BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 5, 2008 – When the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences established the Undergraduate Research Institute, it took less than two years for it to be identified as "one of the most comprehensive undergraduate programs at the University," according to the 2006-2007 President's Annual Report.
Since its inception, the college’s Director of Student Development, Diana Ridgwell, has worked with students and faculty to establish a firm foundation upon which the institute will continue to build.
According to Ridgwell, the idea of establishing an undergraduate research journal has been part of the Undergraduate Research Institute plan from the onset, but was not yet slated for development. Enter Dylan Greenwood, a senior honors scholar and political science major from Winston-Salem, N.C.
Compiling information on the undergraduate publications of other schools, Greenwood carefully observed how each one approached the many tasks of managing a journal. “The question I found myself asking,” says Greenwood, was “Why should our students need to submit to other journals?” His response soon became, “Let’s do our own.”
Approved in January, Greenwood’s proposal is rapidly becoming a reality. Christened Philologia (Latin for scholarship and love of learning), the journal’s mission statement announces its intent to “establish an open forum for the exchange of ideas discovered in undergraduate research and scholastic endeavors in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.” A secondary objective, says Greenwood, is to “provide undergraduates with an opportunity to learn the process of submitting to a peer-reviewed journal.”
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences undergraduates will serve as Philologia’s producers, with Ridgwell acting as administrative director and Greenwood its first editor-in-chief. A managing editor --David Grant -- and seven associate editors are also onboard. Grant is a senior from Burke, Va., and a political science and religious studies major in the University Honors program.
Of Virginia Tech’s 25 benchmark institutions, only ten have undergraduate research journals, none of which represent the liberal arts or human sciences. This student-inspired university first will, claims Ridgwell, “showcase students’ work across campus and nationally, serve as a recruiting tool, and highlight the strengths of student-faculty collaboration.”
Greenwood reports that, along with a solid and diverse undergraduate staff, “We have an amazing journal board composed of student-focused and supportive faculty.” Board members include: Brian Britt professor of religious studies, Elizabeth Hahn-Chancey professor of interdisciplinary studies and women’s studies, Kwame Harrison professor of sociology, Karen Hult professor of political science, Nancy Metz professor of English, Terry Papillon professor of classics, Joe Pitt professor of philosophy, and Susanna Rinehart who teaches theatre arts. In addition, board member and English professor Eva Brumberger will have her spring semester design for print class work on journal layout and graphics.
Undergraduate research in any of the college departments is eligible for submission and will be considered on the basis of importance, creativity, academic integrity and composition. Offerings will be peer reviewed with oversight by faculty experts. Final submission date is set for Sept. 12, with the review process beginning shortly thereafter. The Undergraduate Research Institute hopes to have the first journal available, in print and online, in spring 2009.
The submission date for the charter issue is Sept. 12.