guide it still today. He was particularly dedicated to student writing being the primary text of a writing course and ensuring that students have an audience beyond just the teacher. To that end, he firmly believed in publishing and celebrating outstanding student work. In that tradition, the Writing Program highlights student essays in both the Student Writing Anthology (SWA, used in College Writing courses) and the Best Text Contest awards given in his name. 

The guidelines below outline submission eligibility, awards, and publication, and the submission process for the Charles Moran Best Text Contest. If you have any questions about how to submit, please contact Heidi Terault at hterault@acad.umass.edu or Dr. Elkie Burnside at eburnside@umass.edu.

Submission Eligibility

All students enrolled in University of Massachusetts Amherst Writing, Identity, and Power (ENGLWRIT 111), College Writing (ENGLWRIT 112/112H) and Junior Year Writing courses, fall or spring semester, are eligible to submit to that year’s Charles Moran Best Text Contest. 

Essays must have been written for an assignment in ENGLWRIT 111, ENGLWRIT 112/112H, or a Junior Year Writing course. 

All submissions from the Spring semester will be due by the end of May that year; submissions from Summer and Fall semesters will be due by the end of December that year. 

Submissions written for ENGLWRIT 112/112H are eligible to be considered for publication in the digital open-access Student Writing Anthology used in these courses.

Awards & Publication

To select winners in each of the categories below, a panel of judges looks for excellent writing that reflects the goals of the course in which the student is enrolled. Winners are announced annually and beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, are invited to be published in the new digital, open-access Writing Program Best Text Collection hosted in ScholarWorks @UMassAmherst, the campus’ institutional repository.

Prizes for both Writing, Identity, and Power (ENGLWRIT 111), College Writing (ENGLWRIT 112/112H) are:

  • First Place Essay: $200;
  • Second Place Essay: $150;
  • Third Place Essay: $75; and
  • Best Multimodal Project: $200.

Prizes for Junior Year Writing are:

  • Best Short Text (up to 5 pages): $200;
  • Best Long Text (6 pages and above): $200; and
  • Best Multimedia/Non-traditional Format: $200.

Submit Here

You will submit your project using the submission form linked here (including uploading a finalized version). Before you submit you will be asked a few questions about whether you would like to publish your work. You can choose to submit to just the Charles Moran Best Text Contest and not have your work published online, OR you can choose to submit to both the Charles Moran Best Text Contest and for any 112/112H project be considered for the Student Writing Anthology. No matter what options you choose, it will not influence your chances of winning in the Charles Moran Best Text Contest.

In the first section of the form, you will provide the following information:

  • Your full name
  • Your contact information (email)
  • Course title & section number
  • Instructor’s name
  • Semester course taken
  • Title of submission
  • Submission description (Unit name and assignment description)
  • Upload project submission (accepted formats: Word, PDF, PPT, MP4, MP3, JPEG, PNG)

In the final section of the form you will need to select responses or indicate agreement to the following:

Do you want your project to be published online?

  • Yes: You have the rights to your project, you would like to be published in the Best Text Collection, and if your entry is written for College Writing (ENGLWRIT 112/112H) you would like to be considered for publication in the Student Writing Anthology.
  • No: You have the rights to your project, you would like to be considered for the contest but DO NOT want to be published in the Best Text Collection and you DO NOT want to be considered for publication in the Student Writing Anthology.

Do you understand this is an open-access publication?

  • Yes: That you understand the collection is Open Access: Anyone who has Internet access can view, cite, and download your work immediately upon publication. 

How do you want others to credit your work? 

  • Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY): This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC-BY-NC): This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, as long as it is not for commercial use, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

Submission Form

If you have questions about how to submit your project, please contact Heidi Terault at hterault@acad.umass.edu or Dr. Elkie Burnside at eburnside@umass.edu.