Philip Gaines, the chair of the Montana State University Department of English and a linguistics professor, was named the new editor of the twice-yearly academic journal nearly a year ago. Gaines also brought the design and production of the magazine, which had been based at the University of Montana since the late George Madden founded it in there 1991, over to MSU.
"I think they did a great job over there (at UM), but strategically, we wanted to have the editing, printing and design in one place," Gaines said. The publication is now designed by MSU Communications and Graphics. He said the magazine moved when MSU English professor Marvin Lansverk, who is on the journal's editorial board, suggested Gaines when the board was looking for a new editor.
The 40-page publication, which is now four-color, bills itself as "A Journal of Education, Politics and Culture" and is sent to 2,500 readers throughout the state.
The journal includes articles written by Montana's academicians about a variety of topics. The fall issue, for example, includes an article written by George Dennison, former president of UM, examining the trend of increased borrowing by students to finance higher education. Greg Young, head of the MSU Department of Music, and Douglas Bartholomew, a professor of music education at MSU, wrote a piece on undergraduate research in the arts. There is a report by Richard Little Bear of Dull Knife College on tribal colleges. And, there is a question-and-answer with Clay Christian, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education, among others. There is also a listing of recent faculty hires throughout the state.
"Institutions and departments tend to be insular," Gaines said of the mix of topics. "Faculty usually know what is going on in their area, yet they may not know what is happening beyond their doman. Faculty like to read about what other people are doing. It helps us to respect each other."
Gaines said he has switched up the mix of article types, including more feature articles and book reviews. "I hope to open things up, a bit," he said.
The publication is currently funded by publication is funded by the MSU and UM Offices of the President and Provost. While Gaines has heard suggestions to move the publication online, he thinks that the handsome journal is more effective in traditional form.
"When something attractive lands in your mailbox, it is more of an invitation to read and become involved than cyber delivery offers," he said.
"The journal is a way of getting more things on faculty's radar and helps us form an intellectual community of common interests."
Philip Gaines (406) 994-3768, firstname.lastname@example.org