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Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal at Clark

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Dear readers,

It is with profound gratitude and pleasure that I present to you the fourth volume of Clark University’s Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal (SURJ), which includes original scholarly research on everything from Holocaust education in Worcester public schools to a comprehensive review of Supreme Court jury selection jurisprudence.

You are holding this journal in your hands (or reading it online) due to the tireless and diligent efforts of the editorial board, peer reviewers, copy editors, design team members, professors, and graduate students who collectively poured hundreds of hours into effectuating SURJ’s peer review and publishing process. Needless to say, the continued success of SURJ would not be possible without the courageous and exceedingly brilliant Clark undergraduates who submit their original scholarly research to be subjected to SURJ’s double-blind peer review.

As we approach the half-of-decade mark since its founding, SURJ has reached a pivotal point. Beyond the fact that SURJ has risen from a mere gripe its founder Christie Joyce had against the lack of campus outlets to share undergraduate research to a sustainable research journal, we now have a selection of metrics with which to measure SURJ’s impact and effectiveness. With metrics to choose from, the inevitable question of which ones are actually important arise.

Should the impact of SURJ be measured by the nearly 15,000 times SURJ articles have been found online and downloaded across the globe? Should the impact be measured by the prestige and scholarly rigor of the institutions at which SURJ articles have been downloaded? Should we care that individuals from Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Stanford, and a plethora of other exalted research institutions have used SURJ articles to inform their research and studies? Should we care that SURJ articles have been downloaded within the Department of Education, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Department of Transportation in addition to governmental offices across the globe to inform their work?

Upon reflection, I realize that focusing on these metrics is not entirely productive. While our online presence, which spans around the world and onto the desks of cutting-edge researchers, has demonstrated the extent to which Clark undergraduates have to offer, it is but a small part of what SURJ strives to accomplish.

In addition to serving as an outlet to share undergraduate research around the campus, the nation, and the world, SURJ strives to make research accessible at all levels to anyone interested across campus. Central to our mission is our policy of not barring any student from submitting and supplying peer-review comments to every submission regardless of its sophistication. I am proud of the dozens of hours this year’s editors have spent reviewing and workshopping submissions that were not yet at the caliber required for publication. I am proud of the freshman and sophomore students who contributed to peer review. I am proud of the copyeditors who spent countless hours pouring over citations, structure, and grammar. I am proud of each student who submitted and committed themselves to bettering their work. I am proud of the hundreds of students who have been involved in making a SURJ a success since its founding.

The students spanning across campus and years are the lifeblood of SURJ. The continued involvement of these students ought to be the most important metric to measure the impact of SURJ.

It is with great confidence and excitement that I pass the reigns to the 2018-2019 board to continue making the publishing process and research accessible to all Clark students.

Manuscripts

Communication

Review