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Global Editor Team to Take Helm of Reading Research Quarterly

By ILA Staff
 | Jun 07, 2022

The International Literacy Association (ILA) today announced the next editor team to lead the organization’s flagship journal, Reading Research Quarterly (RRQ). The appointment marks the first time in the peer-reviewed publication’s history that it will be steered by a team of researchers representing four countries.

The editor team includes

  • Jennifer Rowsell, Professor and Deputy Head of School, School of Education, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
  • Christian Ehret, Associate Professor, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, Canada
  • Natalia Kucirkova, Professor, Norwegian Centre for Learning Environment and Behavioural Research in Education, University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Cheryl A. McLean, Associate Professor, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, New Jersey, United States

Rowsell, Ehret, Kucirkova, and McLean are well-established as forward-thinking scholars and partners in the field. Their involvement in collaboration and with ILA is extensive. For instance, Rowsell, a former member of ILA’s Literacy Research Panel, and Ehret recently served as guest editors of a special issue of RRQ, “Literacy, Affect, and Uncontrollability.” Kucirkova was most recently a member of the editorial board for ILA’s The Reading Teacher (RT) and she is a member of ILA’s Early Literacy Committee, while McLean is a past member of ILA’s Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards Committee, a past reviewer for the annual conference research program, and a recent RT contributor.

Their professional relationships date back to 2006, having worked together on numerous books and book chapters, journal articles, conference presentations, and research grants. Their collective interests span across age levels and include multimodal, makerspace, and arts-based research; posthumanist and affect approaches to literacy teaching and learning; the digital divide; social justice in children’s literacy and technology use; and race, culture, and identity.

Their vision for the future of RRQ demonstrates a knowledge of and commitment to the evolving nature of literacy, with plans in the works for a podcast series and other methods to extend conversations about innovative approaches to reading and literacies across diverse formats, perspectives, voices, platforms, and spaces.

“Each member of the team is a digital literacy expert, which is key to emphasize in a dramatically changing literacy landscape, and the team therefore carries potential to move the journal into newer directions,” the team wrote in their application. “We believe that the diversity of our backgrounds and cultures, work experience, career stages, and how we approach digital literacy will enrich our editorial work together.”

The incoming editor team’s four-year term will begin July 1, 2022, and conclude June 30, 2026.

Rowsell, Ehret, Kucirkova, and McLean will take over leadership from the current team of Amanda Goodwin and Robert Jiménez of Vanderbilt University who, during their tenure, spearheaded two landmark special issues of the journal examining the oft-polarizing science of reading (SOR) from supportive and critical perspectives. Among their accomplishments: boosting the journal’s impact factor, a measure used to indicate the relative importance of a journal, by more than 52%.

Nicola Wedderburn, interim executive director of ILA, said she feels confident that the incoming editor team is poised to build upon the success of their predecessors. “We are excited by their plans for carrying RRQ’s 50-plus year legacy forward and are confident that they will not only leave their mark on the journal but also the literacy field at large.”

Danielle Dennis, ILA Board liaison to the search committee that vetted all of the RRQ editorship applicants, echoed Wedderburn’s sentiments and also expressed gratitude on behalf of ILA for the members of the search committee who spent the past several months on the review and interview process.

“As a member of the ILA Board of Directors and chair of the Publications Committee, I wish to acknowledge the outstanding, thoughtful, and intelligent deliberations of the RRQ Editorial Team Search Committee,” Dennis said. “The members of this committee held true to their charge and aligned their decisions with the mission and vision of the organization.”

The search committee was led by Margaret Hagood, professor, College of Charleston, South Carolina, and also included Marcus Croom, assistant professor, Indiana University Bloomington; Raúl Alberto Mora, associate professor, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Colombia; Fiona Maine, associate professor, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Seth Parsons, professor, George Mason University, Virginia; Mia Perry, senior lecturer, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; and Jon Wargo, assistant professor, Boston College, Massachusetts.

RRQ is the leading global journal offering multidisciplinary scholarship on literacy among learners of all ages, including the latest research studies. The reach and influence of the journal is extensive. RRQ had more than 350,000 full-text downloads in the last volume year and has a circulation of nearly 6,400 academic institutions.

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