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Transcending silence... UAlbany students create unique

Editorial Board from left to right: Jerrine Wyman, Maggie Johnson, Danielle MacDonald, Janet Young, Sam Huntington, Jonathan Charon
  l-r:  Jerrine Wyman, Maggie Johnson, Danielle MacDonald, Janet Young, Sam Huntington, Jonathan Charon.  Photo by Debbie Neuls.

At UAlbany students have many special opportunities to collaborate with faculty on research, service projects and other unique programs. One such dynamic collaboration was launched this spring – the creation of Transcending Silence, an electronic journal managed by and for undergraduate students. Possibly the first of its kind, the peer-reviewed journal focuses on activism and aims to act as a vehicle for social change. Its stated mission is “to build a community that unites diverse perspectives by creating a forum that recognizes, showcases, and encourages activisms in all their manifestations.”

This enterprise grew out of a Women’s Studies project (WSS 299 Electronic Journal Editing and Publishing) and was funded by a University Innovations in Teaching award (thanks to some final grant proposal writing by Janell Hobson, assistant professor in Women’s Studies). The course was created as a companion course to "Classism, Racism, Sexism" (WSS 240) for the purpose of providing additional opportunities for students to develop information fluency skills in a contextualized environment. The student submissions selected for the first edition were research papers from the companion course that addressed social issues in both a historic and legal context.

Vivien W. Ng, Associate Professor of Women's Studies


Vivien W. Ng

Under the faculty advisement of Vivien-Elizabeth Zazzau of University Libraries and Associate Professor Vivien Ng from Women’s Studies, the project offered students credit for the design and development of the e-journal. “I began the semester with mixed emotions: pride and fear,” said Ng. “I was proud that we had a visionary project, creating a peer-reviewed e-journal managed by and for undergraduate students. I also realized how little I knew about the nuts-and-bolts of producing an e-journal — how two decades of teaching had not really prepared me to teach this pilot course.” With the help of Zazzau and a group of enthusiastic, dedicated students, the course took shape.

Sam Huntington, '05


Sam Huntington, '05

Students found the project to be an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about information fluency, the publication process and how to design and create content for an e-journal. “It was also a humbling experience,” said Professor Ng. Editorial board member and UAlbany history major Sam Huntington (’05) agrees. “It made us question our capabilities and the impact of our actions.”

“It was exciting to see our students, who already possessed a keen sense of social responsibility, experience personal empowerment and pride through learning how to use information technologies to create a unique vehicle for activist discourse,” said Vivien-Elizabeth Zazzau. “The students were also able to exploit the marvelous technological resources available in one of the University’s (library’s) smart classrooms.’”

Zazzau, Ng and students are already looking forward to next year. They want to eventually extend and expand the e-journal in a “call-for papers” to include not only other courses within the department and departments University-wide, but also to extend its reputation beyond the University at Albany. They would also like to see the e-journal grow to include all the possibilities that digital technology and the internet have to offer and become a truly multimedia production that continues “to stimulate, enhance and nurture the undergraduate research experience.”

Students and teachers learned step by step together. Said Huntington: “the experience in its entirety will be one that none of us will forget. I think we will always have some emotional investment in the journal.”

Related Links:
Transcending silence…
Women’s Studies
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