Cassandra E. Simon, Ph.D.
This edition of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship comes to you all following the 2013 Engaged Scholarship Consortium (ESC) Conference hosted by Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. The conference brought together engaged scholars from the United States and beyond with a strong international presence. After an excellent presentation to the ESC Board by Editorial Assistant Vicky Carter and Production Editor Ed Mullins, we are quite pleased to announce that the ESC Board voted to have JCES be an official journal of the ESC. In so doing the ESC provides some monetary support to the journal, but more importantly this partnership provides an endorsement of sorts for JCES. Given the relative newness of JCES to the field of engagement scholarship, this support by the ESC reinforces the significance of JCES in the scholarly world. We share this sponsorship with the University of Georgia’s Journal of Higher Education and Outreach, a long standing engagement scholarship journal.
JCES was founded with an emphasis on the partnership aspect of engagement scholarship. Thus, we looked for concrete, meaningful ways to demonstrate our commitment to what we refer to as our own genuine brand of authentic engagement scholarship. We knew it was a risk to produce a premiere, scholarly journal that provided not only an outlet to academicians for their engagement work, but also provided a space for students and community partners to be heard. Despite being often touted as essential players in community engagement, students’ and community partners’ voices have not seemed to be equally valued in the scholarly arena. Although many scholars give lip service to students and community persons for having important things to say and making important contributions to engagement scholarship, there seems to be less confidence in their abilities or desires to be a part of the scholarly dissemination of the work to which they are so vital. We at JCES hope that our efforts to create a more inclusive environment for students and community partners to have their voices heard is only the beginning of a movement that not only “talks the talk,” but “walks the walk.” Through Student Voices and Community Perspectives pieces we invite all of you to work with a student or community partner to submit a reflective, opinion, or review piece for publication in JCES. I am sure that most, if not all of you, have a student or community person who has something meaningful to say. Carving out a little time to work with a student or community partner to assist them in expressing their ideas for publication is a small price to pay for all they give to us. This issue of JCES does not have a Community Perspectives piece, as we decided that we would rather not have one than have to solicit one. Thus, I ask that you consider becoming active in the effort to show community members, as well as students, that they are valued at all levels of the engagement process, from inception to dissemination.
As the new year approaches, we are pleased with the continued growth of JCES and its continued significance to engagement scholarship. We look forward to what the future holds for engagement scholarship and the contributions to be made by Nick Sanyal, JCES’ first Reviewer of the Year and the first Associate Editor of JCES. I am fortunate that Dr. Sanyal accepted the offer for the position and look forward to what we can do together. Take a moment and get to know Nick on the following page. Remember, JCES is also posted in its entirety at our website www.jces.ua.edu and continues to be printed in hard copy. As always, we rely on and welcome your feedback. Please let us know what we continue to do well and what we might do better. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to JCES in any way over the years, especially reviewers, contributors, production team, board members, and others. Without your contributions and hard work, JCES and its sustainable centrality to engagement scholarship would not be possible.