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Professional Competency Reflection: Journal of Student Affairs

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‘The grad school opens hundred windows of opportunity’. My undergrad advisor used to say this phrase to motivate me to apply for grad school. While I entered in grad school, I discovered that he wasn’t wrong. The opportunity of being part of SAHE Journal Editorial board was the best window for me to explore the eventful world of higher education, the recent trend and practice in this field and the current innovations. The Student Affairs Journal is one of the very few journal in the USA managed by the students. I served in this journal as one of the eight members in the editorial board. We were responsible to manage the total publication of the journal, from reviewing the articles to releasing the journal. It was great learning opportunity for us. Additionally, I got the chance to attend the ASHE conference in each year and got to hear directly from the researchers about their current intellectual research findings. It was a great professional development opportunity for me, which came through the journal board membership.

Reflection

            I have overseen the Training and Development for the journal board. Reviewing papers was one of my responsibilities. This responsibility allowed me to learn about current researches in higher education and to be updated about the current issues in student affairs field. Double Blind Review process was one of the learning, where only team coordination had the information about the author. However, as they were aware of the identity of the author, they were not involved in the reviewing process. It helped me to understand the transparency and ethical standards. Usually, we used to receive many articles from our cohort members or someone we know professionally. Therefore, we were also careful about disclosing any information regarding the decisions taken by the editorial board. My involvement in reviewing also helped me to develop my reading skill and critical thinking skill.

            In my second year, based on the consensus of editorial board members, we developed an online training based on journal rubric using technology. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about the APA style writing. Additionally, I developed a list of all the people, who were involved with the journal to invite them to the release party. It also developed my skill in database development. Additionally, I organized 6 different events for the journal board which include onboarding event, reader board day and journal release party. This experience allowed me to practice organizational skill, deadline setting skill and the skill of achieving the goal within the deadline. All those event were also result of coordination between different departments as well as number of people was involved in it, which helped me to improve my teambuilding skill. This position also gave me opportunity to be connected with the CSU community socially. For example, I was responsible to invite the key people in the SAHE program to the release party event and also had to do formal meeting with SAHE Co-chair Jody Donovan and David McKelfresh for several times. This experience enhanced my networking opportunity and skills.

            At this point I feel that, journal board should focus on outreach and marketing, as well as focusing on internal submission is also necessary. As a journal board member, I failed to propose or initiate any strategic plan to improve current situation regarding outreach. Additionally, we did not use any formal procedure to ensure the ethical standard or quality of the articles. If Institutional Review Board (IRB) clearance was not required for articles if necessary, we depended only on the writer’s statement. IRB is the ethical review board and I feel that asking for the evidence of IRB approval should be mandatory to ensure the quality of product. If we could take this initiative, it would be helpful for the journal to reach to more people and for me, to develop my skill in strategic planning.

            Finally, I can see strong influence of this experience   on my professional goal.                           I am planning to do a PhD in near future, and I hope this exceptional experience has increased the chances for me to to get in a good program.

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