April 24th, 2019
With the help of the internet, students, faculty and administrators from two Mennonite colleges in two different countries met April 23 to launch something brand-new in Mennonite higher education.
The groups from Bethel College and Canadian Mennonite University were celebrating the first issue, now live, of the Marpeck Undergraduate Research Journal (affectionately known as MURJ).
The first issue can be accessed at marpeckjournal.bethelks.edu/ojs/index.php/Journal
Jonathan Dueck, Ph.D., vice president academic (VPA) and academic dean at CMU, called MURJ “an absolute first for Mennonite colleges and universities.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a Mennonite college or university has done an undergraduate research journal, or that there’s been an undergraduate research journal between a linked pair of institutions,” he said.
The name derives from a major source of financial support, the Marpeck Fund – set up by Robert S. Kreider and Gerald Kreider to foster exactly this kind of cooperation between the Mennonite colleges and seminaries in North America.
The inaugural issue of MURJ comprises essays by six students, four from CMU and two from Bethel, in literature, philosophy, biblical studies, psychology and history.
Leah Friesen, a 2018 Bethel graduate, and Alec Loganbill, current Bethel senior, along with CMU students Isaac Schlegel and Allegra Friesen Epp, spoke briefly about their experiences with this kind of scholarly publication (CMU students Micah Enns-Dyck and Emily Stobbe-Wiebe were not able to attend).
The peer review process was new to the students, and all agreed it was a valuable and informative experience “that helped make us better writers,” Friesen Epp said.
The managing editor for MURJ is Gregory Wiebe, Ph.D., executive coordinator for the Office of the VPA at CMU, while Renae Stucky, who is on the library and Kauffman Museum staffs at Bethel, served as layout editor.
Editorial board members are David Balzer, M.A., CMU assistant professor of communication and media, Rachel Krause, Ph.D., CMU assistant professor of biology, Dwight Krehbiel, Ph.D., Bethel professor of psychology, and Kip Wedel, Ph.D., Bethel associate professor of history and peace studies.
Both Dueck and Robert Milliman, Ph.D., Bethel vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, expressed their hope that MURJ will continue to grow and thrive, and to draw student contributions from other Mennonite colleges and universities as well as their own.
“This is a vehicle for sharing the creative energies of students, and we’re very pleased with it,” said Milliman, and Dueck added, “Congratulations to the students – this is a significant achievement, and a lot of fun to see. Let’s make another one of these!” – Melanie Zuercher for Bethel College and Canadian Mennonite University