EP1: Message from the Editorial Team

Welcome to Global Scholar Stories, a podcast by the Journal of International Students. We share the personal stories of scholars behind their research in international education.

For the first episode, I am joined by the editorial team of JIS, including the Founder and Executive Editor, Dr. Krishna Bista at Morgan State University, the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Chris R. Glass at Boston College, and the Senior Editor, Dr. Stephanie K. Kim at Georgetown University. 

In this conversation, you’ll hear about the journal’s values and future directions, including how we work with emerging scholars who may be new to publishing so that the journal can be inclusive of the new voices in international education. So let’s begin!  


Asuka Ichikawa: So welcome the editorial team of JIS. Thank you for joining the show. Dr. Bista, Dr. Glass, and Dr. Kim. To start off the program, I'd like to start with Dr. Bista. As the Founder, could you tell us about the roots and the trajectory of JIS?

Dr. Krishna Bista: Thank you, Asuka, for this wonderful opportunity. JIS has started as a safe space, to share the experiences of international students, like my personal story of challenges and achievement, and the stories of millions of the students who leave their home countries, with the two pieces of luggage in a dream to advance their studies.

Over the years at JIS, we have been quite successful, to speak the most consequential conversation in international education, particularly advancing global student mobility through significant research and networking among scholars, students, and institutions. I have envisioned one goal for the JIS, which is to become the most reliable and the largest, you know, source of research about international students studies.

Asuka Ichikawa: Thank you so much, Dr. Bista. And now I like to turn to Dr. Glass. As someone who saw the growth of JIS as an Editor-In-Chief, could you share a bit about your perspectives on how JIS is a new type of journal and where it's going in terms of its directions?

Dr. Chris R. Glass: I think part of JS being a new type of journal really started with how it was founded with Krishna. It was founded by an international student to tell international students' stories, dedicated to international students and the readers were international students, themselves, and scholars and advisers.

It's a really unique journal in the sense that the readers of the journal are also the people that can really relate to the experiences many times, whether they're advisors or administrators or educators or students themselves. And so, there's a unique kind of community that's built about what we are doing with the digital storytelling initiatives, how we're thinking about the directions of the journal -- But even how we think broadly about what open access looks like, in terms of developing this global community.

Asuka Ichikawa: Thank you, Dr. Glass. And I'd like to now turn to Dr. Kim. On the note of how JIS sort of supports the professional development of international students and emerging scholars, could you perhaps talk about your new role as a Senior Editor?

Dr. Stephanie K. Kim: Sure. Well, not only is this a new role for me, it's a new position for the journal. So the history of the senior editor role was, Chris and Krishna put out a call to the current Associate Editors at that time and ask them to come forward with an idea that they would like to propose and implement in the upcoming year.

And so I was at that time, an associate editor and responded to the proposal. The idea that I had proposed, one of them anyway, was specifically about that. So a core part of the Journal's ethic is that it maintains inclusivity and diversity. At the same time, the journal has become wildly successful, not to say that it has arrived, but, that there are many more submissions now than there were before, and that's a good problem to have.

But of course, as submission numbers increase acceptance rates decrease. So even though we do have a diverse editorial team, we also have to be conscious that we still operate with certain standards, norms, biases, et cetera, that advantage some authors and not others. And so one of my goals as Senior Editor for this year is to establish a process that maintains that ethic of inclusivity for the journal, as it also becomes more selective and how I'd like to do this is to create an extra layer of review that intervenes, when a manuscript, has a lot of potential to make an interesting contribution, but may not be quite ready for the full review process, kind of like a developmental editorial role. And so, just to give you an example, some of the manuscripts submitted might have a really interesting topical or theoretical or methodological contribution.

They really advance the aims and scopes of the journal and the direction that the journal would like to go. But it just isn't in a state that's quite publishable yet. And, if the manuscript were to be sent to an associate editor to undergo the review process, it likely wouldn't make it through the review process or, would potentially be desk rejected, not because it's not good, but because it's just not ready. And so my role as a kind of developmental editor is to identify those manuscripts that fall in this category and intervene early. I'd be providing extensive feedback for the ways in which the author can improve the manuscript with an invitation for the author to resubmit that manuscript, it's not a promise to publish, but it's a way to intervene early with constructive feedback and hopefully get more emerging scholars, publish, get more authors based in diverse geographical regions published and so on.

