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Behind the Journal: "Aisthesis"

Logo for UMD journal Aisthesis
December 17, 2020

Under the guidance of Assistant Professor Rebecca Boyle, University Honors students create a yearly academic journal.

Each year, the University of Minnesota Duluth Honors Program releases a student-run, faculty-guided online academic journal called Aisthesis. The class that works on the journal is Honors Advanced Writing, taught for many years by Professor Rebecca Boyle. Honors students from all over the country submit their academic articles or creative works to be considered for publication.

UMD Assistant Professor Rebecca Boyle

Assistant Professor Rebecca Boyle

At the beginning of the class, students are put into teams that are dedicated to different tasks, such as marketing, editing, graphic design. All students participate in the peer review process.

“The really great thing about working with honors students is that they come with a lot of different skills that are transferable and applicable to the journal process,” Boyle says and adds that the students, “serve as the student editorial board for Aisthesis.”

The peer review process for the journal includes the whole class. Two students are assigned a submission to read during round one of the review process-- Boyle also reads every submission.

“The purpose of round one is, we are looking for submissions that will progress to round two.”

Once they get to round two, Boyle starts recruiting other UMD faculty members to go through the submissions because they receive submissions from a wide variety of disciplines, and Boyle says, “they have more of a sense of their field’s research, and we want to make sure that the papers are read by faculty members that match the discipline of the submission.”

Last year they received around 140 submissions. Boyle thinks the number of submissions went down from around 200 in previous years because of COVID.

Ryan Goei, director of the University Honors program and one of the faculty advisors for Aisthesis says that, “the work that the students do under the direction of Becky Boyle is tremendous.” Goei says faculty in English, Linguistics and Writing Studies were crucial in establishing the current form of the journal. "Professors Elizabetheda Wright and Rebecca Boyle were instrumental."

“What’s remarkable about Aisthesis is the faculty and student interaction. It is intense and facilitated by outstanding faculty. What has made Aisthesis work and such a remarkable experience for students is the teachers,” Goei emphasizes, "Professor Boyle for the past four years, Professor Beard this year."

Next year Professor David Beard will be taking over Boyle's role as she is on leave during the Spring semester. Goei doesn’t “foresee many changes,” for the journal with Beard taking over the class and journal.

“I look forward to seeing what Dr. Beard brings to the class. I’m sure Aisthesis will continue to be a remarkable undergraduate publication,” Goei says. 

Read the most recent issue of Aisthesis Vol. 11, no. 1 and Vol. 11, no. 2

Learn more about UMD's Department of English Linguistics & Writing Studies.

Learn more about UMD's University Honors program.