The Berkeley Review of Education (BRE) is a student-run, peer-reviewed, and open-access academic journal publishing multidisciplinary research on a broad range of topics related to educational equity and inclusion. In addition to publishing academic research, the BRE publishes the “Call for Conversations” on its blog, a unique space in which researchers, educators, students, and community members submit short pieces in response to major events affecting public education, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2016 presidential election. Housed in UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education (GSE), the BRE’s editorial board includes graduate students from all GSE academic programs and disciplinary backgrounds.
The BRE serves as an invaluable opportunity for graduate students to learn about the academic publishing process, gain professional development in academic writing and editing, and develop leadership and mentoring skills. Further, the BRE provides a rare space wherein graduate students from across diverse academic programs gather as a community, working across disciplines and research interests. BRE editors often extend their services to the broader educational research community through facilitating academic publication workshops and participating on conference panels.
Since the journal’s founding in 2010, the BRE editorial board has continued to refine its organizational structures and processes in order to publish quality journal issues, provide useful training to junior editors, and build community. Yet this work is not without its challenges. One major challenge is sustaining the capacity of the editorial board. Other than the two co-chief editors, who receive a yearly stipend, all board members are volunteers, and must juggle the work of an editor with academic, economic, and personal demands. In recent years, fewer graduate students have joined the BRE and the editorial board has decreased in size from nearly 20 to about 12. At the same time, we have experienced increasing numbers of submissions, but given our capacity, we are only able to publish biannual issues of 4 articles rather than the more ideal 6-7 articles.
While the BRE has benefited from ongoing financial support from the Graduate Assembly and the Graduate School of Education, we believe that our work could be greatly improved with additional institutional and faculty support. For example, we would welcome faculty members to supplement the training provided by co-chief editors on various dimensions of the editorial and publication processes. In addition, we could benefit from additional funding which would allow more board members—particularly senior board members—to be paid for their work. Finally, given the challenge of coordinating our busy board members’ schedules around a regular meeting time, we have considered the advantages of transforming the BRE into a doctoral student-led seminar in which board members could enroll for course credit. We believe that such changes would attract more graduate students to the BRE, encourage them to serve on the editorial board for multiple years, and ensure the continued success of the journal.