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2020 ACE Critique and Awards

Rules & Instructions


The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) Program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills. Entries must meet these criteria: 

  • Produced for an organization in the public sector. Examples include work for the U.S. or a state Department of Agriculture, a land-grant university, a state extension service or experiment station, a trade or commodity association, or a foundation.
  • Produced or received by the intended audience between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019. The same product may not be entered two consecutive years. For example, a publication produced at the end of 2018 and entered in last year's contest may not be entered again this year, even if the audience received the product in 2019.
  • The entrant must be a principal contributor of the entry. For example, entries in the writing classes must be submitted by the principal writer(s) of the project.
  • Any outside agency work on the entry must be acknowledged and must be minimal.

ACE members and nonmembers, 2020 dues must be paid to enter as a member. A team can be all ACE members, mixed with members and nonmembers, or all nonmembers.


Judges may disqualify any entry that does not have the required elements or for which the supplemental information exceeds two pages. All entries must follow the rules of its category and class as well as the general rules of the C&A program. ACE reserves the right to disqualify entries that do not adhere to these rules. All judges' decisions are final.

If judges believe entries aren’t in appropriate classes, they are permitted to move entries to more appropriate classes if possible.

You can enter the same product only once; however, various parts of a product may be entered in different classes. For example, a magazine could be entered in a publishing class, a story from the magazine in a writing class, the cover in a graphic design or photography class, and the magazine’s interactive website in an information technology class. Each entry must be registered separately and accompanied by the appropriate documents and entry fee.

ACE Learning Community leaders select the judges. Judges rate entries using criteria developed by Learning Community leaders. See the class descriptions for judging criteria.

By mid-March, you will receive an email notification your entry has been judged. The email will provide the numerical scores and comments from the judge. Judges are asked to highlight the entry’s strengths and weaknesses and discuss specific changes that could improve its effectiveness. The email also will let you know if you’ve won an award.

Judges may select a gold, silver, and bronze award in each class. Each gold-winning entry is judged a second time against all other gold winners in a category to select that category’s Outstanding Professional Skill (OPS) award winner. ACE does not award ties in a class. Judges may choose to make no award in a class or category.


The 2020 ACE C&A program will open in early January, with a firm deadline of January 31.

All entries must be entered or registered online by midnight, Eastern Time, Friday, January 31. 

How to Enter

All entries must be uploaded into Submittable.

You will need to create a Submittable account.

    Name files using this format: YourLastName_EntryTitle_ClassNumber_Document. For example:

    • Beckman_Extension100years_class20_entryform.pdf
    • Miller_ExtensionAtWork_class20_info.docx
    • Steel_TheNewExtension_class20_audio.wav

    Do not name files as you probably would on your own computer since ACE and judges need to be able to identify many entries. For example, don’t submit files titled Class23entry.pdf or Miller100years.pdf.

    Entry Fees and Payment

    • $40 for each ACE member individual entry. Dues must be paid for 2020.
    • $130 for each non-ACE member individual entry
    • $65 per entry for teams with half or more ACE members
    • $170 per entry for teams with less than half ACE members

    The preferred method of payment is online via credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover); follow the instructions in the Submittable system. Call the ACE office if you need to pay for multiple entries using a department credit card.

    The lead entrant is responsible for listing any teammates on the entry form. ACE cannot add teammates to entries after they have been submitted without the consent of the lead entrant and/or the individual or institution paying for the entry.


    All winners will be listed in the 2020 ACE awards program booklet and on the ACE website. Awards will be presented at the 2020 ACE conference in Chicago.

    Winners are asked to bring posters, samples, or other materials to share their work at the conference. Outstanding Professional Skill award winners are asked to prepare a two-minute maximum video for the awards ceremony.

    All winners receive certificates. ACE members who win gold awards receive mounted certificates. 

    Outstanding Professional Skill (OPS) award winners, teammates included, receive one engraved plaque, provided they are ACE members. To order additional plaques at $20 each, non-members may also receive a plaque for an additional $35. Contact ACE at aceoutreach@gmail.com. 

    ACE will ship the award or send it home with a colleague if winners are unable to attend the conference.

    If you request it on the entry form, ACE will notify one administrator about your accomplishment.


    For questions, problems, or concerns, please don't hesitate to email aceoutreach@gmail.com, or 847.647.8861.

    ©2019 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences

    ACE Office: 847-647-8861

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