Samory T. Pruitt
We extend a warm welcome to readers of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. Many of you were also our encouragers, giving us the extra measure of determination we needed to complete this first edition on a tight schedule.
It certainly wasn’t the smartest thing we’ve ever done, launching a new research journal from concept to completion in one year, but without question it has been one of our most satisfying projects.
Let me say up front: I am the publisher, responsible for financial aspects of the journal, but content decisions are those of our editorial staff and distinguished editorial board.
What were some of those decisions? Since fall 2007, we came up with a name for the journal, inviting our campus and community partners to suggest a name. We recruited a staff and a nationally representative editorial board, whom we met in conference call to incorporate their ideas into the journal’s philosophy, appearance, and operation.
In quick succession we acquired about 30 manuscripts to review for the inaugural issue and reviewed them using standard peer-review procedures. We established the journal’s visual identity, developed a related website, got estimates for printing costs, hired a printer, created a distribution list, and turned the text and images over to our editing and design team.
And here it is. Somehow we did it, thanks to our dedicated staff, fast turnaround from reviewers, some of whom were supposed to be on vacation, and, especially, our university administration.
We are proud of this first issue, but we know the best is yet to come, because the best years of engagement scholarship lie ahead as together we find more creative ways to combine curriculum and research in community settings.
Like many universities, we have a proud history of service, a term that is in our campus’s mission statement and is emblazoned on the sign announcing entry to our campus. But only in recent years have we begun to transform service into engagement, an integrated approach inviting scholars, bright students, and thoughtful community members to pool resources to produce effective, measurable, sustainable, and portable results.
It is the best of this new approach that we pledge to bring to you in the pages of your new journal. Let us know what you think and send us your ideas for improvement.
About the Author
Samory T. Pruitt is vice president for Community Affairs at The University of Alabama, from which he received the bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.