In May of 2006, Dr. Robert Coombs attended a workshop at the annual Association of Psychological Science meeting in New York City, in which he learned about the nuts and bolts of producing a student research journal at the university level. Excited about what he had learned, Dr. Coombs dreamed of creating an avenue for publication of the quality research being produced by students at Southern Adventist University. He shared this dream with his colleagues in the School of Education & Psychology at the next faculty meeting. Though there was an enthusiastic and supportive response from everyone in attendance, other responsibilities took priority and the idea laid dormant for several semesters. Finally, realizing that if this dream were to ever become reality, there would need to be more resources to make it happen, the department hired a graduate assistant whose primary responsibility would be to produce this journal. In 2009, Dr. Coombs’ dream finally became a reality and the first edition of The Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research (JIUR) was published.
The JIUR was well received by administrators, faculty, and students of Southern Adventist University and many wanted to see the opportunities for publication expanded to the graduate students on campus. The university agreed to extend the contract of the Journal’s graduate assistant from nine months to 12 months and, once again, a vision became reality when the first of The Journal of Interdisciplinary Graduate Research (JIGR) was published in 2015.
I was privileged to serve on the editorial board of the JIGR since its inception. Not only was I impressed with the quality of student work that was being generated at our university, I greatly appreciated the effort that Dr. Coombs and his graduate assistants put into making the reviewing, editing, and publishing process work as efficiently as possible. As a member of the editorial board, it was my job to review and score submitted abstracts and manuscripts. Though this could be viewed as yet another task that piles up on a professor’s long to-do list, it was made much easier and less burdensome by the work of Dr. Coombs and his assistants.
In 2015, as he began to contemplate retirement, Dr. Coombs (Rob) asked me out to lunch and asked if I would be willing to take over the editorship of the JIUR and JIGR when he retired. Although I felt honored that he would ask me, as a relatively new professor who had just achieved the rank of Associate Professor, I was worried that I would have difficulty managing the additional responsibilities of producing two research journals. Rob assured me that it would not be overly burdensome as he would provide me the step-by-step manuals that he had created and refined through careful attention to detail over the years. It was upon seeing these carefully curated manuals that I realized how much behind-the-scenes work and effort was put in by Rob and his assistants throughout the years to refine the process of producing not just one, but two quality journals. For that, I am greatly indebted.
Dr. Coombs was admired and loved by students and faculty alike. He was known by his students as a passionate teacher and mentor; by his colleagues as a committed teammate; and by administrators as a driven and organized faculty member. If not for him, the JIUR and JIGR would have remained a latent dream and 57 students would have never received their first opportunity for publication. This issue of The Journal of Graduate Research is dedicated to Dr. Robert Coombs.
A new editor-in-chief is not the only change associated with the production of this edition of the JIGR. Additionally, the graduate assistant who had previously worked on the journals was entering into her internship and was not going to be available, so we also faced the daunting task of finding a new publication assistant. As Dr. Coombs and I poured over the applications and resume’s that came in, one stood out to us as an ideal candidate. With the background of an undergraduate English and Teaching degree, Davida Phillips seemed like a good fit for the job. After working with her for only two months, I can say that not only was she a good fit, she is amazing! The production of this journal would not have been possible without the focused attention to detail and constant foresight of Davida. I have been so fortunate to have her working daily behind the scenes to keep the journal moving forward. I’m already dreading the day when she moves on and we have to find her replacement, as she will truly be irreplaceable. Thank you Davida, for making this year of transition as painless and seamless as possible! I would also like to thank Savannah Clark, the previous publication specialist for her willingness to offer guidance and answer questions when they arise.
Because our journal is interdisciplinary, we are afforded the special privilege of working with an outstanding editorial board that reflects the immense talent we have on our campus: Bonnie Eder, Ed.D., School of Education; Ronda Christman, Ph.D., School of Nursing; Laura Racovita-Szilagyi, Ph.D., School of Social Work; and Edwin Reynolds, Ph.D., School of Religion
I, too, am pleased and grateful for the administration at Southern Adventist University, especially in the School of Education and Psychology, for their continued support, encouragement, as we strive to continue producing this journal, which serves as a showcase for the excellent work of our students.
Tron Wilder, Ph.D.