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Call for Judges

Call for Judges

The STC Alliance is proud of the cumulative experience of our Judges and Team Leaders who return year after year to provide feedback and the biggest value for all entrants.  To sustain the quality of the competition, we invite more judge volunteers who go through training and work remotely with multi-chapter teams.

If you would like to volunteer to be a competition judge, complete the electronic Judges Information Form  (click the link, complete and Submit) by December 8, 2020.  Returning Judges are also asked to  send any updates/changes to their profile.

Training for all judges will be done by Carolyn Reynolds and Phoebe Forio. Training is mandatory for new judges.  

If you have questions about judging in the STC Alliance Competition, please contact our Chapter Representatives: Carolyn Klinger, Washington DC/Baltimore,  Phoebe Forio (404.210.2053 - Atlanta); TJ Cardenas and Scott McCoy (551.427.7420 - New York),  Lara Trellis (SC Texas);  Bobbi Werner (315.678.2052 - Rochester); Mike Nelson and Steve Jong (New England). 
Competition Co-Chairs:  Malu Schloss 917-312-1567, Carolyn Klinger and Bobbi Werner.

Why volunteer to be a judge? 

See the latest trends first-hand in technical communication, instructional design, promotional, informational, and user support materials.  You are exposed to new ideas and a chance to discuss content development and design with professional peers. 

If you have good experience in technical writing, learning design, editing, or developing documentation or marketing communications, we're looking for you. If you are adept with technical illustrations, video editing, posters or packaging, you will be delighted at this opportunity to see great examples of work from others in the profession.

STC membership is not a requirement. We provide extensive training for judges. More experienced judges will serve as Team leaders and guide you through assessments.

Competition Schedule 2020-21 


November 11, 2020, Tuesday

STC TechComm Roadshow and Kick-off event 
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm EDT

  • Features presentations by top winners and access to available online winning entries
  • Free attendance for all including students. Register to receive the join link.

November 11 2020

Call for Entries and Judges

  • Deadline for Judges - December 8, 2020.  Judging for the STC competition is a serious commitment. We are adding
     more time this season to organize our teams and get to train and know new judge volunteers.
  • Deadline for Submission of Entries - January 15, 2021, Friday, 6:00 pm

Dec. 8, 2020

Dec. 23, 2020-Jan. 4, 2021

Deadline for Judge Recruitment -  December 8, 2020         


**** Happy Holidays! ****


January 15, 2021  Friday. 6:00 pm EDT

Deadline for Submission of Entries (both print, and digital)


Training Dates

  • January 13 - 7-8:00 pm EDT - Team Leaders 
  • January 25 - 7-8:30 pm EDT - Training/Refresher for all 
  • January 27, 28, and Feb. 1 - 7-7:30 pm - Mock Assessments Practice - 30-minute sessions
Multi-chapter Judging teams are organized.  Teams are led by an experienced team leader and meet remotely.
Training/Refresher for all. Attendance is mandatory for all new Judges.
  • January 13, 2021, 7-8 pm EDT - Team Leaders Meeting  
  • January 25, 7-8:30 pm EDT - General Training/Assessment Forms - Required for New judges
  • January 27, 28 and Feb 1 - 7-7:30 pm - Mock Assessments  Practice - New judges require to attend at least 1 of the 3

January 16- 29 2021

Entries are organized and assigned. Online entries are set up in the secure Judges" site and print entries are mailed to assigned Judge team members. (Judges, let us know if you change your address!)


February 1, 2021

All Judge teams should have received their assigned entries and Login instructions for the Judges' secure website.  Judges will receive Print entries via USPS. Judges CONFIRM receipt.


Feb. 1- 12, 2021 
(Milestone 1)

Milestone 1: Judges provide First Impressions to Team Leaders by Feb. 12. Team Leaders provide first impressions to the Judging Managers.


Feb 13-26, 2021 
(Milestone 2)

Milestone 2: Judges provide draft Assessment 1 to Team leader for at least one entry. Team leader provides draft comments for at least one entry to Judging Managers.


