Ball State University provides undergraduate students opportunities for real-world experience and research that are usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions – this is one of our hallmarks! Many young students only dream of getting their work published in academic journals. However, two departments within the College of Sciences and Humanities at BSU have taken the initiative to provide students with undergraduate publishing and reviewing opportunities, advancing Ball State students toward professional success.
The Philosophy and Religious Studies Department boasts its own publication, Stance, an international philosophy journal that is produced and edited entirely by undergraduate students. Psyche, is a new undergraduate, peer-reviewed academic journal established by the Department of Psychological Science in 2021. Through working on these journals, students are trained to not only become researchers but editors, reviewers, and publishers. These students have access to the newest research in their fields while growing their own professional skills, which will benefit them in graduate school and beyond.
Stance was created by Dr. David Concepcion with undergraduate students in mind. He saw a need for students to gain professional experience at BSU, so he designed a challenging yet rewarding way for students to have this opportunity. Since its creation, Stance has given undergraduate students around the world a professional platform to share their works and their voice, while allowing students at BSU to have the unique experience of creating their own journal.
“15% of our reviews and authors are from outside the United States, making this journal an international collaboration effort, which gives students the distinctive experience of uniting with peers from around the world.” -Dr. Concepcion
The students that work on this journal reach out to nearly 14,000 individual philosophers from all over the world including Australia, Croatia, Germany, South Africa, South Korea, and Switzerland, just to name a few. Once the papers start coming in, students examine them in-depth by using a wide range of rigorous criteria. The students then discuss with each other the submissions and collaboratively build constructive feedback for papers they both accept and reject.
Stance is extremely competitive, with its acceptance rate ranging from 6% to 10% annually.
Being undergraduate students has not hindered the ability of this journal to be top-notch. In fact, the multi-stage, multi-person, and anonymous review process of Stance ensures that only the best essays rise to the top.
“It’s been crazy to say that I get to be a part of the world’s leading undergraduate philosophy publication,” said Griffin Green, senior Public History and Philosophy major. “I think that’s fantastic. Being able to apply the skills that I’ve learned in the classroom in these experiences that exist outside the classroom is like a bridge to life beyond college.”
Brianna Lopez, a Senior minoring in Philosophy, explained, “This whole experience made me a much better philosophy student, not only by virtue of expanding my knowledge of different areas in philosophy, but also by teaching me how to craft a good argument, how to find deficiencies in arguments, how to review and give feedback charitably, and how to be a better writer.”
The idea for Psyche was initiated by the same undergraduate student, Brianna Lopez, who had worked with Stance. After gaining a wide variety of skills through Stance, Brianna realized that the psychology department at Ball State should have something similar. “I knew that a similar experience in my own major would be hugely beneficial not only for me but for any students who also wanted to serve as editors,” said Lopez. Her vision has turned into a department-wide effort with a team of students and faculty advisors including Dr. Adam Lueke, Dr. Nilou Lueke, and Dr. Kristin Ritchey.
Psyche was designed with the help of Dr. David Concepcion and his experiences with Stance and is still in the beginning phases of development. Psyche will be run by undergraduate editors who want to learn more about their field and are guided by knowledgeable faculty. This will help ensure that each publication will contain well-written, commendable papers and that all authors receive helpful feedback on how to ensure that their papers reach this standard. The journal will allow for submissions in any area of psychology, which gives the student reviewers opportunities to see a wide variety of new and developing research within the field.
“The goal of Psyche is to provide undergraduate psychology students with resources and information about the publication process, as well as a place to show off the fruits of their own research.“ – Dr. Kristin Ritchey
Currently, Psyche is made up of a team of four students and three faculty members that are working hard to bring to life everything that they have been planning. They just launched a new website and Instagram and had an amazing logo designed for their journal. Their goal is begin accepting papers by the end of this semester and publish the inaugural edition of Psyche by Spring 2022.
Looking to the Future
These two journals are carving out a new definition for what it means to be an undergraduate student. By providing students with hands-on professional training in their fields of interest, students will be able to stay current with current research as they begin to cultivate their own research interests and future careers. Also, by giving students a personal look at how to create, edit, review, and publish an academic journal, students will know what it takes to get their own work out into the world. These departments are paving the way for other universities and are helping to shape the future of undergraduate studies here at BSU.