Spring/Summer 1998, Volume 15.2
Neila C. Seshachari
This is my final editorial for Weber Studies. After editing the journal for 12 years, I have decided to go back to fulltime teaching, mostly in order to repossess my summers and vacations for personal writing and research, but also to rediscover the pleasures of being a fulltime teacher who has time to participate in the exciting changes taking place in teaching and lean-ting at this time.
Internet and telecommunications technologies are changing the very concepts of teaching, as well as publishing journals, in higher education. Utah's Governor Michael Leavitt is at the forefront of Western Governors [Virtual] University and distance learning. Many of our campuses are already teaching some internet courses, albeit with no definitive checks and balances to make sure that Joan Smith is not completing Jack Smith's math exam on the internet while he takes care of her English test. A take-home assignment given in a regular classroom no longer brings predictable student efforts. A student's internet literacy plays a major role in his or her performance. The very concepts of teaching and learning and earning a degree are changing. Will universities have to compete with providers of internet instruction in specific skills required for professional hiring? Even now futurists are thinking of the traditional university as a dinosaur marked for extinction.
If changes in a traditional university are on the horizon, changes in journal publishing are upon us already. The most rigorous discussions on the Council of Editors of Learned journals' list-serv pertain to the pros and cons and copyright hows of publishing academic journals on the internet. journal readership as we know it is changing. This afternoon a reader in Buffalo, NY, called just to tell me she had read the entire Weber Studies 15.1 special issue on South-Asian American Literature/ Culture from cover to cover. Even as she was telling me, I recognized that reading one journal fully is becoming a rare act. Readers in the future will follow what some are doing already-subscribe to a "full service" internet agency, browse through titles and abstracts in a dozen magazines, compile a customized journal, and then print out full texts of articles to read in bed.
Weber Studies is ready for such a change of readership. It has kept pace with the times in the past and will continue to do so in the future. When Sherwin W. Howard, then Dean of Arts and Humanities at Weber State University, asked me to be editor in June 1985, Weber Studies was a threeyear-old slim journal published annually. It had no office, no stationery, no board, no subscribers, no price tag. Its manuscripts were typed and formatted by the student newspaper staff on campus. As I hand over the editorship-surprisingly-to Sherwin W. Howard, who is now a fulltime faculty in the Performing Arts department, I give him an office crowded with approved manuscripts, submissions that on some days appear to be more dim we can handle, files that keep piling up even though we send correspondence briskly to the university archives and close files as fast as manuscripts are rejected or published. And yes, back issues, subscription lists, grant proposals, our own endowment with cash returns, grants from a number of sources with attendant flurry of activities, and a large circle of writer-friends and editorial board members, who I hope will write to me occasionally at <firstname.lastname@example.org> to say hello.
With the new editor, look forward to a new look and a new focus, readers. And to a HomePage, as well as access to the journal on the internet. When I relinquish my editorship, I will have time, now and then, to browse on the net! What luxury! I look forward to the changes in the journal with great anticipation.
As I cast a final glance over the journal's publication in the last 12 years, I am happy about a number of developments: 1) the fiction/ poetry interview series which included original writing from the interviewed author. Three of these interviews have been included in collections of critical works published by national presses; 2) The grant monies I was able to raise for recognizing writers with honoraria and cash awards for the best poetry, fiction, and essays published in Weber Studies, 3) The fine balance of regional and national writing that the journal was able to maintain; 4) The quality of annual special issues that we were able to produce, often with the help of co-editors.
An editor's greatest asset is recognizing talent when one sees it. I have had more than my share of luck in spotting fine writers who willingly sent some of their finest writing to share with our readers, and co-editors like Scott Slovic, Scott P. Sanders, Roshni Rustomji-Kems whose talents made our special issues truly outstanding. I would be remiss if I did not mention Louis Owens and David Kranes who have already promised to help with editing our special issues on Personal Narrative and One-Act Plays in 1999 and 2000 respectively. I heartily thank them-writers, editors, scholars, and donors who helped make the journal surprise us again and again. And my colleagues, Robert B. Hogge and Michael Wutz in the Weber Studies office; Advisory Board members who include generous lovers of literature and proud caretakers of the journal, and university administrators who include Dean June K. Phillips and Provost David Eisler.
Good-byes are not easy. Occasionally, I am going to miss editing. But, like the journal, I too am poised to take off in new directions.
Neila C. Seshachari salutes the following who, over the years, helped her in the production of the journal in more ways than she can recount:
BOOK REVIEW EDITORS: William Mulder, Robert B. Hogge
ART EDITORS/ CONSULTANTS: Mark Biddle, Van Surnmerill
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Dean W. Collinwood, John Sillito
GUEST / CO-EDITORS: Scott Slovic, Scott P. Sanders, Levi S. Peterson, Michael Wutz, Roshni Rustornji Kerns
ADVISORY BOARD: Douglas Alder, William F. Lye, Sterling Sessions, Sam Weller, Sherwin W. Howard, Trudy McMurrin, Gibbs M. Smith, Carolyn Nebeker, William Mulder, Robert B. Smith, June K. Phillips, Kent Robson, Aden Ross, David Eisler, Shelly L. Felt, John E. Lowe
EDITORIAL BOARD: Marilyn Arnold, Kenneth W. Brewer, Wayne Carver, Reynold Feldman, David Lee, Victoria McCabe, Michael Orenduff, Levi S. Peterson, Robert A. Rees, Diane M. Schaffer, Rita Kiefer, Scott P. Sanders, Mary Elizabeth Carroll, Phyllis Barber, George Garrett, Daniel R. Schwarz, Katharine Coles, Scott Cairns, Duncan Harris, Walter L. Reed, Fred Marchant, James Thomas, Thomas H. Brown, Ted Cains, Scott Cairns, Fred Erisman, Erin McGraw, Julie Nichols, Neal Chandler, Janet Sylvester, Nancy Kline
OTHER MANUSCRIPT REVIEWERS: Kenneth Eble, William Mulder, Douglas Alder, Scott Slovic, Brad Roghaar, Judy Elsley, Gene Sessions, Levi S. Peterson, Candadai Seshachari, Shaun T. Griffin, John P. O'Grady
BUSINESS/ EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: Linda Nimori, Arlene D. Wilson, Alicia L. Richardson, Shelly Carlson, Mark Housley, Stacey Enderton, Sherry L. Jackson, Laraine Bouck, Bonnie May, Melissa J. Jaramillo, Kay Anderson
STUDENT INTERNS: Susan K. Lowery, Maria Lana Holbrook, Lisa C. Dayton, Joni Wooley Gossling, Laura Jane Edwards, Monique Benard, Kelly Vause
WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY PRINTING SERVICES: Gary Hidden, Van Summerill, Alan Davis, Cindy Nelson
THE FOLLOWING MAJOR DONORS OF $1,000 OR MORE: Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Junior E. and Blanche B. Rich Foundation, The Swanson Foundation, John E. Lowe, Carolyn Nebeker, Candadai and Neila C. Seshachari, John Sillito, Vilasini and Madhukar Shanbhag.
OTHER DONORS, whose gifts, like little drops of water, nurtured the growth of the journal and made two endowments possible