#UMassDBelieves | Questions & Answers

NOTES: Posts will appear within 24-48 hours. Only submit once.

Before emailing your question, please check the FAQs below to see if we have already answered it.

What is “appropriate” content for the blog?
  • Our This We Believe project supports free and open discourse while embracing the University’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy, which aims to ensure that “the individual dignity and potential of each of its members are given full respect, recognition, and encouragement.”
  • On the blog, there may be content that some find offensive and it’s important to weigh perspectives that are vastly different from our own in what we read and write. The University does not endorse any specific comment.
  • If you identify content that you believe violates our University’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy, please email a blog administrator.
Why is my comment not appearing?
  • The administrators of the blog must manually approve each comment. Because this is a community and public space we want to read each contribution before it goes out, so please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. Do not post multiple times.
Do I write a Blog Post and an “essay”?
  • Maybe. These are two versions of the same project. The belief statement is the blog post we ask all students to submit, here, on our site.
  • You may choose to develop and revise your blog post into (approximately) a 500-word “essay” to submit to the Provost’s Writing Contest by 8/1 to win a prize– we encourage you to do this.
When do I need to start writing?
  • We encourage you to begin writing your belief statement early during the summer months so you have plenty of time to revise. We also want lively conversation on our blog, which means that the earlier you post, the more likely it is that your peers will respond. We respectfully ask that blog posts are submitted by  8/15 so your peers have a chance to respond before the first day of class. 
How strict is the word count?
  • For the blog, 250 words, give or take, is the maximum. And for the writing contest, stay within 50 words (plus or minus) of 500. But remember, it doesn’t have to be an essay– there are other forms. Check out past winners for ideas.
What if I’m not taking a First-Year English course?
  • This is your first invitation to join the University’s writing community, so it’s important that you complete the blog post even if you’re not taking a first-year experience course (like English 101); plus, you may be asked to discuss your belief statement in another class.
What if I don’t want my blog post visible to the community?
  • Part of this first assignment is practicing writing for a community– this means writing with an awareness of your audience. Your blog posts allow your peers to learn from you, as you will from them, and to develop an understanding of university life. If you’re worried about your content, consider how you might revise your blog post so it’s appropriate for the wider UMassD community.
Can I edit my post?
  • You do not have editing rights; when you post, you publish, so you’ll want to proofread and revise your work several times before posting. In the event that you need your post changed/deleted, please send an email using the comment form on the Contact Us page.
Do I have to respond to other posts?
  • Think of our blog as a digital conversation, just like those on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook– without your response, it’s just a one-sided conversation. Your responses are what help to build the community and so we strongly urge you to add your voice by the first day of class.
Is this graded?
  • The blog posts are not graded by us, but your peers will respond to them, so in a sense, they are being “peer reviewed.” Your belief statement, however, may be something that one of your instructors chooses to incorporate into the course and ultimately grade.