Executive Summary: Middle Ground Journal St. Scholastica Student Interns Presented at the 2013 World History Association National Conference
For Full Report see HERE
Six current and former St. Scholastica student interns for The Middle Ground Journal, from health sciences, applied economics, global studies, and history, presented at the 2013 World History Association annual conference in June 2013. They proudly represented the college and the Middle Ground Journal. Under the guidance of their teachers and the journal’s editors, these student interns have worked for over two years shadowing the peer review process, learning about and assisting in the scholarly book reviews section, grasping the politics and economics of founding and maintaining an open-access scholarly e-journal, as well as participating in the marketing and community service provided by The Middle Ground.
This roundtable marks the second year of the journal’s innovative North Star Project – wherein the journal, the college, and the student interns have partnered with North Star Academy, a Duluth public charter school, and its 8th grade global studies classes. With the journal as a platform to channel global scholarly contacts and resources, student interns from St. Scholastica have visited these 8th grade classes as guest speakers and scholarly mentors. In turn, these interns have benefited greatly from the sense of community, learning of the importance of service to others, and learning about teaching from our excellent 8th grade host teachers. This innovative project has received enthusiastic support from the world history and global studies communities, and resulted in an article in the Perspectives on History, published by the American Historical Association, the largest scholarly association for historians in North America.
What follows are the student interns’ reflections on the project, the journal’s student internship program, and the experience of undergraduate students presenting and attending an international scholarly conference. Because of the model set by these students, and many others who were unable to attend, we will continue to refine and expand the North Star Project. While the North Star Project serves as a flagship for the journal, I am also pleased to report new cohorts of student interns organizing around the nation, including new branches of hard-working, dedicated student interns at Madison, Wisconsin and at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, while new branches are forming in Northern Kentucky University, as well as other locales. We thank the College of St. Scholastica for its generous sponsorship of this journal, and the assistance and encouragement by so many around the world.
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Assistant Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. July 2013
Hong-Ming Liang 2013 WHA Roundtable Comments – The North Star Project
Key take-away points:
A. The Middle Ground is a scholarly, teaching journal, in the same spirit of a teaching hospital.
B. We consciously recruit non-history majors as student interns. Student interns are not paid, most are not taking credits – this is also why I do not ask them to perform basic office tasks. Our mission is to teach.
C. The underlying ideals of The North Star Project are universally applicable; but this is by definition a small scale, local approach subject to local variable. Our approach is the exact opposite of MOOCs.
D. We have found that having role models outside of one’s ordinary routines (college students to middle school students; college teachers and middle school teachers) who take an interest in one another’s learning and teaching is far more significant than any “data” conveyed. This is true for everyone involved in the project.
I. Principle objectives of this roundtable and overview
1. To share information about The Middle Ground Journal’s two year old collaboration with North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies classes – The North Star Project. The Middle Ground Journal and the College of St. Scholastica have provided student speakers from different disciplinary backgrounds, and other support for National History Day research. This collaboration has challenged and benefitted all parties.
2. To discuss lessons learned, and to learn from roundtable participants on ways to improve in the future. Is this a model that can be shared? Are there other models we should emulate?
The North Star Project has two main elements:
First, The North Star Project puts into action key principles of liberal arts education. It also serves as a model of experiential learning. Finally, it also carries out the objective of broadening the meaning and possibilities of a scholarly journal.
Second, The North Star Project is purposefully small-scale, in-person, low-technology (but not hostile towards technology). In other words, it is a contrast to MOOCs and similar technology-centered, economies-of-scale mass models of educational innovation. The North Star Project is local, idiosyncratic, quick and flexible to react to realities within classrooms.