Feb 27-Mar. 12, 2021
(Milestone 3)

Milestone 3: Judges provide feedback on draft Assessment 2 to Team Leader. Team Leader provides draft comments to Judging Managers.


March 13-26, 2021
(Milestone 4)

Milestone 4: Judges complete draft Assessment 3 and by now should have completed all 3 assessments. Team Leader sends drafts to Judging Co-Managers.           


March 27-April 9 , 2021
(Milestone 5)

Milestone 5: Judges complete draft Assessment 4, if needed. Judges review and complete all  assessment sheets and collaborate on writing an Overview for each assigned entry. Team meets to decide if the entry deserves an award and at what level. The team may decide to recommend the entry for Best of Show and prepare for it. 


April  17, 2021

Consensus Day

Consensus Day: Final judging (Virtual meeting)
  • All written comments for all entries are refined and given to Team Leaders and turned over to Judging Co-Managers.
  • Teams determine recommendations for awards, including Best of Show. 
  • Group discussion and presentation of winning entries
  • April 21 - If there was not enough time to decide a Best of Show on Consensus day, we will organize a separate meeting and an appoint a Sub-committee.
  • Team Leaders submit all assessments

April 28, 2021

Best of Show, Distinguished, Excellence and Merit awardees are announced.  Assessments and Awards are sent out shortly after.    


June 6-9, 2020                                                                                    

 STC International Summit and Conference - Virtual conference


What does a Competition Judge do?

Judges are responsible for evaluating every entry they receive. They must provide feedback to each entrant. The assessment should provide clear, impartial, and constructive feedback. Judge duties include:

  • Check the contents of the package as soon as possible after receiving it to ensure that everything assigned is included.
  • Review each entry. Provide constructive feedback on each entry.
  • Meet with team members for consensus on awards. Contribute to writing any Best of Show recommendations.
  • Complete and return assessment forms by the specified method and date.

Judges are grouped into teams of three including a Team Leader.

The Team Leader is usually someone with previous experience as a local/regional or international judge and/or someone with a wide degree of technical communication experience. The Team leader also has  a few additional responsibilities to make the judging run smoothly:

  • Ensure that all team members have the same entries and that all entries are complete (that is, all submission forms are present and properly filled out), compliant with competition rules (for example, produced during the correct time window), and placed in the appropriate competition category. 
  • Monitor the team’s progress vs. the scheduled Milestones
  • Answer team members’ questions about the entries and the judging process. The team leader is the liaison between the team and the competition managers to resolve problems.
  • Make sure all team members have completed all their assigned entry assessments by consensus judging day. 
  • Team leaders should check with their team members regularly throughout the evaluation period. Lead the consensus meeting and make sure entries and assessment forms are correct, professional, acceptable thorough, and delivered to the judging co-managers on time.
  • Schedule team meetings as necessary. 
  • In the consensus meeting, communicate award levels and any Best of Show recommendation to the Judging co-managers

How much time will it take?

Judge Training normally takes 1.5 - 2 hours and is conducted over the web. Each judge is assigned an average of  3 entries and judges follow a schedule of milestones culminating in Consensus Day.  We estimate that judges will devote a minimum of 15-24 hours for judging. Most meetings between team members can be done over the phone or web.

Criteria for evaluation depend on the entry category. Here are some examples:
  • User Support materials - For online help, is it easy to find the information you need and are topics explained thoroughly?
  • Instructional materials - Is the eLearning / mlearning compelling and does it enable the audience to complete learning objectives?
  • Promotional materials - Do the marketing brochures and web materials excite you about the products or processes described?
  • Informational materials - Is the website a good example of content strategy and make you want to view more pages?  Can you find what you want quickly?

The answer to the above questions and more may convince you and your team members that an entry is worthy of awards: Distinguished, Excellence or Merit. You might even recommend the entry for the Best of Show award!