Publication Matters

Published on Sept. 30, 2016

By Kelsie Schrader

Even in her days as a middle and high school teacher, Amy Lannin, director of Mizzou’s Campus Writing Program (CWP), knew the value of published work—particularly student-published work.

“Every year of teaching, I had my students publish their work because, when they were writing to be published, that’s when they really cared about it,” she says, as they realized that, with a real audience, correct grammar and a clear message were truly important.

“I saw what that did for motivating them,” Lannin says, “and that became a driving force of my whole writing curriculum.”

That theory didn’t stop in the middle and high school classrooms. Jeff Rice, former director of the CWP, began an online journal of undergraduate writings at Mizzou called Artifacts Journal. The goal was to recognize, celebrate and disseminate the well-researched and organized writings of students — something it’s still doing today.

Nearing its ninth year, Artifacts Journal is published at least once each year. Students may submit their writings to the review board on a rolling basis to be considered for publication in the undergraduate journal. Those that show a high level of creativity and insight are considered for publication.

Students holding recognition awards

Sarah Judd, Erin Niederberger, Connor Flood, Andrea Ares and Erin Pettey were recognized at the Campus Writing Program’s Award Ceremony for having their work selected for the Artifacts Journal.

Any student may submit his or her work, but submissions often come from students in writing intensive classes. Lannin says the CWP encourages instructors of writing intensive classes to tell their students about the journal. Given how publication was shown to benefit her younger students, “it makes sense to promote that part of taking students’ writing to the ultimate level of getting published,” Lannin says.

Moreover, she says getting writings from students in writing intensive courses is nice because it garners submissions on a variety of topics and from students of a wide range of majors.

Once submissions are in, the review board does a blind review of each paper. Reviewers include writing program staff, professors of writing intensive courses and students. They read each paper and ask basic questions to determine if the papers qualify for publication. These questions include: Is the piece clear and developed well? Is it written for the appropriate audience? Can it communicate on its own, out of the context of a particular course? Does the overall structure work effectively? It is written in appropriate style and form?

Papers that result in a ‘yes’ to each question are likely to be selected for publication. On average, the board receives about 30 submissions, and around 12 are selected for publication each semester.

Although the benefit of being published, there are prizes for certain categories of papers. Submissions that focus on one of the four Mizzou Advantage topics are eligible for a $200 to $500 prize.

All students who get published can also attend a spring awards ceremony that honors the students for their hard work.

More than anything, though, the best thing students gain from the entire process is “that real-world writing experience,” says Erin Small, managing editor for Artifacts Journal. “You get amazing things from students.”

Information about how to submit papers can be found online at artifactsjournal.missouri.edu.