Logging On

Cheryl Ball, Co-Editor

Outreach and Mentoring Goals

In the fall of 2020, Kairos participated in the Technical and Professional Communication editors' Listening Sessions on inclusivity in TPC publishing. These sessions were hosted on Zoom by Derek Ross at Auburn University and moderated by Janine Utell, Secretary of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Dozens of BIPOC scholars attended the sessions, and the 16 or so mostly white editors of TPC venues shut up and listened to what these scholars had to say about inclusivity (or lack thereof) in TPC journals and book series. Their feedback was prompted by the following set of questions:

  • In what ways would you hope to see the field's publication venues be more accountable to scholars from underrepresented groups?
  • How might our submissions processes more clearly invite diverse scholarship and research perspectives?
  • What, if any, outreach or mentoring would you like to see our publications offer to underrepresented authors to assist in your writing process towards publication?
  • In what areas of the discipline do we need better editorial board, staff, and author representation to ensure our peer-review, copyediting, and publications are more inclusive?
  • What peer review or submission guidelines would you look for in a publication to feel welcome as an author?

The feedback was vast and helpful, centering quite specifically on mentoring as a key area that publications in writing studies can do better at. (And it's not lost on us at Kairos that this advice is not only geared towards inclusivity of BIPOC scholars in publishing but on all scholars who are invested in scholarly publishing. We have to work extra hard, then, to ensure Kairos is a space that is welcoming and inclusive to BIPOC scholars.) Specifically, those in attendance mentioned that our journal websites needed to be clearer about timelines, expectations, submission practices, citational practices, and more. And they wanted more interaction with editors, through better email communications, more video conferencing, Discord availability, and other venues.

This feedback hit home for us at Kairos, not least because we have tried to be productive in and expand our mentoring outreach for decades, but we also knew there was always more we wanted and could do but hadn't yet. For instance, Kairos staff has had it on our agenda to create webinars for how to publish webtexts since at least 2013. We started a whole section that would assist us in doing this work (#KairosCast), and we began offering KairosCamps (a long-time dream of mine) in 2017, but stopped when we didn't get continued funding, and COVID-19 put a damper on a f2f event we had planned for BIPOC authors. We didn't dedicate the energy, time, focus, and most certainly personnel to ensuring that we could enact these outreach events and goals successfully. So KairosCast turned to other priorities for a few years before we sunset it, and KairosCamp has been temporarily relegated to another 3-hour workshop before Computers & Writing conferences, hampered further by the pandemic and convention cancellations. But we all still desired to accomplish this work. So these Listening Tours in 2020 forced our hands and recentered our mentorship goals as a primary method of outreach in 2021, and hopefully beyond. We must do more.

We are grateful to the scholars who took their time to provide that feedback, and the editors who participated in those listening sessions have written a thank you note, with updates on the work we've started and/or completed since the tours took place. We welcome you to read the letter, circulate it in your communities, and tag us on Twitter with the hashtag #InclusiveTPC.


Kairos has long been creating a list of mentoring and outreach projects that we'd like to complete, and we wanted to let you know what we have in the works for the coming year! Let us know if you want us to cover a specific topic not listed here:

Open Houses
Quarterly Zoom/video drop-ins where potential authors can chat as a group with Kairos editors, ask questions, and preview submission ideas. Managing Editor Chris Andrews will be coordinating these, with our first one to take place in March 2021.
Lunch with an Editor
In collaboration with the #InclusiveTPC group, monthly video-based chats with a panel of editors from writing studies journals. Webinar-style with Q&A to follow. Editor Cheryl Ball is coordinating these, with the first one taking place in February 2021.
Chat with an Editor
A longstanding feature of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals at the annual MLA conference, virtual monthly or quarterly (tbd) 20-minute, one-on-one, informal chats with an editor from across the humanities, to provide basic publishing advice for early-career scholars. Editor Cheryl Ball is assisting the CELJ Mentoring Coordinator—in 2021, that is Susan Tomlinson—to promote these chats.
Friday #AskanEditor @kairosrtp
A weekly Twitter stream monitored by one or more of our senior editorial team and section editors. We will plan to start this in late January 2021, after publication of this issue. I admit, this feels ambitious and a little overwhelming.
An extended, virtual version of the popular onsite, two-week institute, scattered throughout the year to help authors build webtexts for publication in journals like Kairos. 2021–22 will focus on BIPOC authors, and KCamps will build on the publicly available webinars we offer. These will be a coordinated effort among several Kairos staff members, and we will aim to begin these sessions in Summer 2021.
Ask the Authors (ATAs)
With each issue, perhaps more often, we will publish 10-minute, process-based interviews with authors who have recently published in the journal. This work builds on the historical Kairos Meet the Author (KMTA) sections from pre-2000 and C&C Digital Press's "5 minutes with an author" series. Our assistant editors will work on this feature alongside senior editors. Associate Editor Elizabeth Chamberlain will be coordinating these, and we plan to start this feature in the January 2022 issue, if not sooner (August 2021 is a special issue…).
Kairos Research Network
An internal on-going discussion, modeled on the Research Network Forum, for our staff and editorial board members to discuss their own works-in-progress with each other—because our journal family needs continued mentoring and scholarly support just as our authors do! Managing Editor Erin Kathleen Bahl and Reviews Co-Editor Ashanka Kumari are coordinating this effort.
Monthly publication on our YouTube channel of short videos (~10 minutes apiece) relevant to Kairos specifically, digital publishing more generally, and (when we have time and it's relevant) professionalization in the field more broadly. Senior Editor Doug Eyman and Editors Cheryl Ball and Michael Faris will be taking lead on these, with heavy support from the managing and section editors on specific topics. (A shout-out as well to assistant editors Elena Kalodner-Martin and Nupoor Ranade, who helped us organize our list of mentoring projects into something usable!)

We've wanted to do these projects for years but have been worried about production quality versus timeliness of just 'GTD' and we've opted for making sure folks know that these are mostly one-take videos with some bumpers--and musical accompaniment supplied by our editorial board member/harpist Wendi Sierra!—but that doesn't indicate the production quality of the webtexts we aim to publish. We are opting for more information more quickly than making things as beautiful as they can be, and we hope readers are gracious in their recognition of that. Here are some of the series we plan to introduce:
  • History of Kairos
  • Composing Webtexts (for Different Sections)
  • How to Submit to Kairos
  • Kairos's Peer Review Process
  • Kairos's Copy-editing Process
  • Design-editing Webtexts
  • Accessibility in Webtext Production
  • Licensing and Permissions Issues in Webtexts
  • Revising Webtexts Towards Acceptance
We suspect that each of the above series will contain 6–10 videos, and more in the case of the history of the journal. We want to go as deep as we possibly can, creating a video-based class-like experience that folks can return to over and over, for their own use or use in their classes. Many of these videos will be conceptual, and some will be technical, but we don't want to be too technical and make ourselves outdated before the year ends!

We have no idea how long it will take us to complete these videos, which will be reviewed internally by staff and board members before we publish them on playlists on our YouTube channel and publicize them on social media. We are aiming to publish at least one video a month, although we hope for time to do more, and more than anything, we are REALLY EXCITED to finally get started on this massive project. Look for our first one by March 2021! If you have specific ideas for webinars that you'd like to see us tackle, please let us know on Twitter at @kairosrtp or email us at kairosrtp@gmail.com.