Twice a year, Worcester State University publishes a first-rate academic journal, and its editor has been reaching out recently so more people know about it.
Currents in Teaching and Learning is a peer-reviewed electronic journal that fosters exchanges among teacher-scholars across disciplines. Currents’ stated goal is to improve teaching and learning in higher education with short reports on classroom practices as well as longer research, or theoretical articles related to teaching and learning.
Worcester State has been publishing Currents for 13 years, but recently the journal’s website has undergone a significant update and steps have been taken to ensure the articles it contains show up more frequently in Internet searches.
“We get submissions from all over the world, so people clearly have Currents on their radar,” says Benjamin D. Jee, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who is the journal’s editor. “We have built up a reputation over 13 years, but recently we have been reaching out to broaden our audience as we continue to carve out our identity as a rigorous, peer-reviewed journal.”
To pull each issue together, Jee pores over submissions received from Worcester State faculty and from scholars throughout the country and the world. The submissions that meet the journal’s standards for relevance and quality are sent to relevant experts for peer review. The rigorous peer-review process often involves multiple rounds of revision, helping to ensure that accepted papers make a strong contribution to teaching and learning in higher education.
“As a cognitive psychologist, I study how people think and learn and so this is my primary area of interest,” Jee says. “As an instructor, I want to be reflective and thoughtful about the methods I use in my classroom. We get submissions from all different disciplines for Currents. What they all have in common is they are trying out new creative ways of teaching students and of helping them learn and understand.”
The articles aim to be jargon-free, so the journal’s intended audience includes a more general readership as well as college faculty, researchers, and other scholars.
“The audience is anyone who is interested in knowing more about teaching methods in higher education,” Jee says. “In the call for papers we emphasize that we want to see articles that aren’t esoteric in nature and not so much of ‘This is the way you should teach biology,’ for example. The idea is that the lessons learned from the research papers are broadly applicable across disciplines. To me, the audience is people who are interested in updating, or are thinking more deeply about, their own interface with their students and the way in which they present the knowledge in the classroom.”
The work of Worcester State faculty often is included in Currents. In the latest issue, contributors included Elizabeth Siler, Ph.D., professor of Business Administration and Economics; Eileen Perez, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics; Elizabeth Gilbert, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics; among others.
Linda Larrivee Ph.D., Dean of the School of Science, Technology, and Health works closely with the editor. “This journal’s mission is to gather information about the best practices in teaching and learning and our faculty are very well versed in these areas,” Larrivee says. “Additionally, for a university to have a respected in-house professional journal is a very notable thing and brings attention to the fact that we are a center of this kind of knowledge.”
Currents has become known among scholars, but Larrivee and Jee hope the recent website improvements and other efforts to make the articles more readily available help raise the journal’s profile.
“The articles that are published in Currents are cited in other work, and that’s an important measure of how much this information is used by other researchers,” Larrivee says. “It’s important that people, including our alumni, know that this has become a respected journal in the field of the scholarship of teaching and learning that coincides with our mission and adds to the prestige of Worcester State University.”
If you are interested in publishing your work in Currents, please see the journal’s website for submission guidelines. Feel free to contact Benjamin Jee (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about the journal and the publication process.
In the above photo: Dr. Benjamin Jee
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