Engaged Scholar Journal’s Inaugural Editor Announced

After a lengthy selection process, Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen, an associate professor of St. Thomas More College and head of the Department of Religion and Culture, was named as the inaugural editor of the Engaged Scholar Journal (ESJ) last May 14, 2014.  The announcement was made during the journal’s launching at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in Saskatchewan, Canada. ESJ is the first Canadian peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary, open access scholarly journal on community-university engagement and scholarship, which is an initiative of the U of S’s Advancement and Community Engagement (ACE).

“The search committee were convinced that Natalia would be a very strong inaugural editor.” disclosed Andrew Dunlop, director of University of Saskatchewan’s Community Outreach and Engagement and head of the selection committee. “She expressed a clear, comprehensive vision of where she wanted to take the journal, and a strategy for how to shape it based on the University’s vision and mission for mutually beneficial community-university scholarship,” said Dunlop, noting that it is a pioneering initiative in Canada and only one among a score of journals dedicated on engaged scholarship worldwide.

Dr. Natalia Khanenko-Friesen presenting the Engaged Scholar Journal last May 14, 2014 during University of Saskatchewan's Engaged Scholar Day

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen, who served as journal convener, has outlined her goals for the journal, which includes directing it into a vibrant platform for co-creation of knowledge between academe and non-academic partners, and fostering interdisciplinary and scholarly collaborations that are grounded on community realities. One of her strategies in achieving these goals is to publish Critical Essays on theory and practice of engaged scholarship in various contexts; putting out Notes from the Field that will report on ongoing work and reports on conferences; and provide spaces for dialoguing and exchanges representing debates in the broader community. There will also be a section on history and book reviews. 

“In conceptualizing the journal, we also have to consider emerging technologies that will be popularly used in the next five years,” says Dr. Khanenko-Friesen. “The best thing about the Engaged Scholar Journal, being an open access and online journal, is that authors can submit their work not only through the written text, but also in various multi-media output such as videos and podcasts. It is important that the journal will be able to build and enhance community-university engagements here in Canada.”

Fittingly, ESJ’s inaugural issue that is going to be published in fall this year is based on the theme Building Engaged Scholarship in Canada. It aims to profile the best practices of community engagement as pursued by Canadian researchers from historical and disciplinary perspectives. The call for papers has already been issued with submission deadline set on August 31, 2014.

Dr. Khanenko-Friesen will serve for a two-year term beginning July 1 this year up to June 30, 2016.