Call for submissions: VA Engage Journal (due 6/1)

VA Engage Journal Call for Papers, Volume 5: 

Special Section: Civic Action and Civic Health in the Commonwealth 

“Our nation finds itself in a befuddling juxtaposition of realities. We have the highest access to voting rights in our history, yet we struggle to muster half of eligible voters to exercise their rights. Despite a public that remains largely disengaged with electoral politics, Gallup’s poll on civic health reveals that Americans contribute more time and money to those in need than citizens of any other nation.”

 (A Crucible Moment, 2012, 7-8)

What makes a community civically healthy? What inspires or hinders a community’s civic action?

By many conventional measures, we find ourselves undergoing what the authors of A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future call a “civic erosion” (6). At the same time, new conditions for mobilizing knowledge are fostering new forms of civic action and activism. For this special section of Volume 5 of the VA Engage Journal, we invite contributions that deepen our collective understanding of public participation across the Commonwealth of Virginia and/or provoke new thinking about the meaning and manifestation of civic health in our communities.

Submissions may respond to the dilemmas evoked above, to the following questions, or to related topics:

  • How do the ways communities are developed (physical layout, access to resources, etc.) affect relationships, sense of community, identity, and the ways people participate in public life?
  • What does civic engagement look like in the Commonwealth today in different spaces and with distinct populations?
  • What role do the arts play in creating a sense of place or community for people?
  • How can scientific inquiry help our communities address complex problems and advance public deliberation and collective action?
  • How is activism being redefined on our campuses and in our communities?

Submissions for this special section should fit in one of the Journal’s regular categories for submission: critical reflection, review of literature or practice, or research study, Editors encourage submissions that explore this theme via multi-media and artistic products; this might include photos, video, digital stories, etc.

In addition to submissions for this special section, editors welcome submissions for Volume 5 that meet the criteria for the Journal and fit in an existing submission category, on any relevant theme.

Submission deadline for Volume 5: June 1, 2016.

The VA Engage Journal promotes engaged scholarship by undergraduate, professional, and graduate students. The mission of the VA Engage Journal is to build our collective practical and intellectual capacities for meaningful community engagement by providing a forum in which students enrolled in colleges and universities across Virginia can share and reflect critically on their own community-engaged experiences, and can disseminate knowledge emerging from their engaged practice and research. The journal provides a forum for students to publish research studies (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods), reflection essays, and reviews of current literature and engagement practice, all with guidance and mentorship from engaged faculty and staff. Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled full- or part-time at a two- or four-year college or university in Virginia is eligible to submit an article. Submissions with multiple authors are welcome. The VA Engage Journal is published once annually.

Please contact Dr. Sylvia Gale (, host editor of the VA Engage Journal, or any member of the editorial board, with questions about submissions.