Don Rothman Award in First-Year Writing

“My effort to help them become stronger writers engages a host of contradictions. I want them to use what they know about the world to illuminate our class inquiry, and I want them to become passionate researchers of others’ scholarly work at the same time. I want them to claim a level of authority as writers, and I want them to step out of the way to engage others’ work. This is a difficult dance.”

— Don rothman, “The Writing Program as a Laboratory for Democracy
Animation is Sammy Slug at a protest. They are standing at a podium in a blue hoodie. Hands hold two protest signs in the background that say: "The Real Change is Us" and "Our Voices Will Define the Century" in pink.

Don Rothman, a 39-year member of Oakes College and Writing Program faculty, founded this award to honor the writing achievements of students in the Writing Program. 

Monetary awards total up to $2,000 per year and are presented to several award winners at a public ceremony.

Guidelines & Application

To submit your project to the judging committee for the Don Rothman Endowed Award in First-Year Writing, please review the guidelines below. Here is the submission form.

  • The project you submit must have originated in a Writing Program course during 2023-24 academic year, and the student must be in their first-year at UCSC. 
  • Include neither your name nor your instructor’s name anywhere on your project. 
  • Submissions. We welcome all writing projects completed by first-year students in writing courses. These may include traditional written genres, such as academic, analytic, or nonfiction writing, as well as various other genres (speeches, manifestos, podcasts, comics, infographics, etc.).
    • All submitted projects must not contain the student’s name. Written projects must be under 2500 words.   
  • If the project has sound (via video and/or audio), it should be captioned. 

Judging: In the fall, a team of Writing Program faculty determine the winning submissions from the previous academic year.

Awards Ceremony: Students whose essays are selected for the award, as well as faculty in whose classes the essays originated, are recognized at an awards ceremony in fall quarter, following the spring submission deadline.

Essays selected to receive an award are posted to the Writing Program Website, shared at the Awards Ceremony, and may be published and distributed within the UCSC community. 

2020-21
2019-20
2018-19
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2016-17
2015-16
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2009-10
Last modified: May 17, 2024