Member Story: CEA journal finds home with TDL

Looking for a way to enhance the visibility and professionalism of one of its journals, the College English Association (CEA) found a partner in the Texas Digital Library.

The CEA, a nationwide professional organization for teachers of college English, has published The CEA Forum since the 1970s. (The CEA itself has been around since 1938.) The Forum publishes peer-reviewed work focused on pedagogical theory and other topics related to the teaching of English at the college level.

In 2010, The CEA Forum came to the TDL Electronic Press through the work of several people at the CEA, including Miles Kimball, a technical writing professor at Texas Tech University and former president of the CEA. (Texas Tech is a founding member of the Texas Digital Library). Janine Utell, associate professor of English at Widener University, is the journal’s managing editor and has been instrumental in setting up and running the journal on the TDL Electronic Press.

From newsletter to scholarly journal

Using the TDL-hosted Open Journal Systems software has helped The CEA Forum transition into a peer-reviewed scholarly publication.

Above: Janine Utell, Managing Editor of The CEA Forum

“Moving the journal to TDL was part of our goal to make it more reputable, more scholarly, and more of a voice in the field,” Utell said. “We want it to be part of a wider scholarly conversation.”

Starting as a print newsletter in the 1970s, The CEA Forum went online in the 1990s and later went on hiatus.

Utell revived the publication in 2003 as an online peer-reviewed journal hosted on her university’s website. She then began to work towards the vision of the organization to create a true scholarly journal, supported by Kimball and the rest of the CEA Board of Directors.

By using the TDL’s hosted journal service, Utell says, the journal has taken on a more professional look that provides it with greater credibility.  And that credibility is attractive to potential contributors.

“More institutions are willing to accept online journals as part of promotion and tenure, but they care about how things look and how easy it is to access,” she said. “Having something high quality to show to their promotion and tenure committees – like a PDF print-out that has the appearance of something you would get in a print journal – is important to contributors.“

The work to change the journal’s direction has paid off in other ways, too. Because of its transition to a scholarly format, The CEA Forum is now indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, which maintains certain requirements for inclusion of online journals.

Easy setup and streamlined workflow

In addition to providing a professional-looking website, Open Journal Systems software provides backend management tools that let journal managers and editors set up the journal through a forms-driven interface and manage the editorial processes of peer review, copyediting, and issue creation.

These tools also proved to be of great benefit to The CEA Forum.

“It was easy to set up, and the workflow management is great,” Utell says. “Building the issues takes half the amount of time it did previously.”

New issue of The CEA Forum

The CEA Forum publishes twice annually. Its latest issue will be released in late July and includes articles on teaching pan-African literature and designing a survey of early American literature, as well as a roundtable on assessment.

To view the journal, go to To learn more about TDL online journals, visit the TDL website at


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