A novel idea

By Kim Stock

"We’re poking a finger in the eye of Maclean’s!" Andrew Sherriff, Associate Editor & Special Advisor of Innovations: A Journal of Politics, triumphantly stated. "[Innovations] is an innovative venture that they don’t notice!"

A new annual journal called Innovations was launched at the University of Calgary on Wed., Dec. 2 amidst a crowd feasting on wine and cheese.

Innovations is a compilation of political articles written by graduate students from all over the world.

"Innovations is based in Calgary, but encourages submissions from the international community of undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines including Political Science, Sociology and Economics," said U of C President Terry White in his written endorsement of the journal.

The journal is a U of C venture tackled by students-from PhDs to undergrads-who marketed, edited and produced the journal. Sherriff edited the journal along with colleagues Lawna Hurl and David Trotter.

"It was a real communal effort among students," said Sherriff. "We did everything except physically print it and bind it."

The only other journal of its kind in Canada is from Dalhousie University, but "we think we’re better," said Sherriff. "It’s a first-class product."

One distinguished contributor to the debut volume of Innovations is Dr. Roger Gibbins of the U of C Political Science Department, who wrote an introduction for the compilation. Gibbins is also the President-elect of the Canadian Political Science Association, President of the Canada West Foundation, and has co-authored 17 books.

"Basically we wanted someone of international repute, and [Gibbins] is the head honcho for politics in Canada," said Sherriff. "You could say that he qualifies as distinguished."

Gibbins was pleased to write the introductory article for the journal.

"[Innovations] pushes the boundaries of the discipline," said Gibbins. "A journal like this establishes a niche for itself if it publishes articles that are interesting and provocative. Academics are quite snobbish. It’s like the label on designer jeans; quality is something that is established over time."

Sherriff planted the ideological seed for the journal last year.

"I’m not going to say that it was my idea because I did a presentation and people ran with it," said a humble Sherriff.

Originally a student of the University of Limerick in Ireland, Sherriff helped produce a political journal in his homeland and brought the idea overseas.

"I was skeptical from the start about university support," Sherriff explained. Based on his previous experience, Sherriff was prepared to resort to "guerrilla tactics" to solicit university funds. To Sherriff’s surprise, the university thought Innovations "was a good venture and they backed up their words with money. We got a large sum of money from the Special Projects Fund, the Graduate Students Association, and the Undergraduates Political Science Association."

Innovations’ mission now is to acquire permanent funding to keep the journal afloat in years to come. Profit from this volume of Innovations will go toward subsequent issues.

Innovations will be available at the U of C Bookstore for $8.

To preview the journal, visit the Innovations web site.

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