The Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities or JURO@GA, a Web-based journal highlighting the scholarly works of undergraduate researchers in humanities, arts and social sciences at the University of Georgia, has been redesigned and relaunched online at www.uga.edu/juro.
For the past four years, Jeremy Johnson, a recent UGA alumnus, worked with UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities to increase the journal staff to nine editors, expand the scope of the journal to social science research and move the e-journal from the CURO Web site to a more prominent and accessible space on the UGA server.
Anyone with an Internet connection can access Katherine Sheriff’s analysis of negative campaigning during the 2002 Georgia elections or view Patrick Gosnell’s photographs, depicting his ideas of absurdities often overlooked in beauty, fashion and design. These two student submissions are among 12 featured in JURO@GA‘s current issue, a sampling of the best presentations from the 2004 CURO undergraduate research symposium, an event held every spring.
“Creating space for undergraduate scholarship in the humanities and arts in the format of an online journal is critically important to a robust undergraduate research program,” says David Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program. “The most impressive feature of JURO is that the editorial staff has tripled in three years and is driven by undergraduates who are committed to creating this space for promising scholars.”
In fact, Johnson, the journal’s former managing editor, took his duties a step further and chose JURO@GA as one of two topics for his senior Honors theses. Working with faculty mentor and CURO coordinator Pamela Kleiber, he used other online undergraduate research journals as models when improving the overall design and architecture of JURO@GA. He also created a manual for future editors so that the transition from one staff to the next would be more fluid, and he studied how the Internet can be used as an outlet to publish future undergraduate research in all fields.
In April, Johnson and JURO humanities editor Patrick Pilie, a senior from New Orleans, made a presentation about JURO’s new look at the CURO symposium and at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, where more than 1,000 students present every year. Although well-received by the outside community, JURO@GA continues to be one of the few undergraduate research journals devoted to the humanities and arts.
“Online journals give undergraduates the opportunity to share their research with the world and it is in that sharing that the research gains independent value separate from the personal value gained from the undergraduate research experience,” says Johnson, who earned his bachelor’s degrees in Russian and history in May. “As an intellectual community, it is important to foster academic exploration and development regardless of subject and discipline lines. Undergraduates are valuable members of the academic community and research plays an essential role in the maintenance of this community.”
JURO@GA has been recognized as a leading example of undergraduate research scholarship in the humanities and arts by the Reinvention Center at Stony Brook, a national center studying the undergraduate education offered at research universities.
“I am especially impressed by the involvement of the Center for Humanities and Arts and hope it will lead to greater participation in scholarship by students in these majors,” says director Wendy Katkin.
Other institutions such as Duke University also see the importance of an undergraduate research journal.
The staff’s future goals include publishing twice a year-a “Best of CURO” issue and one focused on a particular theme. CURO would eventually like to expand the scope of the journal to include submissions from undergraduate researchers throughout the country.