From Undergraduate Journal of Politics Faculty Advisor Terri L. Towner

From Undergraduate Journal of Politics Faculty Advisor Terri L. Towner

In 2004, the Executive Council of Pi Sigma Alpha approved the creation the Undergraduate Journal of Politics. The Journal is a student-run, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing exceptional undergraduate research in all subfields of Political Science. In the fall of 2013, Oakland University’s Nu Omega Chapter began its first of three years as the Journal‘s host. During our first term, the Editorial Board received and reviewed over 100 manuscripts from undergraduates across the nation. Manuscripts were submitted by students from a variety of institutions ranging from small liberal arts colleges to Ivy League schools. The Board also reviewed manuscripts from a broad scope of subfields and methodological backgrounds. During the peer-review process, the Editorial Board carefully evaluated each manuscript based on its contribution to the discipline, strength of theory, appropriateness of method, support of main conclusions, and overall writing quality. After much deliberation (and heated debates), the Board sent the manuscripts deemed of highest quality to members of the Faculty Advisory Board, who make revision recommendations. All manuscripts selected for publication required some revisions by authors. Once revision, editing, formatting, and layout were completed, the 2013-14 Editorial Board published both fall 2013 and spring 2014 issues fully online, boasting six original manuscripts. (Indeed, the Journal‘s 6% manuscript acceptance rate rivals the top Political Science journals!). Topics covered in the 2013-14 issues include racial views of the Tea Party, the Chilean student movement, and the culture of state recycling policies.

Now in our second term, the Journal‘s fall 2014 Editorial Board are repeating the peer-review process with the same high-quality standards. In September, the Board met for the first time and began reviewing manuscripts. This year’s Board includes 18 students with several members returning to serve a second term. Many who return take on leadership roles. Our Content Editor, Jacqueline Yee, a junior majoring in Political Science, is a returning member. She noted to the Board: “I am so honored to hold the position as Content Editor…I wanted to hold a leadership position in which I have the opportunity to ensure Editorial Board meetings are ran professionally and efficiently. I enjoy working with the Editorial Board and I am looking forward to publishing an outstanding fall 2014 issue.” Eric Burgess, a junior majoring in Political Science also returned to the Board to function as the Technology/Production Editor. Eric said, “I believe that serving on the Board is an invaluable experience for anyone who may potentially attempt to have their work published some day. Through the Board, I am gaining insight into the inner workings of the peer review process, and obtaining a more thorough understanding of what a publish-worthy manuscript looks like.” By the Journal‘s October 1st deadline, over manuscripts have been submitted. The Board hopes to contact future authors with revision suggestions by November. Publication of the fall 2014 issue is tentatively set for January 2015.

To expand the Journal‘s visibility, Editorial Board members are scheduled to make several outreach visits to regional Political Science conferences and meetings, particularly the 2014 Michigan Political Science Association (MIPSA) conference at Oakland University and the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) annual meeting in Chicago. The Board feels that these venues showcase undergraduate research with undergraduate poster presentations, panels, and roundtables. At the 2015 MPSA annual meeting, Board members will participate in a “Meet the Editors” roundtable session where undergraduates can learn about the submission process as well as manuscript guidelines.

In our continuing effort to solicit manuscripts from a wide-variety of institutions, it is important that Chapter Advisors encourage their students to submit their research to the Journal. Most students need faculty encouragement to give them the confidence to submit their work as well as guidance to turn their research into publishable manuscripts. Students should consider submitting their senior seminar papers, capstone projects, and (shortened) honor thesis. It is important to note that recent graduates can submit research completed as an undergraduate, as long as the manuscript has not been previously published. The manuscript submission due date for the spring 2015 issue is February 1, 2015. Professors and students can find the call for papers and submission guidelines on the Journal‘s website:

Editorial Board Fall 2014

Editorial Board in Progress Fall 2014

Terri L. Towner
Associate Professor
Nu Omega Chapter Advisor
Undergraduate Journal of Politics, Faculty Advisor