A season of excitement and change.
The position of editor is one of rich rewards. The editor gets first look at the scholarly work being produced by researchers and practitioners, and is able to read about a variety of exciting interventions and programs being delivered by school counselors. There is also an opportunity to work with a group of dedicated and highly talented professionals who, together, do the work that creates the journal you are now reading. This group includes Amy Milsom, the associate editor of Professional School Counseling (PSC), who provides invaluable assistance with both manuscript reviews and the development of CEU questions for published articles. The group also includes Kathleen Rakestraw, the managing editor of PSC, who provides invaluable assistance with, well, everything. Also instrumental in the success of PSC are the members of the Editorial Board, who provide the initial reviews of the submitted manuscripts. Finally, assuming the editorship of PSC has come with the bonus of working with Rich Lapan, the previous editor of PSC. Rich not only has provided exceptional leadership and vision for this journal, he also has been a generous and supportive mentor. The school counseling profession is indebted to Rich for his contribution to PSC and for the work he continues to do in furthering the research base for the profession, and I am indebted to him for his unwavering support and assistance.
It is customary for incoming editors to outline their vision for the journal in opening notes such as this one. I would like to follow in this tradition by taking some time to share my thoughts about the preferred direction of PSC. Simply put, I believe Professional School Counseling, as the flagship journal of the sole national organization devoted to school counselors, should promote the interests and needs of the profession of school counseling. While few would disagree with this broad statement, it does not provide a detailed understanding of how PSC should change--or stay the same. In order to provide more of this detail, I would like to outline a set of more specific statements that more fully describe what I mean when I say that PSC should promote the interests and needs of the profession.
Every issue of PSC should include articles that are directly relevant to practicing school counselors. School counselors at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels should be able to peruse the table of contents of every issue and find themselves drawn to articles that can provide the type of highly relevant and applied knowledge that can help them do their jobs better. School counselors should be able to read about new, effective programs and interventions; learn whether programs and approaches they have been using are validated by research; and read articles that help them better understand the needs and issues of students and families. PSC should be the preferred source for school counselors who strive to be reflective, informed, cutting-edge practitioners.
PSC should include articles authored by professionals in a wide range of positions relevant to school counseling. This may be another way of saying that authorship in PSC is not strictly the province of university faculty. This is not to minimize the essential contribution of university faculty, who collectively bring a wealth of knowledge about critical issues facing school counseling and the research skills to provide the type of empirical data necessary to make sense of the issues. But it is important for practicing school counselors to have a strong voice in the authorship of PSC articles. Practicing school counselors are often in the best position to directly observe the changes affecting schools, families, and students, and to understand the types of programs and research that are truly relevant to school counselors.
The prototypical article published in PSC should present empirical data. It is no longer good enough for school counselors to select programs, deliver individual interventions, and run groups based on what seems best or what their instincts tell them. We are at a point in the school counseling profession where we need to practice in a manner that is empirically supported. The question "What does the research tell me about that?" should be heard repeatedly as school counselors make decisions about their practice. PSC should be viewed as the preferred source of empirical research devoted to school counseling. For aspiring authors, this has clear implications. For example, rather than writing a review article on small-group interventions for underachievement, aspiring contributors to PSC would better serve the profession by conducting an intervention study of several small-group approaches to underachievement, and present the results. There will always be a place in PSC for high-quality literature reviews in critical areas, but aspiring authors should clearly favor empirical studies.
Articles in PSC should be of the highest possible quality. High quality in a journal article encompasses many things, including a clearly conceptualized purpose, a firm grasp of existing literature that is used to create a context for the article, well-articulated research questions, solid research design and analysis, clearly described results, and a strong discussion of the implications of the work for school counselors. Readers of PSC deserve no less.
The aspirations outlined above are ambitious and perhaps even intimidating for school counselors or counselor educators with a desire to publish in PSC. University faculty with strong research and writing skills may find it hard to feel connected to the pulse of today's schools, given the distance their university work creates from the actual practice of school counseling. Practicing school counselors may find it hard to develop research articles given their lack of training and experience with advanced research design and analysis. A clear and perhaps obvious solution is to create partnerships between practitioners and counselor educators, creating opportunities for developing articles that are highly relevant, include data, and are of high quality.
Just as my sons' eagerness to begin their second grade year was tinged by anxiety, and just as aspiring authors may feel apprehensive about sending an article to a selective journal like PSC, my initial months as editor have not been absent of anxiety. Living up to the standards set by Rich Lapan and other previous editors, and continuing to provide school counselors with high-quality, relevant literature that they can use to better the welfare of their students, can be a daunting responsibility. But serving as editor of PSC is also an exciting and rewarding duty, and I am honored to have the chance to be part of a journal of the quality and impact of PSC. Being part of a journal that enhances the knowledge and skills of school counselors, who can in turn use that knowledge and those skills to improve the lives of children--what could be better than that?
Richard W. Auger is an associate professor with the Department of Counseling & Student Personnel, Minnesota State University, Mankato. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Title Annotation:||EDITOR'S NOTE|
|Author:||Auger, Richard W.|
|Publication:||Professional School Counseling|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2006|
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