CHADRON –Dr. Kimberly Cox, assistant professor of English and Humanities, discovered a unique learning opportunity for students to edit written material in her role as co-managing editor for “Victorian Literature and Culture.”
Students who participated in the special topics course copy editing for “Victorian Literature and Culture” (ENG 431) are Nathaniel Cochran of Chadron, Shaniya DeNaeyer of Valentine, Neb., Stephanie Gardener of Chadron, Jessica Hanks of Kimball, Neb., Lynda Talady of Appleton, Wisc., and Jessica Thiele of Atkinson, Neb.
Cox said she oversees the production side of the journal, published by Cambridge University Press. Cox ensures copy editing is completed, articles are accounted for, and the title page and preface is composed and ready for production.
“In summer 2017, I spoke with the then editors of the journal, Adrienne Munich [Stony Brook University] and John Maynard [New York University], about running an undergraduate course in copy editing in which my students would take an accepted article and copyedit it for publication. Both advocate interactive pedagogy that offers opportunities for professionalization, so they gave me the go ahead to run the course,” Cox said.
She is pleased the course provided undergraduate students the opportunity to develop their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through practical experience.
“They did what many graduate students haven’t done. Each of them copyedited an academic article for a professional publication, working with their authors to create a polished piece, ready for print. Each of them now has workplace experience. This course is a great example of how a professor’s research interests can be worked into the classroom in a way that offers students professional experience,” Cox said.
Thiele said working with a major academic journal was a valuable experience.
“I’ve often thought of being an editor, so this experience was educational in seeing what the position entails,” Thiele said.
Hanks, who is majoring in English Language Arts Education for grades 7-12, said it was gratifying to copy edit for a well-known publication.
“Dr. Cox's course equipped me with a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding the mechanics of writing that I know will help in the classroom. In addition, though I may not have a desire to copyedit full time, this experience has instilled in me an interest that may lead to freelance copy editing work in my future,” Hanks said.
The editing process lasted the entire Fall 2017 semester. Each week, the students read MLA style rules and another text required for the class.
“Though the process was challenging at times, Dr. Cox was so helpful in addressing any questions or issues that arose,” said Thiele.
Hanks said she gained confidence in her copy editing and interpersonal communication skills as the semester ended.
“I gained real life experience such as how to tactfully give constructive criticism, offer helpful suggestions to my author, and practice leadership as I stayed in regular contact with and set deadlines for my author to make her edits,” Hanks said.
In addition to increasing and improving technical skills, Thiele said the experience fostered a new level of camaraderie between herself and a few of her peers who are also involved with production of CSC’s literary journal, “Tenth Street Miscellany.”
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