Springfield, Ohio – Judged best in the nation for the combination of its scholarly merit, variety of papers, layout and design, and cover artistry, the Wittenberg University History Journal’s 2010 volume Commerce, Culture and Control: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Past (Vol. 39) has received the Gerald D. Nash History Journal Prize from the Phi Alpha Theta (PAT) National History Honorary.
Members of the prize committee read all of the student history journals submitted by PAT chapters for consideration and award five prizes, including those provided by Wittenberg’s Gamma Zeta chapter. According to Professor of History Amy Livingstone, the 2009-2010 journal advisor, The Wittenberg History Journal had never been entered in the competition previously. It took first place in the 2010 “Chapters Without Graduate Degrees” competition, ahead of the University of Portland and Oklahoma Christian University.
“The students do not have to be history majors to submit their papers,” Livingstone said, “and the papers don’t have to be for history classes, just a course paper that relates to history. We had papers from an English major and two art majors in the journal.”
Class of 2010 editors for the volume included English major Whitney Yount from Harrison, Ohio, and Kaitlin Reber from Strongsville, Ohio. Class of 2011 junior editors included Charlotte Bauer from Avon Lake, Ohio; Hayley Brown from Chardon, Ohio; and Amy Walp from Springfield, Ohio.
Walp also contributed a paper, along with class of 2010 members Ruby Daily from South Charleston, Ohio; Gregory Harvey from St. Paris, Ohio; art major Rachel Sampson from East Aurora, N.Y.; art major Kara Blakley from Dayton, Ohio; and Kristen Miller from Lancaster, Ohio. Adam Matthews, class of 2011 from Pickerington, Ohio, and Abby Cengel, class of 2012 from Loveland, Ohio, also contributed to the journal.
It was Matthews’ first experience with the journal, and he credits Livingstone with giving him strong encouragement and support to submit his term paper for a methodology course, History 203. He plans to submit again this year.
“Seeing my work in a published form is extremely encouraging and has helped to further motivate me as I have taken on more serious workloads,” Matthews said. “I am currently applying to graduate school with hopes of eventually obtaining a Ph.D. in medieval history. I would like to one day hold a faculty position at an institution like Wittenberg.”
“The journal is extremely important to our department and the larger scholarly community at Witt. This has been evident in the journal’s role as a means to provide students with a way to have their success recognized early on in their careers at Wittenberg,” Matthews said. “In this way, it pushes students forward in a positive personal direction and provides a professional forum for students to interact with each other’s work and interests. The recognition our journal has received is further validation of the effectiveness of this element of our institution, and the dedication to our students to historical scholarship.”
Cengel is currently studying history at the University of York in England, where her classes focus on popular culture and The Hundred Years War in late medieval England. She is also a Pre-Modern and Ancient World Studies (PAST) minor.
“Last year was the first time I had submitted something for the history journal, and I do plan to submit at least one paper again this year,” Cengel said. “The paper was originally for my class ‘The Great War, History 203’ with Dr. Tammy Proctor, who encouraged me to submit it.”
Walp, a history major with a PAST minor, originally wrote her paper for a History 203 class, and she presented it at a PAT convention. Walp served as a junior editor last year and will be a senior editor in 2011 along with Bauer and Brown.
“A call for papers goes out at the end of fall semester with a deadline for submission in January. The editors, along with the faculty adviser, read all the submission, then discuss and vote on what papers are included,” Walp explained. “The submissions are blind; no names are on the papers, just numbers. If an editor submits a paper, they have no vote on whether that paper is submitted. We then copy-edit the chosen papers. All the images in the journal were original to the papers…the authors already added them.”
Walp transferred to Wittenberg from Clark State with an Associate of Arts degree with a concentration in history, and she is a member of PAT and Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges.
“It is an honor for the journal to receive this recognition,” she said. “I think it demonstrates the caliber of the history students at Wittenberg, as well as the excellence of the history department here.”
According to its website, PAT is “a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. We seek to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways.”
Phi Alpha Theta has grown to more than 839 chapters in 50 states, more than any other accredited four-year college honor society. The total number of initiates since its inception in 1921 is more than 350,000.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts