Students at ACM colleges have a scholarly journal that focuses on publishing their research papers. The Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research (MJUR) at Monmouth College produced its inaugural issue this past spring and has issued a call for papers for the 2012 issue.
The student-edited Journal seeks research-based papers from five to 50 pages in length on topics in any discipline. Each paper must be sponsored by a faculty member who is familiar with the work. The deadline for submission of articles is December 30.
In the 2011 issue of the MJUR, which is available online, the editors noted that they were charged with “choosing submissions that presented not only compelling arguments and well written prose, but also demonstrated the substantial ability of Midwest undergraduates to gather and present primary research.”
Seven articles, written by students from Carleton, Coe, Colorado, Macalester, and Monmouth Colleges, were selected for publication from among 26 papers submitted for consideration. The published authors represented a wide range of majors, including mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, history, and classics.
“For students going to graduate school, the benefits [of being in the Journal] are obvious and enormous – you have a published, refereed article,” said Simon Cordery, Professor of History at Monmouth and one of the MJUR’s faculty advisors. “For students going off to the world of work or other endeavors like the Peace Corps, it demonstrates a tremendous dedication to produce a publishable piece of writing and also gives them something tangible to show prospective employers. It’s a way, for so many of the students, of capping off their four year liberal arts degree.”
According to Cordery, the Journal was created in response to a call for new initiatives by Monmouth President Mauri Ditzler. Cordery and fellow history professor Fred Witzig put together a proposal for a scholarly journal for Monmouth students and presented it to a meeting of the college’s faculty. Their proposal was one of several initiatives chosen, and the planners soon decided to broaden the scope of the publication to allow submissions from students at all 14 ACM colleges.
Once in motion, the MJUR got off the ground quickly. Starting from scratch at its first meeting in late October 2010, the newly-formed editorial staff established guidelines for the Journal, put out a call for papers, selected articles for publication, and had the inaugural issue ready – both in print and online – the following April.
The Journal’s faculty advisors provide guidance to the editorial board, and each paper submitted to the MJUR is read by all of the student editors, at least two of the faculty advisors, and often by a faculty colleague at Monmouth or another college.
“It’s marvelous to see so much intellectual ferment in ACM schools,” Cordery said, as he noted the quality of the articles in the Journal’s first issue. “Really, it does suggest that the ACM liberal arts colleges have a tremendous amount to offer to the vibrant intellectual life of the nation.”