Students look to start scholarly discussion on campus

April 11, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Interdisciplinary journal ready for its first edition

News | Jon Westmark

Students look to start scholarly discussion on campus

Submissions for the Spring 2013 edition can be sent to betheluniversitycolloquy@gmail.com by April 12. | Image for The Clarion by Roberta Fultz

This May, there will be a new publication at Bethel when the inaugural edition of Colloquy, a journal committed to undergraduate scholarship, joins its creative counterpart the Coeval on campus. Students Abby Stocker, Roberta Fultz, Leah Patton, Stacie Lewis, Brad Cox, Jacob Manning and Jared Hedges make up the editorial team that will compile the journal.

The name Colloquy, which literally means conversation, was a reflection of Stocker’s desire to begin a more involved scholarly discussion on campus. After presenting a paper she wrote for class at the Taylor University “Making Literature” conference, Stocker was surprised by the accessibility of the scholarly discussion. “I thought there was no reason we couldn’t have people send us papers that they had written for class,” she said. “We’d read through them and find the best ones and publish them.”

Though the Taylor conference was oriented toward English literature and creative writing, Stocker and the Colloquy staff would like Bethel’s journal to draw from all fields. “We don't want the journal to only cater to one department,” said Patton. “We want it to be a representation of the quality work that goes on at Bethel across the board.”

The journal will be “peer-reviewed” in multiple senses of the word. Like most peer-reviewed academic journals, qualified faculty will review each selection and judge its merit. But because it is undergraduate work, it is also peer-reviewed in the sense that students will play a large role in deciding what goes into the volume.

One of the biggest difficulties with starting a peer-reviewed journal within the Bethel community is making the process unbiased. With a relatively small number of students, creating a double blind environment – where neither the student editors nor the faculty reviewers know whose work they are reading – poses potential problems. Many students do their research in which one or multiple faculty advisors, potentially making the pool of reviewers rather small. Also, because all of the student editors happen to be English majors, papers from this discipline may need exceptional care.

To combat these potential issues, the staff responsibilities are divided up. One editor will take in a submission, remove the author's name and send the paper to the other members of the staff, who will decide if the piece contributes to the general purpose of the journal and reflects the school’s best work. If the paper meets these standards, it will then be passed on to a faculty member within the field of study that the paper addresses. The professor will then suggest edits and revisions to the paper. Once the paper is revised, the name will be reattached by the acquiring editor and the journal will be assembled for publication.

According to Stocker, the theme for this issue is (Re/De)Generation. However, papers do not need to fit with the theme directly, and the theme is intentionally ambiguous to allow for a broad range of submissions. “We tried to kind of find a way to make the different papers and ideas speak to each other and have some kind of coherent commonality between them,” she said. “But we didn’t want to limit submissions.”

According to Stocker and Patton, Colloquy is more than an opportunity to get student work published. It is also about changing the academic climate around campus. “We are proud of our community, and want this to be an opportunity to show what we can do,” Patton said.

The deadline for submissions is April 12. There are not guidelines for length, but 30+ page papers may be excerpted. The journal will tentatively be released in journal and online form, with funding from the English department. The staff is also planning on having a release party in early May.

*Submissions can be sent to betheluniversitycolloquy@gmail.com.

Comments

Most Commented