Students Leading Publishing: Experiential Learning from Multiple Perspectives

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Student led publishing, including but not limited to, undergraduate student edited journals and magazines, fits well into experiential learning frameworks. Key elements of experiential learning are risk taking, critical reflection, and connection to learning in other settings. Librarians and publishers present the roles they play in increasing the depth of the learning provided by opportunities to work on many facets of publishing.

Students involved in this time consuming and usually co-curricular activity are very passionate about their work. However, they do not often have the information and resources to realize the potential of their publishing work. Publishing in the 21st century raises many complex issues of rights of readers and authors, open access to the world, broader impact of scholarship, and credit for scholarship. Students need to grapple with these big issues in regard to their own work and the work of their peers. Librarians are well placed to support learning in these areas. Publishers can forward the professional development of students through resources and best practices.

At Dartmouth, student publishing programs have been further developed with support from a grant from the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning’s Experiential Learning Initiative. At Macalester, student involvement with publishing is embraced by faculty as a way to enhance classroom learning, and includes students producing a scholarly society journal. At Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, student publishers are supported through the Hoyas Publish and Terps Publish programs, which aim to develop a community of peer practitioners by bringing students together for an annual roundtable discussion and fair, developed and sustained by the university press and libraries.