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What We’re Reading: eJournal of Public Affairs New Issue

eJournal_Header_LogoThe eJournal of Public Affairs, a collaboration between Missouri State University and ADP, recently released issue 2, Volume VI special issue on Civic Leadership for Social Justice. To read, visit Civic Leadership for Social Justice.

1.jpgCivic leadership centers inherently on creating conditions for groups of people to make progress on social, political, economic, and moral issues in ways that help them to more fully realize the requirements of justice. Justice, as it relates to leadership activity, “is the fair, equitable and impartial distribution of resources, opportunities and benefits of society to all of its members, regardless of position, place or other exclusionary criteria deemed unfair” (Johnson, 2008, p. 303). To read the full article, visit Why Civic Leadership for Social Justice?


Justice word written on a wooden block.The author argues that social justice is a topic that few in higher education oppose, but there are structural challenges for university faculty members and academic professionals engaging social justice issues. By exploring four dimensions of the university—institutional mission, academic scholarship, professional identity, and pedagogical approaches—the author argues for a rethinking of how we approach these dimensions of our work. Finally, the author identifies other fields of scholarship and practice that can help to address our must pressing public problems in which social justice issues at the center. To read the full article, visit The Politics of Knowledge: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Justice Work in Higher Education Institutions.

3.jpgThe case in this study, an initiative called, “Not Just A Year of Social Justice Education” (NJAY), was a practice in distributed and transformative leadership, community engagement, and informal social justice education. Included are reflections about the role of the university in developing socially just citizens, the process of collaboration community engagement for social justice, and the overt and covert role of leadership that must be both transformative and pragmatic. To read the full article, visit “Not Just a Year of Social Justice Education”: A university/community collaboration to enhance and support social justice.

4.jpgExploration of social justice issues need to be integrated into a person’s life. Development in the understanding of social justice cannot be done in one course or conversation on a college campus. This article describes how one institution of higher education in the United States focused on the creation and implementation of a Social Justice Living Learning Community. To read the full article, visit So Just Make a Difference: A Unique Approach to Leadership and Social Justice Education.

5.jpgPolitical quiescence among low-income Americans is well documented but its causes are not well understood. This study explored the hypothesis that a self-stigmatized identity in low-income individuals is associated with a reluctance to participate in democratic activity. We engaged in participant/observation at nine mealtimes to analyze the discourse of guests of our local community “soup kitchen” and also administered a survey to investigate their perceptions of the poor, their beliefs about causes of poverty, and their knowledge of the demographics of recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. To read the full article, visit Self-Stigmatizing Identity and Democratic Participation Among Low-Income Individuals.

6.jpgAll those who wish to embark on this journey or are already doing engaged work should be compelled to read Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education. Readers will feel the urgent call to renew the civic purposes of higher education to bring about social change, strengthen democracy, and develop engaged citizens. For full book review, visit Imploring the Next Generation of Scholars.

7.jpg“How do we create real change? What have successful organizers done that works, and what doesn’t work? How can anyone get involved and make a difference?” In When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World, co-author Greg Jobin-Leeds poses these powerful questions to frame an exploration of 21st-century social movements and to spotlight the often unsung individuals who work to effect change. By interviewing activists, leaders, organizers, and academics, Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte—an activist artist collective—situate contemporary movements by artistically representing and sharing stories tied to the history of struggle, building on ideas and visions of previous generations, and writing candidly of victories, failures, and dreams. The book serves simultaneously as a guide offering tips to current or aspiring activists, an informative and inclusive history of grassroots movements, and a vivid depiction of individual stories and experiences centering on transformative organizing. For full book review, visit When We Fight, We Win!



8.jpgDeliberative dialogues build on the theory that democracy requires citizens to engage in ongoing deliberation on public matters. The program builds on the idea that it is our communities and discourse that are the foundations for civic renewal. To read the full article, visit Deliberation: An Introduction.

Darrell Hamlin, associate professor of criminal justice at Fort Hays State University, explores the relationship between police and demonstrators to raise deeper questions about democratic life in an atmosphere of provocative change in the United States and around the globe. Hamlin considers several trends: growing political unrest; governments that are more confrontational with interest groups and political factions; and increasingly aggressive and militarized policing tactics deployed to handle agitated crowds. Trained in democratic theory and civic engagement, but serving criminal justice students in the university classroom, Hamlin brings both sides of the story—the crowds and the cops—into this TEDx Talk delivered in April of 2015. In this challenging civic moment, democracy faces two choices, Hamlin suggests: “We can invest in technology to disperse crowds, or we can invest in something that speaks to whatever is causing the crowds to gather.” To read the full article, visit Cops and Crowds.


Guest Editors:  Carolyn Colvin, Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Iowa; and Keri Franklin, Professor of English, Missouri State University

In 1990, Ernest Boyer called for a reconsideration of scholarship and invited faculty to re-envision 21st Century universities so that the Academy might become a “more vigorous partner in the search for answers to our most pressing social, civic, economic, and moral problems” and “reaffirm its historic commitment to. . . the scholarship of engagement.”

Literacy scholars embrace community engagement as a way to become involved in critical contemporary conversations. Yet, researchers should not be seduced by romantic, well-intentioned motives of community work and fail to acknowledge who is being served by their research.  We invite submissions for a special issue on the challenges and opportunities of public engagement and literacy research.

For our purposes, we refer to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching definition of community engagement as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity” (Driscoll, 2008, p. 39).

Submission topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Literature reviews framing the intersection between public and literacy scholarship
  • Descriptions and assessments of exemplary or innovative projects grounded in public and literacy scholarship
  • Higher education roles, training, and connections for engaged literacy scholars
  • Collaborations among literacy scholars, universities, funding agencies, and community advocates
  • Leveraging resources and the challenge of building and sustaining community partnerships

Features Section: We seek examples of voices from students, teachers, and community members who participate in literacy initiatives. They may be in the form of traditional essays, photographic essays, multimedia, or video productions.

Submission Deadline: Last Chance -EXTENDED to January 8, 2017 (earlier submissions welcomed and appreciated). Follow the format outlined on the eJournal website at:

NOTE: Submissions can include manuscripts, videos, interviews, photo essays, multimedia, etc.

For more information go to: or  email:

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