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Journal of College Student Development 45.1 (2004) 5-7

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Florence A. Hamrick

The Journal of College Student Development enters its 45th year with the publication of this issue. As a comparison point, fewer than six percent of ACPA members report a career in student affairs that exceeds 25 years (26+ years is the top category available in the member demographic items). Only a few of our most senior colleagues remember the student affairs profession in the years before JCSD. Journals, and particularly journals with longevities like JCSD's, provide a record of the development of knowledge within a field or profession. The record that JCSD has provided for the student affairs profession is longer than most ACPA members' entire careers.

First published in October 1959, the Journal of College Student Personnel (JCSP) replaced the Personnel-O-Gram as the American College Personnel Association's major member publication (Sheeley, 1991). It took a little while for the formal structures surrounding the review and publication of articles to appear in JCSP. Indeed, the early issues contained only the name and address to which authors should direct manuscript submissions. In his letter published in the first JCSP issue, ACPA President Robert Callis introduced JCSP as "a quarterly devoted to ACPA business and news as well as professional and technical articles" (Callis, 1959, p. 26). (JCSP became a bi-monthly publication starting with Volume VI, and in 1988 the name was changed to the Journal of College Student Development.) His letter continued: "You can help get The Journal off to a good start by (1) submitting manuscripts for publication to Editor [Charles L.] Lewis, and (2) requesting your library to subscribe to The Journal" (p. 26, emphasis in original). Four years later in December 1963, a three-paragraph section entitled Suggestions to Contributors concluded the section entitled Association News. Within this section, Associate Editor Randolph Thrush directed prospective authors to submit two double-spaced, typewritten, APA style copies of manuscripts. He emphasized the importance of referencing previous scholarship, logical organization, clear writing, and "a format appropriate for social and behavioral sciences operations" (Thrush, 1963, p. 128).

Such general advice is contrasted with the lengthy and detailed guidelines for authors contained in more recent JCSD issues. Author guidelines have also periodically been supplemented by editorials about writing journal articles, such as a recent two-page editorial alerting prospective authors to attend to issues such as writing clarity, theoretical grounding, research significance, and relevance of manuscript to journal (Blimling, 1996). Many authors have contributed to JCSD over the years, and some authors have even made JCSD their subject matter.

Throughout its decades of existence, higher education scholars have scrutinized JCSD as a way to identify trends in student affairs scholarship and other patterns of interest. Only nine years after the debut of the JCSP, one analysis summarized [End Page 5] predominant topical trends of articles as well as major contributors (institutional and individual) to the Journal and concluded that a focus on professional issues was giving way to issues related to students (Walsh, Passons, & Pritchard, 1969). Two subsequent studies also explored the frequencies with which various topical areas appeared as subjects of JCSD articles (Hood, Hull, & Mines, 1979; Tryon, 1981). Davis and Liddell explored more recent topical trends in the JCSD as well as trends related to author gender and research methodology (Davis & Liddell, 1997). Such periodic studies point to a journal that has evolved along with the profession it continues to serve.

Currently, higher education scholars and practitioners consider JCSD a primary source of high quality research on student affairs and student learning. One measure of journal quality that is often referenced by academic scholars, the ISI Journal Citation Reports (ISI Journal Citation Reports, 2002), indicated that JCSD was the highest ranked journal in terms of calculated impact that specialized in research on college students. The scholarship in JCSD informs not only student affairs practitioners but also scholars who work in the broader fields of education and educational research.

A journal of this caliber cannot be successful without the ongoing contributions of dedicated volunteers who devote many hours. JCSD Editorial...


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pp. 5-7
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