It’s been a big summer for Praxis. Thank you.
For one thing, we are near completing a summer review cycle, which means that 18 authors have submitted manuscripts, had them sent to members of our editorial review board, and received feedback on their work. I’ve been privileged to act as go-between, changing our review form and the review process slightly in response to helpful comments from board members, and fielding questions from authors on points of timing and process that have often developed into wonderful exchanges about academic interests and side projects. As a graduate student and the sole managing editor over the summer (my co-editor will join me when the Fall semester begins) this has been instructive both as a writer, as a researcher and as an administrator, and I’m writing today to thank the authors and reviewers for their hard, generous work – work that makes the journal possible.
For another thing, as of yesterday vintage Praxis is now available in its entirety, on the same website as the peer-reviewed version of the same journal, for the first time. This has swelled the number of pages on the website to over 400 and building the web pages required has been a big task, especially with a fairly big change in editorial vision for vintage Praxis. Prior to this summer we had been reformatting and republishing every word ever published in Praxis, but as the pace was simply too slow and our author’s work was inaccessible for too long, the editorial team and I chose to republish vintage Praxis more or less in its original form.
People like Vicente Lozano, Praxis’ tech advisor and all-around genius loci, and Trish Roberts-Miller, the executive editor of the journal, found ways to preserve not only the author’s words, but the hard work of past managing editors, associate editors, and copy editors; now readers can see vintage Praxis in all its vintage glory, some issues with pictures of authors with their children, now a decade older, many with records of featured centers and consultants who make visible the dedication to writing center work that this journal has always celebrated. I’m writing today to thank Trish, and Vicente, and all the authors whose words and images I’ve worked so closely with over the summer, and all the editors who worked so hard to start and sustain this journal. Until last year every issue was published using html, often by editors who had to learn code while also handling submissions, revisions, author and reviewer queries, and their own lives as scholars and as human beings. Their effort is preserved, and I’m grateful to them for the chance to act as steward of that work.
PRX, Praxis’ data exchange, also launched this summer. Vicente Lozano and Mary Hedengren, a member of our editorial review board, spearheaded the effort to gather and de-identify 14 years of data collected by the University Writing Center here at UT, while I had the time of my life designing attractive web pages and setting up PRX as a sustainable part of the journal’s mission. Not only do the current data sets form a wonderful archive of all the consultations that have occurred here since the mid-90s, but that archive is now available to any scholar worldwide who wants to understand more fully what a large University Writing Center does on a granular, behind-the-scenes level. I confidently await the addition of further data from other centers around the world to PRX, which will form a global resource for writing center assessment and research, driving the field forward and helping individual writing centers argue for their importance in empirical terms. I’m deeply grateful to Mary and Vicente for providing the impetus behind such an exciting project.
Finally, the blog you’re currently reading has operated over the summer for the first time, offering readers an idea of what important figures in the field are working on, publishing interviews with knowledge workers outside the writing center or even the humanities, and forming a running commentary on the object of inquiry – the intersection of writing center work and writing center theory – that Praxis has always focused on. I am immensely grateful for the authors who have allowed me to share their work: Melissa Nicolas, Gerry Canavan, Genie Giaimo, Kathryn Raign, Jo Mackiewicz, Liliana Naydan, Eric Fischer (whose artwork adorns this post), and Beth Godbee. Not only have these people been generous with their time and their thoughts, but it has been a joy to work with them and to learn from their example.
As you might imagine, all this work has been fun. However, as the end of summer approaches, so too does a physical move for Praxis and for the University Writing Center that is its home. We are currently housed in a mostly-administrative building on the University of Texas campus, and in the hopes of better serving UT students we are moving to the main campus library and our new home in the Learning Commons at the PCL. While consultants and administrators in the center look forward to windows, easy access for students, and new carpet, I look forward to being closer to the expertise of librarians like Sheila Winchester and Colleen Lyon, who are both excellent colleagues and possess skills that have and will continue to help drive Praxis’ mission to be accessible, professional, and sustainable. As a result of the move AXIS will go on hiatus until September Eighth, when we will introduce the new center and return to weekly publication. Many thanks to all the people whose effort and cooperation have resulted in a move that will be beneficial to so many, and many thanks to you, readers, for your attention to and participation in AXIS.
Thank you. See you again soon.