The Journal in Service: How the Middle Ground Journal Serves Scholarship, Undergraduates, Local Schools, and the Liberal Arts

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 11:00 AM
Virginia Suite A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Hong-Ming Liang, College of Saint Scholastica
For this panel, I propose to discuss the experience of founding and editing The Middle Ground Journal, an open access e-journal of world history and global studies. The journal was established in 2009, housed at the College of St. Scholastica, and published by the Midwest World History Association, an affiliate of the World History Association. Because my primary professional obligation, the mission of the host college, and the tasks of most involved in world history are teaching-centered, the journal was established with a broad and active undergraduate student internship program – available to students from various disciplines and interests. I will share the lessons we have learned in creating and maintaining these volunteer opportunities.
Specifically, undergraduate student interns at the College of St. Scholastica have collaborated with North Star Academy’s 8th grade global studies classes for the 2012–2013 school year. The journal has provided undergraduate students to share research projects and study abroad reports with the eighth graders, and to provide research support and advice as the North Star students conducted their National History Day research.
A central premise of expending so much time and energy on undergraduate internships for a scholarly journal is that as the utility of liberal arts education has come under assault from outside and inside the academy. Teachers, students, editors, and anyone interested in the preservation of liberal arts must open new avenues of participation, and forge alliances outside academic confines. An open access e-journal is relatively low cost (not counting the cost of time), accessible to teachers and students on all levels and around the world, and a flexible platform amenable to creative modifications. In the last two years we have made good progress, and also a good share of mistakes, all of which I will share and seek productive feedback from the AHA community.
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