• Home
  • ACE Critique and Awards Rules & Instructions

ACE Critique and Awards Rules and Instructions

What you should know and do now:

  • The 2024 ACE C&A program will is OPEN, with a firm deadline of February 15, 2024.
  • Review category and class descriptions and begin thinking now about what work you will enter.

Other key dates:

  • End of Feb: Judging
  • March: ACE review
  • April: Entrants begin to receive results and critiques


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 public 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, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023. The same product may not be entered two consecutive years. For example, a publication produced at the end of 2022 and entered in last year's contest may not be entered again this year, even if the audience received the product in 2023.
  • 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.

You can enter the same product only once within each category. You can enter the same product in all categories if it qualifies.

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 class and the magazine’s interactive website in an information technology class.

Each entry must be submitted separately and accompanied by the appropriate information and entry fee.


ACE members and nonmembers may enter. To be eligible to enter as a member, an individual must have current dues paid at the time of entry.

A team can be all ACE members, mixed with members and nonmembers, or all nonmembers.

Entry fees 

Fees for 2024:

  • $45 for each ACE member individual entry. Dues must be current.
  • $140 for each nonmember individual entry
  • $70 per entry for teams with half or more ACE members
  • $175 per entry for teams with less than half ACE members

The method of payment is online via credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover). Follow the instructions in the Submittable system. Email the ACE office at aceoutreach@gmail.com if you need to pay for multiple entries using a department credit card.

Entry process

All entries must be uploaded into Submittable.  You will need to create a Submittable account.

Name files using this format: YourLastName_EntryTitle_Class_Document. For example:   Smith_Extension100years_writing1.pdf

Do not name files as you probably would on your own computer since ACE and judges need to be able to quickly identify many entries. For example, don’t submit files titled Class1entry.pdf or Miller100years.pdf.

The lead entrant is responsible for listing 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.

Judging process 

Judges evaluate entries using criteria developed for each class by ACE Learning Communities. Judges provide critique comments for each entry. They are asked to highlight the entry’s strengths and weaknesses and describe specific changes that could improve its effectiveness.

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

If a judge believes an entry is in the wrong class, they may move it to an appropriate class. ACE will notify you if this occurs.

ACE reserves the right to disqualify entries that are incomplete or otherwise do not follow the rules and instructions for the overall C&A program, the category and the class.

All judges' decisions are final.


All winners will be listed in the 2024 ACE Awards presentation and on the ACE website.

Awards will be presented at the ACE Conference in June 2024. 

All winners receive certificates. 

Outstanding Professional Skill (OPS) award winners receive one award per entry, provided it is an ACE member entry (individual or team). 

Outstanding Professional Skill award winners are asked to prepare a two-minute (max) video for the awards ceremony. 

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


Please contact ACE aceoutreach@gmail.com.


©2023 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences

ACE Office: 847-647-8861

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software