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A New Concept: Experienced Judges' Social Event
2005, Q4 (June 12, 2007)
by Rebecca Postupack-Slifer, Carolina Chapter Technical Publications Competition Co-Manager

When organizing our competition this year, one of the challenges that we faced, as we face every year, was recruiting judges. It is difficult to ask people to continue to judge year after year, especially with the demands everybody has on their time. Before recruiting judges this year, we tried to identify what problems we faced in the judging aspects of the competition in previous years. Through the old proverbial grapevine, we were able to deduce that some first time judges did not have a fulfilling experience. In the past, consensus judging was haphazardly done, judging was done over the phone, or judges came to the consensus judging unprepared.

We wanted to establish a good relationship with experienced judges so that they would continue to judge and bring the value of their experience to the competition. Experienced judges bring value and training to the competition that cannot be duplicated. The training component of our competition is not something that returning judges are eager to attend, so we decided to put together a social event for the returning judges to thank them for their continuing service and to encourage them to be active judges in the competition.

Many of the judges attended and had an opportunity to spend time with other judges. Together they learned about what was coming up in the competition this year. The social event also gave us a chance to thank the judges and encourage them to judge actively. We also used this opportunity to discuss consensus judging. We spread the word about the training format for this year and explained the value that they brought to the competition. Finally, we took this opportunity to thank the judges and let them know that their active participation in the competition was greatly appreciated.

Although we did not perform a formal analysis of the social, anecdotal reports indicated that everyone who attended had a good time and thought that it was a great event. One of the greatest challenges that we face each year in the competitions is recruiting judges, and when it came time to assign judges to the entries this year, we actually had more judges than we needed. We had all of our entries at the training with the judges and we were not scrambling for judges after the training event. The training went well, new judges were teamed up with experienced judges and the process went smoothly.

All in all, the social proved to be another successful event for the STC Carolina chapter, thanks to team work and creative thinking.

Rebecca can be contacted at rebeccaslifer at hotmail dot com. End of article.

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