The Middle Ground Journal, 2012 to 2013: An Innovative, Sustainable, Scholarly Teaching Journal. Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor. Assistant Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, USA.
a. An Innovative, Sustainable, Scholarly Teaching Journal. The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies, a scholarly, teaching journal, has successfully published six issues. The Middle Ground publishes scholarly essays and reviews on world history and global studies, while simultaneously providing invaluable educational opportunities for students on all levels. During this past school year, The Middle Ground has established an ambitious weekly publishing schedule. As of September 2013, the journal has edited material to sustain the publishing schedule well into the summer of 2014. The Book Review Department, directly under my supervision, has expanded the list of international publishers it is working with. Over 200 books and documentaries have been acquired during this past school year. The journal seeks innovation in the research articles, essays on teaching, and reviews we publish. We continue to seek to broaden and redefine the meaning of and audience for a scholarly journal, and participate actively in the organizations and conversations concerning e-publishing and open-access publications. During the 2012-2013 school year, undergraduate student interns presented their collaborative work with North Star Academy’s 8th grade global studies classes at the World History Association 2013 annual conference. An article on their work was also published in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History. As a result, I will also represent the Middle Ground on a panel on scholarly journals at the 2014 AHA conference. Sustainability of this journal is achieved by nurturing the positive relationship with our host institution, The College of St. Scholastica. This is accomplished by the strictly educational and innovative activities of our student interns, and by a sustained effort to invite different parts of the college to participate. It is also achieved by our concerted community and global outreach, by our expanded review department, by our innovative student internship and undergraduate research programs, and by our collaborative efforts with scholarly conferences and associations around the world.
b. Articles and On Teaching Essays. We have more than enough articles edited and ready for the vastly expanded 2013-2014 issues and many items under review. Several articles from collaborative efforts with scholarly conferences are nearly ready for publication, others will come online soon. Key examples are a forum of nine innovative articles, case studies, and reviews on borderland issues organized and edited by our editor, Andrae Marak, and guest editor Benita Heiskanen. Also, scholarly conference papers from the North Texas University Art History Graduate Student Conference, and the North American Taiwan Studies Conference. Student interns will continue to help me devise outreach efforts to area K-12 schools and colleges and universities, as well as to history programs on a state by state basis.
c. Reviews. In the first four issues, the journal published 11 reviews. In the next two issues 38 reviews were published. I have received over 200 books and documentaries from publishers such as University of British Columbia, Minnesota, Rutgers, Kansas, Toronto, Stanford, New Mexico, Oxford, Harvard, Routledge, Pennsylvania, Colorado, M.E. Sharpe, Manitoba, North Carolina, Ohio, SUNY, Michigan, Georgetown, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Rowman Littlefield, Georgia, Johns Hopkins and other publishers. Publishers are now routinely sending unsolicited books to the Home Office for consideration for review.
This organized expansion of the review section has enabled the journal to maintain an internet presence year-round, and is an excellent way to network on behalf of the journal, the MWWHA, and the WHA with publishers, documentary makers, and scholars from around the world. Each piece of our communication carries links to the WHA and the MWWHA, and an invitation to join these associations. Many of the conversations on these reviews (with several hundred scholars around the world) have already yielded other potential collaborative projects beyond the reviews. Adhering to our mission to balance between teaching and research, and to innovate, future reviews will carry occasional follow-up essays when reviewers subsequently use the documentary or book in a class-room. These follow-up reports may be in other forms, such as video interviews with students via YouTube. Student interns will be invited to take a greater role in the book review process – from book selection, reviewer selection, to witnessing the editing process to the development of follow-up classroom reports.
d. Graduate and Undergraduate Student Interns.
The Middle Ground Journal is a scholarly journal of world history and global studies. It is also a teaching journal. Therefore, the journal also serves as an educational institution. Because of this dual nature, we have always had contingents of graduate and undergraduate student interns. Our student interns are given broad access to various parts of the scholarly journal, from the peer-review process, to book reviews, to marketing, IT, and community and K-12 outreach. These opportunities are strictly educational -- ultimately our editors perform the scholarly editorial functions, our student interns shadow and learn from the process. Our student interns do not perform basic administrative and office tasks.
The North Star Project. The North Star Project is the flagship program of the journal’s outreach to K-12 classes. It has developed from a couple of undergraduate students and one 8th grade class, to over forty undergraduate students and multiple schools. We have published reports from undergraduate and graduate student interns from around the world, ranging from Russia, China, Tanzania, Micronesia, to Finland, Northern Ireland, Italy, and Peru. These reports are being incorporated into these collaborating 8th grade classes, and when possible, we will arrange for the journal’s student interns to address questions from the 8th grade students – whether in person, or via email or skype. While the core of this project is the ongoing collaboration between The Middle ground Journal and the North Star Academy 8th grade classes, a new group of dedicated student interns at Metropolitan State University, under the guidance of editor Jeanne E. Grant, are actively collaborating with an area middle school. Discussions are ongoing with other possible branches and locales.
WHA 2013 Conference. Six Middle Ground Journal undergraduate student interns presented at a roundtable at the 2013 World History Association Annual Conference. This presentation represented the culmination of several years of their hard work in developing and forging ties between The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, and the North Star Academy 8th grade global studies students. For details, please see HERE.
Perspectives on History and 2014 AHA Conference. In 2013 I published an essay on the work of the Middle Ground Journal’s innovative undergraduate student internship program in the American Historical Association’s Perspective on History newsmagazine. This has resulted in an invitation for me to participate in a panel organized by the Perspectives editor on scholarly publishing in a disruptive era for the 2014 AHA Annual Conference. For details on the Perspectives article, see HERE.
Expansion of Student Internship Program. The Middle Ground Journal student internship program has expanded, both at the Duluth Home Office, and at branch campuses, such as Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Madison, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. We have graduate student interns posted around the nation and world, assisting in outreach and networking, developing relationships and reports on international publishing, and contributing to The North Star Project reports.
e. Logistics, Host Institution and Marketing. The journal is fully funded by the College of St. Scholastica. The college pays for postage to mail books internationally, office supplies, and the cost of domain registration. This support also includes the considerable cost of IT – St. Scholastica IT developed the software, trouble-shoots, pays for the bandwidth, and aids in shielding the site from periodic internet spam attacks. In addition, I will continue to donate a minimum of $500 each year, in my parents’ honor, to cover travel and miscellaneous expenses for the journal. I have made a concerted effort to collaborate with our host institution’s relevant academic departments (History, Global Studies, English, Education, Philosophy, Marketing and Public Relations, and Computer Science), library, TRIO, McNair, Student Support Services, Honors Program, First Year Student Program, Marketing, and Admissions.
The St. Scholastica Marketing Department is paying for an online ad campaign on behalf of the journal, which will also benefit MWWHA and WHA. This outreach will be supplemented by the efforts of our student interns, and our continued efforts to outreach via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Academia.Edu, H-Net, and other venues. The College Advancement Department of St. Scholastica is spearheading the journal’s efforts to apply for grants, in part to help defray the cost of traveling to conferences, and also for the journal’s student ambassador program, future K-12 teachers and students’ workshops, as well as efforts in undergraduate research. St. Scholastica’s library staff will continue to assist the journal’s listings in important indexes such as the Directory of Open Access Journals and EBSCO’s indexing services.
For additional information, please see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm and https://www.facebook.com/middlegroundjournal
(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal's not-for-profit educational open-access policy.