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Cortland launching SUNY-wide journal on civic engagement

Cortland launching SUNY-wide journal on civic engagement


SUNY Cortland’s Institute for Civic Engagement has created a unique, SUNY-wide online scholarly journal that will allow academics from all 64 SUNY Campuses share innovative and pragmatic applied learning strategies.

But contributors won’t be limited to experts with advanced degrees. Students will also be encouraged to submit research for possible publication. And, in a true break with scholarly journal tradition, so will members of the community who have been involved with civic engagement.

The Journal of the Scholarship of Engagement, JoSE, pronounced JOE-zee, will publish twice annually in January and June. Laura Dunbar and John Suarez of the Institute for Civic Engagement are the founders and managing editors of the one-of-a kind online publication JoSE.

“We really see JoSE as a pioneer project. It’s exciting,” said Dunbar, an instructor in the English Department and assistant director of the Institute for Civic Engagement. “We envision a JoSE that is agile, experimental and welcoming, as well as rigorous, useful and credible.”

The journal was announced on Oct. 29 at SUNY’s Student Success Summit Conference in Albany and it will release its inaugural issue in January 2020. The second issue, in June 2020, will be the first to feature peer-reviewed research.

JoSE is located on the Memorial Library’s Digital Commons @ Cortland thanks to the assistance of Jennifer Kronenbitter, director of libraries, and Jennifer Parker, discovery services librarian. 

JoSE will provide the entire SUNY system with an opportunity to develop and showcase its transformative applied learning strategies in one location.

The journal also gives students the ability to receive mentored leadership in publishing research and journal peer-review.

“For students, JoSE becomes yet another applied learning opportunity,” said Suarez, director of the Institute for Civic Engagement and service-learning coordinator.

It also offers applied learning practitioners — faculty, students and community partners — the opportunity to share results of, and reflections on, their use of published strategies.

“The invitation to students and to community partners to participate is part of JoSE’s unique reciprocal quality, one of mutual respect,” Dunbar noted. “This key applied learning guideline and best practice — reciprocity — reinforces the idea that our community partners are helping us to identify and address real-world, authentic challenges. It also helps us to learn as we address these challenges.”

Articles will explore, but will not be limited to, assessment of student learning outcomes, innovation in applied learning methodology, the nurturing of student leadership skills, and applied learning exploration of contemporary and emerging issues such as climate change, civic participation, and perceptions of public higher education.

A number of current journals talk about these subjects but very few are explicitly focused on the subject of applied learning, especially SUNY-approved applied learning. The opportunity for faculty, staff and students from across the SUNY system to collaborate opens doors to previously unforeseen academic possibilities within the system, Dunbar said.

“The scholarship of engagement is really still in its formative stages,” Dunbar said. “Ernest Boyer coined the phrase ‘Scholarship of Engagement’ in a 1996 piece published in The Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, so — with relatively few years of development — there is a lot of room on that frontier right now. We think SUNY deserves to have a voice in that discussion and we see JoSE several years down the road as being the vehicle for that voice.”

A number of individuals from across the SUNY system have joined JoSE’s Board of Directors. They are:

  • Barbara Barton, associate professor, Health Department, SUNY Cortland
  • John Draeger, professor, Philosophy Department; director, Teaching and Learning Center, SUNY Buffalo State College
  • Ann Emo, chair and associate professor, Theater Department, SUNY Buffalo State College
  • Seth Gilbertson, associate counsel, SUNY System Administration
  • Cheryle G. Levitt, assistant dean, BSN/MS programs, professor, School of Nursing, SUNY Delhi
  • Jarvis McCowin, assistant director of Multicultural Center, SUNY Delhi 
  • Susan C. Perkins, director of programs and services, University Center for Academic and Workforce Development, SUNY System Administration
  • Peter R. Sawyer, chair, History, Philosophy and Social Science Department; director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Laura Trottier, program assistant, Office of Applied Learning, SUNY System Administration
  • Carol Youngs, Financial Aid Office, SUNY Cortland

Dunbar and Suarez are continuing to recruit associates for JoSE, including authors, reviewers and a marketing associate. For more information, contact Dunbar.