Students Kickstart Undergraduate Research Journal

Research journals serve as tools for professional development to undergraduate students. Just over two years ago, a group of Writing Center Consultants noticed that Seattle University was lacking a journal and decided to create one of their own. Now, the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal (SUURJ) is accepting manuscript submissions for its inaugural year.

“Most other four year universities have an undergraduate research journal either in a print or digital form to provide a platform to showcase undergraduate work, and we wanted Seattle U to offer that same opportunity—we saw it as a way for the university to grow,” said Anya Vindla, a senior Writing Center Consultant.Originally proposed as a student organization, the idea wasn’t gaining much traction. Dr. Molly Clark Hillard, an English professor and faculty lead of the SUURJ, said this was to be expected. “When an undergraduate research journal is entirely student based and student run as a student club, they tend to go under pretty quickly,” Hillard said. “There isn’t longevity, and there’s no institutional memory because students graduate quickly.”

The students decided to reach out to the Office of Sponsored Research Programs, where the Provost and Associate Provost took the journal from an idea to reality. The SUURJ was granted their curriculum, which is a joint project between the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department, the Office of Sponsored Research Programs and the Office of the Provost.

The curriculum is composed of 10 credits in total over the course of one year: five in the fall, two in the winter and three in the spring for student editors. The fall quarter class is broken up into two halves. The first half is pedagogy, where they learn how to copy edit, and create a rubric for accepting manuscripts. The second half is then selecting the manuscripts for the journal from the submissions.

In the winter, the student editors will then copy edit the selected manuscripts along with faculty mentors. For each manuscript, a member of Seattle U faculty will be selected based off of the subject of the research. The manuscript contributor will meet with the faculty peer reviewer to strengthen the content areas of their submission, as well as with a student editor to strengthen style areas of their submission. In the spring, the student editors will be tasked with producing the final version of the journal, launching it at the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Association conference, and publishing the journal in May.


“I think SUURJ is a great professional and academic opportunity for undergraduate students,” junior English major Taylor Johnson said. “It gives us the ability to not only tailor our academic works, but it also gives us the chance to be published research writers before graduating.” The journal is comprised of four sections. “News & Notes” is a section reserved for items of interest to the research community at Seattle U, such as opinion pieces and letters to the editor. “Short Conversations” is intended primarily for science disciplines, which will contain initial findings and brief interventions into a field of inquiry. Both of these sections have a maximum word count of 1,000 words.

“Core Writing” will contain research-based writing from any Core class of any module, with a range of 2,000 to 4,000 words. Students do not need to be majors in the subject of what they submit for this section. The final section, “Full Articles,” is for full-length research articles in any discipline with a maximum word count of 6,000 words.

Just like the journal itself, the student editors come from many different backgrounds and majors. “Students from different academic disciplines get the chance to work together and read work from other fields,” said junior history major Julia Borello. “This journal is not only providing writers and editors great opportunities, but this could be a helpful tool for students in pre-major programs to see the kind of work students from different majors are doing.”

Any current student, as well as any student who has graduated one quarter prior to the deadline, is allowed to submit to any section as long as the work was produced while they were enrolled at Seattle U.

The deadline to submit a manuscript is approaching. The SUURJ is accepting submissions in all categories including News & Notes, Short Conversations, Core Writing and Full Articles until Oct. 21, 2016 at 12 p.m. Electronic copies can be sent to [email protected] and hard copies can be given to Professor Hillard in the English Department in Casey 506.

The editor may be reached at
[email protected]