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From the Editor

Reflections on Across the Disciplines

Michael Pemberton, Georgia Southern University
Michael Pemberton, Editor
Homepage: http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/~michaelp/
Email: michaelp@georgiasouthern.edu

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We've Got Issues…

This year marks the introduction of several changes to Across the Disciplines, some of them cosmetic (as a part of the overall redesign of the WAC Clearinghouse site on which we are hosted), many of them unseen but significant (due to coding modifications necessitated by a new HTML5 standard), and one of them less than obvious, but important nonetheless: we are now assigning articles to specific "issues" in addition to an annual volume.

One of the benefits of ATD's presence as an online journal has been that we can publish articles as soon as they become ready, without having to worry about rigid deadlines for a particular issue or limitations on the number of articles that can be published at one time.  This has enhanced our ability to distribute articles quickly, as soon as they are print ready, rather than having to wait six months to a year from the time the final manuscript has been accepted to the time there's a space available in the publication queue.  It has also provided authors with a somewhat more relaxed timeline for revision, should they need or desire one.  It's not been uncommon, for example, to have authors extend their revision period through a summer, giving them more time to think and reflect on their reviewers' comments and make substantive changes to their articles.  Overall, this policy has worked rather well and has taken good advantage of the unique possibilities enabled by online publication.

Still, publishing ATD with only a volume number has been a source of confusion for some and occasional complaints from others.  A few readers have raised questions about how to cite articles (one of the reasons why we now include full citations at the end of each piece), but more challenging questions have come from professional indexing services, which have a tough time dealing with online journals as a genre—and even more so an online journal without any issue numbers. For these reasons, then, we begin 2011 by publishing the first two articles in Volume 8, Issue 1, of Across the Disciplines.  The complete issue will include all the articles published between now and June 30, at which point another issue (usually #2) will begin. Guest-edited special issues will also be assigned their own issue numbers, the specific number depending on when in the year they ultimately appear. 

Moving to a volume/issue format will not change our approach to timely, article-dependent publication; we will continue to publish pieces as they become ready and make periodic announcements on our RSS feed and on major listservs about their availability.  We hope, though, that this small change will make life easier for some and expand the number of venues in which the journal is indexed as well.

This Issue

Volume 8, Issue 1, begins with a fascinating piece of WID program history and development by Katherine K. Gottschalk, "Writing from Experience: The Evolving Roles of Personal Writing in a Writing in the Disciplines Program."  Tracing the confluent histories of Cornell University's WID program (founded in 1966) and its expressivist first year writing course (first taught in 1968), Gottschalk explores how theory, institutional politics, and programmatic inertia have shaped and reshaped these programs over the last 40+ years. 

On a somewhat different track, our second article, "Writing Across Languages, Disciplines, and Sources: Second Language Writers in Jordan" by Anne-Marie Pedersen, provides a remarkable look at the interactions between second language acquisition and disciplinary communities.  In a detailed series of case studies of Jordanian graduate students and researchers, Pedersen explores her subjects' perceptions of language learning, their senses of what's important (and unimportant) when writing for publication in English, and the role that disciplinary mentoring and support plays in their developing writing/language abilities.  Pedersen's conclusion, that "in a world of trans-global culture, the line between native and non-native becomes less important than the divide between expert and novice, or, as Swales has termed it, junior and senior researcher," has significance not just for WAC/WID theories of disciplinary enculturation but for pedagogical approaches to second language learning as well.

On the Horizon

Pedersen's article serves as a nice segue to announce a pair of special issues slated for publication later this year, both of which have their roots in international language communities.  The first of these issues, guest edited by Magnus Gustafsson, will be composed of papers presented at the 2011 Integration of Content and Language/Content and Language Integrated Learning (ICL/CLIL) Conference held in Frankfurt, Germany, and should be ready for publication sometime in the early summer.  The second special issue, focused on "Writing Across the Curriculum and Second Language Writers," edited by Michelle Cox and Terry Zawacki, is scheduled for publication in the fall.  We expect both of these issues will make important contributions to our understanding of WAC/WID as a pedagogical and theoretical enterprise with global implications.  Stay tuned.

And lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't announce—with some reflected pride—that John Harbord's ATD article "Writing in Central and Eastern Europe: Stakeholders and Directions in Initiating Change" has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming book, Best Writing from Independent Composition and Rhetoric Journals: 2010 (Steve Parks, Linda Adler-Kassner, Brian Bailie, and Collette Caton, eds., Parlor Press, 2011).  My congratulations to John, my continuing thanks to Michael Cripps and Mike Palmquist for their many hours of work and effort on behalf of the journal, and my sincere gratitude to all of ATD's readers for their ongoing interest and support.

Complete APA Citation

Pemberton, Michael. (2011, March 15). From the editor: Reflections on Across the Disciplines. Across the Disciplines, 8(1). Retrieved from https://wac.colostate.edu/atd/editor/editor/2011.cfm