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She stresses it is rare for a scholarly publication to be produced at a strictly undergraduate college

Patricia Donahue, professor of English and director of the College Writing Program, has assumed the role of editor of the journal Reader.

Originating in 1976 as a newsletter responding to the growing interest in reader-response criticism and theory within literary studies, Reader is now a semiannual publication with international circulation and contributors from diverse backgrounds. As an interdisciplinary journal, submissions come from areas such as literature, reading research, gender studies, rhetoric, composition, visual representation, and cultural studies.

Donahue stresses it is rare for a scholarly publication of this level to be produced at a strictly undergraduate college.

“It’s somewhat unusual to have a peer-reviewed journal, especially one in the humanities, located in an undergraduate institution,” explains Donahue. “The journal gives the College and my department a special kind of professional visibility in some circles. And that’s a good thing. It’s also highly satisfying to work with young scholars in my field (along with established names), to help them frame their ideas, publish their work, and improve their chances for tenure.”

According to Donahue, the journal funds itself through subscriptions with Lafayette providing some monetary support for editorial assistance and management.

As the editor, Donahue’s responsibilities include soliciting essays and sending them to reviewers, working with possible contributors on revising their submissions, developing themes for issues and arranging guest editorships. She also writes introductions for each of the issues, as well as summarizes each essay and places them into theoretical relationship with each other. “I supervise the coming into life for each issue, from idea to published product,” she explains.

Other faculty members and staff working on the publication include new managing editor John Christian Tatu, coordinator of the College Writing Program; Bianca Falbo, associate professor of English; and Courtney Bentley, instructional technology program coordinator.

Also, Jennifer Kelleman ’08 (Hummelstown, Pa.), who is majoring in English and psychology, has been working with Donahue on the publication for the past year by inputting each issue into the publishing system and assisting with proofreading.

Previously based at the University of Pittsburgh for five years, Donahue accepted the position at the invitation of previous editors Mariolina Salvatori and Paul Kameen, both associate professors of English at Pitt. The journal was founded at Michigan Technological University where it was published for a quarter of a century.

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