- Reflections on 1989-1994
As I reflect on the time I served as editor of the Journal of College Student Development, several things come to mind in addition to the pleasure and satisfaction I personally received. Some of these things I have already commented on in the editorials I wrote for the journal during that time but probably bear repeating in these reflections.
I saw the journal as a major anchor point for the association through which its members could achieve identity with their chosen profession. I believed it should present the carefully distilled results of research, practice, and theory development of the profession, and in doing so it should reflect the values that members should use to guide their work. In certain ways I saw the journal like a mirror held up to reflect the professional posture of the field. As the association searched critically for its best profile, the journal strove to present it for the world to see.
I believe a journal is also a historical document that reflects the path along which a profession travels to reach its desired goals. On occasion it may even be recognized as good literature. But most importantly it is a source of the professions best efforts to provide knowledge and answers to questions its readers are asking about the work they do and to raise further questions for the future to struggle with. No one issue of a journal ever achieves all of this, but the combined efforts that go into producing a journal and the cumulative result over time can approach it. I saw the journal as more than a place to reflect the present and build on the past, but a place to venture to the cutting edge of the field. I believe an example of this was the special issue published September 1991 on qualitative research. Its purpose was to broaden the choice of tools and provide another window through which to view the human experience by examining leading assumptions and methodological principles of the qualitative approaches to conducting research with college students.
In 1991 ACPA chose to leave the American Association of Counseling and Development, an umbrella organization, and to stand on its own. Although this decision provided a number of challenges to the association as a whole, it presented immediate challenges to the Journal of College Student Development. The first need was to find someone to print and mail the journal. The second need was to review and revise the way we received manuscripts and then processed them. Fortunately for me the University of Missouri-Columbia Printing Services, on short notice, was willing to do the printing and mailing and, after a visit to the post office to secure the proper permits, things moved smoothly. The University of Missouri-Columbia was willing to provide staff help to assist with the multiple new tasks we suddenly inherited. Looking back on it, everything went remarkably well and the JCSD continued publication with hardly a hitch. [End Page 710]
Maintaining a first class editorial board is essential and any editor must give sufficient attention to this need. Knowing the expertise of each member of the board is important. Board members, like most professionals, want to occasionally to review something different. It was sometimes a delicate balance to achieve this and remain absolutely fair to the authors submitting manuscripts. I felt it important to encourage authors to write more and particularly young authors. The process of selecting what the editorial board and I believed were the best manuscripts for publication very often meant that many young and first time authors (not always the same) were rejected. After the first issues were published during my term I began working with the editorial board members where needed to form the feedback comments in a more positive way rather than in a negative discouraging way. I wanted their honest thoughts communicated to authors of manuscripts but not in such a way that would discourage further efforts to write. Many included suggestions about how the manuscript could be improved or a source where the manuscript might be submitted that was more appropriate.
As all editors have done, each...