Friday, January 5, 2018

Journal of School & Society: Autonomy, Public Civility, and Social Justice on Higher Education Campuses

The John Dewey Society 
and the 
Journal of School & Society 
A Call for Public Scholarship

Issue #5.1: Student Autonomy, Public Civility, and 
Social Justice on Higher Education Campuses. 


The John Dewey Society, founded in 1935, created the Journal of School & Society in order to meet one of its central aims: to support a vibrant public education system by fostering intelligent inquiry into problems pertaining to the place and function of education in social change, particularly among teachers, parents, and community activists. 

We invite all those interested in engaged public 
scholarship to contribute to this exciting new 

Colleges and universities are struggling to maintain civic dialogue and mobilize our collective energy to create meaningful democratic change. Whether negotiating rules for civil exchange or boundaries of acceptable speech and dialogue, faculty, students, administrators, staff, and outside parties are struggling to talk and work together across difference, while resisting fundamental injustice. 

As concerned citizens, teachers, students, parents, faculty, administrators, and politicians, we look to institutions of higher learning as centers of our civic life. Today, we are struggling with some of the most basic and difficult questions of democracy. 

Which campus speakers support an educational experience and are interested in dialogue, and which wish to instigate conflict and further ideological entrenchment? Which speakers cause such a degree of unsafety for portions of the community as to be unwelcome on campus? What are effective expressions of solidarity? 

Who gets decide what degree of distress is acceptable? What kinds of dissent against dialogue are acceptable? What does rational speech look like in the midst of crises that are often the product of social media? 

For campus leadership, what does an ethical set of crisis tactics look like? What kinds of managerial thinking are necessary and important in moments of crises surrounding debate and justice on campus? How do we educate for democratic deliberation and mobilization in our campus communities? 

Finally, how do we cultivate civic-minded students that are open to dialogue and committed to action on injustice? 

To further ameliorate this problematic situation, we call for essays that:
  1. Account for the dialogue, mobilization, and justice challenges on our campuses. 
  2. That reflect broadly on the larger meaning of these challenges. 
  3. That offer ameliorative solutions and strategies of response.

Administrators, students, faculty, staff, and other concerned community members, especially those who are veterans of speech conflicts, and experienced managers of well-developed deliberative environments, are all encouraged to propose a piece for this special issue. 

We seek accounts of community-building. That is, we invite writing that narrates instances of pro-activity in creating vital, high-functioning, deliberative communities that value a diversity of perspectives. 

This issue will be anchored by several essays from civic-minded, innovative campuses. These institutions are a part of the Consortium for Innovative Environment in Learning (CIEL). Historically, CIEL programs and campuses have welcomed student initiative and action in efforts to identify and call out local practices that inhibit justice or voice for the economically disadvantaged or underrepresented communities. 

Of late, however, such action, without rich attention to the needs of multiple stakeholders, and without attention to the multiplying external effects of social media, has produced situations that seemingly inhibit the formation of constructive coalition-building or meaningful policy action. These campuses have long histories of practices that leverage student energy and initiative and provide real grounding for civil engagement and authentic deliberation.

Some of these practices need a greater spotlight; others need to be re-evaluated in a political context that often rallies external constituencies with little investment in community well-being. Across our institutional borders, we highly value a vision of student autonomy that prepares for democratic citizenship and simultaneously recognizes that increasing polarization in the public sphere potentially renders this faith naïve and in need of new preparation and contextualization.

How to Contribute to the Issue

We view our work as broadly educative, in that we want to help connect practitioners in public dialogue. To do so, we work closely with a wide range of folks working in higher education, including: teachers, administrators, researchers, parents, and concerned community members. The writing that will be included in each issue includes opinion pieces, experiential accounts, as well as historical and theoretical explorations of the theme as it relates to progressive education in general, as well as the writings of John Dewey in particular.

Based on the theme of each issue, the editorial board will reach out to different actors and invite them to work with us. That said, those wishing to contribute to the journal need not wait for an invitation to do so. They may contact the Editor to communicate their interest, ask questions, and receive feedback.

Please refer to the journal website for formatting guidelines. For manuscript submission, work is accepted via two broad paths:

Invited Pieces 

Work from educators and other community members are welcome. This work may take either standard article form or may be submitted in alternative formats, such as a video interview or presentation. A grounding in scholarship is not necessary, although the author will want to situate their work clearly within the scope of the theme of the issue. Ordinarily, articles in this category will range from 2,000-5,000 words, although both longer and shorter submissions may be appropriate. Authors should expect to work closely with the editorial team to produce their submissions. Therefore, those planning to write for the journal should inform the editor of their intention early in the writing process.

Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Articles 

 Submissions for the peer-reviewed section of the journal are expected to conform to scholarly standards in their use of theory and research literature. Expected article length is ordinarily in the 5,000-8,000 word range, but both longer and shorter pieces can be considered. Reports of original research are appropriate for this journal, though elaborate discussions of research methodologies and intricate reviews of specialized disciplinary fields should be avoided. 

In addition, given the flexibility offered by our online format, supporting files (in both data and audiovisual format) may be integrated with the text. In addition to the Editors, articles in this category will be read by a minimum of two peer reviewers. 

Again, authors should expect to work closely with the editorial team to produce their submissions. Therefore, those planning to write for the journal should inform the editor of their intention early in the writing process—in order to receive feedback on the general approach they plan to take for reaching a broad audience. 

All statements of interest, queries, and submissions should be emailed to the Special Guest Editors for the Journal of School & Society:

  • Eli Kramer, an affiliated researcher at the Department of the Philosophy of Culture, Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, 
  • James Hall, Executive Director of the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning, 

Submissions for this issue should be received by MAY 1, 2018.