Asuka Ichikawa: That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing about your new role and what this means for new scholars. 

Dr. Krishna Bista: You know, our entire editorial family is committed to that goal as Dr. Glass and Dr. Kim mentioned earlier by ensuring the rigor and quality of the article we publish, and by providing detailed and timely feedback. And also by creating a rewarding space for everyone, for their professional growth.

And I truly appreciate the hard work of the entire team, including the extraordinary commitment, that Dr. Glass, Dr. Kim and associate editors take, to advance the field of, international students studies, including other areas of refugees and DACA holders, and also of course, undocumented minorities.

Asuka Ichikawa: I mean, as an international student myself, I was really thrilled to find a journal that really focuses on, international students. And of course the, theme is getting broader and broader. Could I ask maybe the motivation for you to create this journal in the beginning and how has the team sort of evolved, over time?

Dr. Krishna Bista: Of course, the goal is again to create that surface space, the platform for everyone. And over the years, we expanded our area of interest, the research, and also, the hard work of every single person who worked in the journal to bring the new ideas and evolve, over the years.

Asuka Ichikawa: And Dr. Glass, you were talking about this sense of community and how diverse this group has become and also extensively around the world as the journal tries to reach different regions, languages, and everything. And I'm wondering how could people know more about JIS and get connected in terms of whether it's being part of this community or perhaps submitting a piece? Could you maybe share how people could get involved?

Dr. Chris R. Glass: One of the things I'm really proud about the way the journal has approached this, is that there are so many different ways to get involved. I would say with a traditional journal, the answer to that is, to become a reviewer, but I think, our community is so diverse and our journal is really driven by that.

I would say it's almost, that is where it's fundamentally a different model, to open access in the sense that it's has a form of participatory leadership or the ideas are not generated, by the senior team they're really generated from the ground up. So the best ideas have always come from the energy that our community brings.

And we're really committed to thinking about what a journal looks like in this new digital space, in this much more interconnected world than when we began 12 years ago. That includes space where there's a lot more conversation around social media, there are opportunities to influence policymakers and educators through powerful storytelling, both visually and through audio like podcasts like this.

And so the ways to get involved with the journal kind of span the spectrum of basically the talents and interests that people want to bring to our community. Truly from the very beginning, it has been about connecting with Krishna, myself, now, Stephanie, or any of our editorial team to share your ideas.

And really our answer has typically been to support people. People can visit our website, they can always sign up to be a reviewer. That's a great way to get started, if you're interested in that kind of experience as well. But we have a new digital storytelling team, that you can get involved in.

We have audio storytelling, social media, email communication. We also have a digital production team. If you're interested in the world of academic publishing, you can get involved with that as well. We're going to have a series of conversations that really meant to talk about issues where there are critical tensions between what the research says and what people have in practice.

So really the world is as big as your ideas in terms of how to get involved. If you visit our website, there's a contact us page at the top right. Click on that. There are many different ways to get connected with the journal. And we would love to hear from you.

Asuka Ichikawa: Amazing. Thank you, Dr. Glass. And I suppose lastly, Dr. Kim, would you like to add to the community component?

Dr. Stephanie K. Kim: Sure. so as I mentioned, when I came to Chris and Krishna with some ideas to implement, one of them was about, ways in which to maintain inclusivity of the journal. The other idea that I wanted to put forward was to build a stronger sense of community among the editorial team. Now, in conversation with Associate and Assistant editors, and even from my own experience, having worked as an Associate Editor for a couple of years, what became clear to me that was that collectively all of us had a vast array of expertise and experience, but that oftentimes each member of the editorial team was often working individually without much contact with one another. And I really thought that there was an opportunity to create a stronger network and community of members of the editorial team. 

