Back to Blog

Teaching and Learning in Transitional Spaces

This post is written by member Holly Hassel, editor of Teaching English in the Two-Year College. 

hollyhasselBeginning with the September, 2016 issue, I stepped into the role of editor of Teaching English in the Two-Year College. I had been a long-time reader of the journal, having taught at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County, a two-year transfer campus in central Wisconsin, since 2002. I had previously taught at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, but experience can only provide so much professional learning.

Starting a full-time position at a two-year college, I found a critical resource in TETYC. I was and am committed to the critical work of open-admissions campuses, and I also knew that access-institutions differ in significant ways from the Research 1 campus where I had completed my doctoral work. With selective admissions and a largely residential student population, my graduate institution had a very different student population than the two-year college where I taught. Transitioning to a teaching environment where I was working with a wider range of students in terms of demographic diversity and academic preparation meant that professional support (in addition to the institutional and collegial support I had) was imperative.

I’ve made a career and home at this institution doing this work. Now, taking on the editorial role of the journal that was so critical to my development as a teacher-scholar means that I am able to continue providing that professional resource to colleagues, one that was so important to me as an early-career teacher. As our submission call indicates,

We seek articles (4,000–7,000 words) in all areas of composition (basic, first-year, and advanced); business, technical, and creative writing; and the teaching of literature in the first two college years. We also publish articles on topics such as program and curriculum development, assessment, technology and online learning, writing program administration, developmental education in writing and reading, speech, writing centers in two-year colleges, journalism, reading, ESL, and other areas of professional concern.

This focus largely parallels what the journal has been doing since its inception in 1974. At the beginning of my editorship, I knew I wanted to retain many of the features of the journal: its commitment to engaging, rigorous scholarship, of course, but also the journal’s ability to meet the needs of various types of readers—those instructors who teach in vocational and technical colleges, in general education and transfer programs; in “junior colleges” that focus on transfer. Many readers are active researchers, while others focus largely on professional development and growth that directly affects their individual classrooms. The updated submission guidelines reflect that commitment to scholarship that fulfills the needs of a wide range of readers.

But there were some things I wanted to try—as we are in a well-established digital and social media age, expanding the presence of TETYC in these environments was important to me. I started a blog that would be a responsive way to reach out to and interact with readers. Further, I started my term by transitioning the submission process to Editorial Manager, an online management system that streamlines the submission and review process and allows authors to monitor the process of review. It also gives reviewers an interactive experience where they can more easily access other reader reports and follow up on their manuscript recommendations.

Last, respectful of the busy lives of two-year college teachers, who teach 4, 5, 6, or more classes each semester, we’re offering two new features—Review Essays and Symposiums. Review essays offer a broad overview of multiple new professional texts that help readers get a sense of how new published work in the field fits together and whether it can inform their own day-to-day work. Our first review essay, published in the December 2016 issue, reviews multiple texts on online writing instruction, something many two-year college faculty increasingly find themselves doing. Second, a symposium brings together expert voices on a topic of shared interest–our first, coordinated by Christie Toth (U of Utah) and Darin Jensen (Des Moines Area Community College) will appear in the September 2017 issue and will focus on preparing faculty for effective two-year college English teaching.

I welcome feedback and questions about the journal at tetyc.editor@gmail.com.

Holly Hassel is Professor of English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in Wausau, Wisconsin.