March 4, 2002
A new journal aimed at helping college English professors think more critically about their teaching has earned a significant honor.
The Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ) recently named one-year-old Pedagogy "best new journal for 2001." Since the competition is open to all journals five years old or less for Pedagogy to win in its first year is a high honor, one that has journal founders Jennifer Holberg, a Calvin professor, and Macry Taylor, a Central Michigan University colleague, excited.
"Journals are judged and selected by other journal editors," says Holberg, "which makes winning especially meaningful."
Pedagogy, whose subtitle is Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, is devoted to both the science and art of teaching. But it is teaching's art that Holberg feels has for too long been neglected by many college and university English departments. The new journal is a way to help professors think more critically about what they do in the classroom.
Her own experiences as a graduate student (she earned her master's and Ph.D. at the University of Washington) convinced Holberg that thinking about teaching needed to become a higher priority at the college level.
Pedagogy is primarily funded by Calvin and Central Michigan (along with a large grant from Seattle Pacific University and a smaller one from the University of Minnesota) and published by Duke University press.
It's a good fit, says Holberg, for Calvin.
"Teaching at Calvin has always been valued," says Holberg. "One of Calvin's strengths is trying to balance teaching and research. But at many schools the push has been primarily to research and to publish. In that model, one's 'work' is scholarship. And so teaching has become marginalized. What 'Pedagogy' seeks to do is bring scholarship and teaching together. To say that our teaching demands the same kind of rigorous analysis that we bring to literary texts.
"These are important issues. How students are taught makes a difference. And those students may themselves go on to teach, perhaps at the college level, but often times at the elementary or secondary level. So there's an important ripple effect. We cannot afford to ignore the scholarship of teaching.