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Creative 40 Acres

Regents' Outstanding Arts & Humanities Award
Recognition of the Creative Writing

All forms of artistic expression, from visual to performing, provide a context for exchange across cultures. Recognizing the role that higher education institutions have in supporting cultural conservation, fostering intercultural dialogue, and promoting innovative artistic expression, The University of Texas System institutions strive to enrich their communities through the sponsorship of various arts and art education programs. The arts enrich the experience of students through curricular and co-curricular activities. Campus involvement in the arts also impacts the economic development of surrounding communities by helping to develop aspirations for higher learning and providing venues for artistic presentations.

To recognize student achievement in the arts and humanities, The University of Texas System Board of Regents has developed awards for outstanding students and student groups that excel in four areas: the musical arts, the visual arts, poetry writing and short essays. The specific Area for recognition will vary each year. For 2016-2017, the UT System Board of Regents will recognize creative writing. There will be awards made in two categories: poetry and short fiction. One winner will be named in each category. A $1,500 monetary award will be made in the winners’ names to the department of their choice. The award will be split with the student and the awarded department. Additionally the top 3 students in each category that will advance to the Regents' competition will receive a monetary award from the Creative 40 Acres.


January 26, 2017 Entries are due to via online application by 11:59 a.m. for Preliminary Review. Nominations will be reviewed by an independent panel.
February 5, 2017 Entries advancing to the UT System will be notified. Up to 6 entries (no more than 3 in Poetry Writing, no more than 3 in Short Fiction) will be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs
April 2017 Award recipients are announced
May 2017 Award recipients are invited to attend a Board of Regents meeting


The awards are open to full-time undergraduate students studying at a UT institution.

General Criteria

  • Demonstrated commitment to the arts through participation in university and community activities
  • Creativity, originality, imagery, artistic quality, and mastery of expression are apparent in the work submitted
  • Sustained high academic performance defined as a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • No pending violations of institutional policies

Submission Guidelines

  • Poetry Submissions
    • Submit up to five poems (no more than 10 pages total).
  • Short fiction
    • Submissions must be between seven and 20 pages.
  • All submissions
    • Must use a 12-point font and be written in English.
    • Each writing sample must include a title and page numbers.
    • Do not include applicant name or identifying information in the writing samples. This information should only appear on the application form that accompanies the work.
    • Only original, unpublished work may be submitted. Writers may submit work in both categories, but an applicant can win in only one category.
    • If submitting work in both categories, a separate application form is required for each submission.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality: The author displays a creative approach to structure and/or possesses a unique voice.
  • Command of Language: The artist's language adheres to proper/appropriate grammar and mechanics; demonstrates complex, sophisticated sentence structure and vocabulary; or deviates from these conventions for artistically defensible reasons. Overall, the use of language demonstrates a mastery of expression.
  • Structure: The collection of short fiction or poetry exhibits a clear story/poetic arc or is thematically unified.

Nomination Materials

  • The application form (linked below) which in agreement:
    • Allows UT System to publically share your work
    • Allows staff to verify your grade status
  • Artwork images. All work must be submitted in a single .pdf file

Final Selection Process

The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) will administer the program on behalf of the UT System Board of Regents. The awards will be determined by a selection committee appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. OAA staff will review all recommendations and will forward those candidates meeting the specified criteria to the selection committee for consideration. The selection committee will include three experts from outside the UT system. Selected members of the Board of Regents may be involved in the final selection of winners.


  • Recognized as a winner of the 2017 Regents’ Outstanding Arts and Humanities Award in Creative Writing.
  • A $1,500 monetary award in the winner’s name to the department listed on the application. The designated program or department which receives the monetary prize may award the money to the student winner or other student projects, or use the proceeds at the department’s discretion.
  • Award winners may be asked to display their work at a Board of Regents’ meeting, dinner or other gatherings during the year.
  • Award winners may have the opportunity to showcase work.


If you have questions please contact Jennifer Zamora.

All materials submitted for consideration will become the property of the University of Texas System, and will not be returned.

The finalists may be required to sign permission documents to allow UT System to publish work on a limited basis.

An applicant can only win in one category


Apply for the Creative 40 Acres 2017 Regents’ Outstanding Arts and Humanities Award in Creative Writing.