Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice: A Ten-Year Retrospective Review of Catholic Educational Research

Article excerpt

This journal has a brief but important history, encompassing the support of major Catholic colleges and universities across the United States. In particular, the University of Dayton and the University of Notre Dame have provided a home for the editorial offices and the contributed services of the editors. As the journal prepares for a transition to its third home at Boston College, this article offers a summative and evaluative overview of the contents of the journal since its inception. Recommendations are offered regarding ways to continue to grow the field of educational research situated in Catholic schools.

INTRODUCTION

Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice is a refereed journal --the only one of its kind in the United States--devoted exclusively to Catholic education from K-12 through higher education. Catholic Education (hereafter Journal) was founded in 1996 through the collaborative efforts of the University of Dayton, Saint Louis University, Fordham University, and the University of San Francisco (Nuzzi, 2004). Two individuals in particular held preeminent leadership roles in the establishment of the Journal: Sr. Mary Peter Traviss, O.P., then Director of the Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco, and the Rev. James Heft, S.M., then provost at the University of Dayton. Also instrumental to the Journal's growth and organizational development was the University of Dayton's commitment to extend for one year its stewardship of the Journal. (1)

The original start-up funds for the Journal's operational expenses were provided by the Lilly Foundation. The Journal is supported by a governing board and an advisory board. It is published quarterly and is formally supported by 20 Catholic universities. The original editorship of the Journal (1997-1998) was provided by William F. Losito and Joseph F. Rogus. Since 1998, Thomas C. Hunt and Ronald J. Nuzzi have shared editing responsibilities. The Journal is currently indexed in the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index, Education Research Complete, and Education Abstracts Full Text. The fourfold mission of the Journal is to: (a) present selected research studies that relate to the purposes and practices of Catholic education; (b) stimulate discussion exploring important issues that challenge the field; (c) challenge Catholic educators to rethink from an inquiry orientation their positions on the major questions confronting their institutions and their unique traditions; and (d) nourish the ministerial role of educators by exploring the relationship between Christian faith and professional practice. The readership of the Journal has grown since its founding to over 85 institutional subscriptions and more than 550 individual subscriptions with both domestic and international distribution.

As Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its founding, the current inquiry is a retrospective review of the scholarship published during that time period. This decade review is conceptualized as a means to encapsulate both the progress in the field and areas for needed growth. The relative dearth of peer-reviewed, research-based dissemination outlets makes such a review both imperative and timely. As underscored by Hunt, Joseph, and Nuzzi (2001), "In the 1960s, the National Catholic Guidance Conference Journal succeeded the Catholic Counselor. Both no longer exist. The Catholic Educational Review, the Catholic School Journal, Notre Dame Journal of Education, and the Catholic Educator also no longer exist" (p. i). Given that, Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice now carries an important mantle to disseminate educational research to teachers and administrators, parish and diocesan staff, and researchers and professors in academia.

METHODOLOGY

This systematic review consists of all published articles from the inaugural issue (September 1997) through the 10th volume (June 2007). …