What I'm going to be doing as a Senior Editor this year is implementing something called office hours, for lack of a better word, a series of meetings that we'll be holding in the spring and fall where the editorial team can come together, bring their ideas to the table and share it with each other as well as with, myself and Chris and Krishna. These will be different from the regular editorial meetings that the journal holds because they're much more conversational, much more fluid, driven by the kinds of things that the editorial team members want to talk about. This can be things like trends that they're noticing within their various roles, maybe challenges within the editorial process, but even beyond process-oriented topics, bigger conceptual topics, like how do we expand the critical conversations that the journal wants to advance, or, how can we create professional development opportunities utilizing everyone's expertise here? I also think that there's a ripe opportunity to use the conferences that many of us probably attend to further build on that community. So I'm thinking about ways in which we can expand into those areas as well. Really excited to bring this together and, and get started.

Asuka Ichikawa: Thank you so much for your perspective. I think it's really amazing that, those who are editors, at JIS could get connected themselves. Since there are so many editors from different regions and cultures and countries. 

And I suppose, we've come to the end of our hour or half an hour. And, to wrap up, I was wondering if you could each share your new year's resolutions, one for JIS in your role, and then one something that is personal, if that's okay. 

Dr. Krishna Bista: Well, I'll start with mine. I started a weekly trampoline workout with my family. It's so much fun, even in the rain and cold. For the journal and then book series I have started a professional development series to discuss the journey and experience of the authors and the reviewers or editors, as Dr. Glass and Dr. Kim mentioned earlier, our goal is to expand our scholarship from the perspective of the humans, that people of color and communities from the Global South. So, I have determined to do, at this, you know, twice a month or a once a month. We started the first one, that's there.

Asuka Ichikawa: That's amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

Dr. Chris R. Glass: I think for new year's resolution, I've always loved art and graphic art. And so, I just moved to Boston. I can immerse myself in some amazing art museums here. And looking forward to that as well as doing some, some graphic work on my own. In terms of the journal, it's having conversations like this. Hopefully meeting a different person every week, inviting new people into our conversation. And excited to see the organic energy of how this develops. I truly don't know how the story's going to end. I don't know what 2023 is going to look like. And I think for new year's resolution, it's enjoying sitting back and watching that energy, help the journal, take new form, in the coming year.

Asuka Ichikawa: Definitely. Thank you so much, Dr. Glass.

Dr. Stephanie K. Kim: Yeah, well, my new year's resolution for the journal would be by the end of the year, to be able to look back at the developmental review process that I had discussed earlier. Assess its successes, assess its weaknesses as well. And by the end of the year, think of a way that could potentially expand it in bigger ways.

And then personally for myself, my New Year's resolution this year is to be able to take a vacation. You know, I haven't traveled in two years. So as soon as I feel uncomfortable is to actually go somewhere, shut off my email, shut off all Zoom meetings and actually take a real vacation.

Asuka Ichikawa: I'm just chiming in, because I know this is a podcast and our audience may not be able to see our faces, but I'm seeing everyone nodding very hard. And I'm truly hoping that this year will be a little bit more uplifting and hopefully everyone will get to go wherever they want to go and take vacations. Any, any places you have in mind Dr. Kim? 

Dr. Stephanie K. Kim: You know, still thinking about it, but, Hawaii, if possible it's on my radar, but we'll see.

That'll be perfect. How about you, Dr. Glass or Dr. Bista, any, any places you like to fly off to or..? 

Dr. Krishna Bista: Well, I'm not quite sure I will be traveling outside the country for a while. I like to, spend as much time as possible, exploring the places around my area, and those things. I think that's all. Thank you.

Dr. Chris R. Glass: Yeah, I'll get to travel to Dublin, with some of our doctoral students this summer, and really looking forward to that, going to Limerick for the first time. And that'll be, an exciting new, adventure and place to be.

Asuka Ichikawa: Exciting. And so, yes. Thank you so much to all of you for spending your Friday morning on this podcast. 


JIS is an open-access journal that empowers the voices of international students around the world. We would like to thank the generous institutional sponsorship of the American Council on Education, Old Dominion University, and publication partnership with Emerson College. 


For updates on the new episodes, please visit our website or Twitter [at] jistudents. To share your feedback please write to us at globalscholarstories[at]gmail.com

Thank you for tuning in. For our next episode, we will begin our Season 1 focusing on the theme of academic writing. Dr. Stephanie Kim will be back on the show to share her journey on becoming a scholar and her reflections on writing. Until then, please stay safe and well!