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DEI in Publishing Interview Series with Dr. Mary Risner

The goal of the DEI in Publishing Interview Series is to learn from scholars at different stages in their careers, in hopes that their publishing experience will drive others into exploring strategies for promoting equity and inclusion.

DEI in Publishing Interview Series with Dr. Mary Risner

The LibraryPress@UF is pleased to introduce the DEI in Publishing Interview Series. Inspired by work completed in Spring and Summer 2020 by Haradja Torrens, the Smathers Graduate Intern in Equitable and Inclusive Library Publishing, these interviews are focused on how people experience publishing. Our goal is to learn from scholars at different stages in their careers, in hopes that their publishing experience will drive others into exploring strategies for promoting equity and inclusion.

First up
in the series is
Dr. Mary Risner.

What is your role at UF?
I am the Associate Director of Outreach and Business Programs at the Center for Latin American Studies (a 12-month, non-tenure faculty position).  

How would you describe your publishing experience, or experience within publishing?
As non-tenure track faculty, I don’t have an obligation to publish for tenure and promotion, but I strongly believe that much of the work done for outreach and for globalizing the K-20 curriculum should also be documented and shared for others to use and learn from. It is slightly different in that publications aren’t pure content and theory per se. The articles do have to follow standard publication guidelines and include theory and literature review, but they are more practitioner-focused. I don’t publish on topics that are funded by major grant agencies and don’t have large datasets to submit to high-tier journals. However, I feel lucky that anywhere I have submitted, the reviewers have actually been very kind and encouraging with their feedback and critique to help improve the manuscript. This may not be the case for those submitting to high-tier journals to get tenure.  

In your opinion, what are the unique challenges of implementing diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices within publishing?
1. Faculty rank and duties, since it takes time to publish and write articles of any length and substance. So rank and duties will determine your chances of having “extra” time to dedicate to research and writing.
2. The tendency to favor quantitative over qualitative research, rather than a blend.
3. Funding and support, as it is not easy to conduct large-scale dataset heavy projects without funding to buy out faculty time to collect data, analyze it, and publish. Faculty rank (tenure track vs. lecturer) plays a role here also, as lecturers and lower-level faculty do not have access to graduate assistants to help.
4. Favoring mostly esoteric types of publications excludes other types of valuable and practical studies related to more aspects of educational learning processes, programs, and/or campus initiatives.  

What could be done to overcome these challenges, at any stage of the publishing process?    
1. Encouraging all ranks to publish, where faculty and staff share their knowledge of their portion of what academia is from more perspectives on campus.
2. Provide some workshops on how to go about finding the best publication to fit your topic.
3. Provide workshops or peer support on academic writing and draft submissions (this is offered for grant proposals).
4. Encourage individuals to volunteer for journal review boards to learn more about the peer review process from the other side.

Thank you, Dr. Risner!

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