Baylor School of Education associate professor Dr. Rishi Sriram has been selected as editor of the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, a semiannual academic journal publishing research about the first year of college and other student transition experiences, such as transferring colleges. Sriram’s appointment is for a renewable three-year term, which began July 1, 2021.
As a researcher in this field, Sriram said he is fascinated by the outsized role that the college experience can play in a person’s life. “Colleges and universities can have a positive or detrimental effect through their policies, programs, places, and people,” he said. “Research in the field can equip institutions to understand and implement programs that are most conducive to helping college students flourish.”
The peer-reviewed journal seeks to blend research and practice in higher education, intentionally catering to two audiences — academic researchers studying higher education and also practitioners who are “living on the front lines” as administrators on college campuses.
Sriram happens to represent both audiences. In his faculty role in the SOE’s Department of Educational Leadership, Sriram is an active researcher, serves as graduate program director for the department, and teaches courses in both the master’s program in Higher Education & Student Affairs (HESA) and in the SOE’s PhD program in Higher Education Studies & Leadership (HESL).
But Sriram is also literally living the college life on Baylor’s campus. As the faculty steward of Brooks Residential College, an on-campus residential community of approximately 400 students, Sriram, his wife, and four children live in an apartment located in Brooks, where they interact daily with students.
Before pursuing an academic faculty career, Sriram served in administrative positions in higher education and student affairs for eight years at Baylor, helping develop living-learning centers and faculty-in-residence programs while serving as an assistant dean.
Sriram has published research in many journals and served on the board of this and other journals, but this is his first stint as editor. He said the opportunity will provide a new avenue to share scholarship on student success.
“This will allow me to contribute in some ways that I have not before in research and scholarship,” he said. “It’s also good for Baylor and brings positive and well-deserved attention to the university.”
Published by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, housed at the University of South Carolina, the Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition has been in publication for 33 years.
The Center’s executive director, Dr. Jennifer Keup, said there is excitement in having Sriram take on the editorship of the journal. “In so many ways, he is reflective of the Center’s core commitments, particularly around the idea of blending research and practice,” she said. “We are dedicated to living in this liminal space and speaking to both scholars and practitioners. Rishi understands this wide audience and will lead us in new and exciting directions.”
Sriram’s research has focused on student affairs practice, college student retention, talent development, intelligence, and student thriving. He describes those interests as “focusing on the academic, social, and deeper-life interactions that college students have — with peers, faculty, and staff — and how those interactions and relationships foster college student success.”
Keup said that Sriram’s recent scholarship on student thriving is particularly pertinent for the journal. “Having that perspective is timely as the higher education world tries to turn disruption due to the pandemic into meaningful transformation and continue to serve students in the best way possible,” she said. “Rishi’s research is a wonderful lens for us, as higher education pivots from surviving amidst COVID to a future of thriving.”
As editor, Sriram will “drive the conversation and provide leadership” for the journal, Keup said. Sriram said his practical duties include review of manuscripts to ensure they are a good fit, gathering feedback from editorial board members, recruiting those board members, and making final publication decisions, as well as representing the journal at academic conferences.
“I really appreciate this journal because of the job it has done in bridging together scholars and practitioners,” Sriram said. “This journal is a go-to place for practitioners in higher education who want the latest research to help students succeed. It publishes work by both researchers studying college student success and also work by practitioners sharing best practices based on empirical evidence. It is very valuable as a landing place for scholars and practitioners to metaphorically converse.”
For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, professors, researchers, and more. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.