By Aline Dias Camargo
Becoming—and then being—an academic editor is not an easy task. It can be isolating to work alone through a pile of journal articles or a seemingly endless dissertation. If you are interested advancing your skills, advocating for the profession, supporting emerging editors, or connecting with like-minded people, then volunteering might be a good option for you.
In 2022, Editors Canada and the Editorial Freelancers Association launched a new network for academic editors. The Academic Editing Chapter strives to help academic editors to build their professional networks, share information, and discuss pertinent topics. To achieve these goals, we host social events such as coffee chats and book club meetings, as well as professional development events, panel conversations, and advocacy initiatives. As of last count, we have over 700 members!
To support our ongoing work, we’re looking for volunteers to join one or more of our committees: Admin & Communications, Advocacy, Book Club, Education & Training, Programming & Events, and Volunteer Management. We also have an ongoing Diversity, Equity & Belonging initiative that is welcoming new volunteers. To learn more about how you might get involved, please RSVP for our January 17, 2024, volunteer info meeting, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
To learn more about the benefits of volunteering for this chapter, journalism intern Aline Dias Camargo, who works with the Advocacy Committee Chair, Letitia Henville, interviewed members of the Academic Editing Chapter leadership. Here’s what she learned.
For Tess Rankin, volunteering is a great way to expand her network: “Volunteering with the Academic Editing chapter makes freelance editing a bit less solitary by connecting me to other editors and to a professional community. It’s also made me aware of issues and perspectives I would not encounter without this community.”
An expanded network and the opportunity to develop new skills were also mentioned by Jennie Seitz: “I have met many wonderful people through volunteering with the Academic Editing Chapter; my network has increased tenfold, and it’s great to feel part of a team after working alone for many years. I’ve also learned about things I otherwise wouldn’t have come across in my editing work, such as planning and running online events, and using new technology and software. My confidence has grown, and my belief in my abilities and value has also improved. I highly recommend it and thoroughly enjoy it.”
Rees Storm likewise highlighted the professional development benefits of volunteering, noting that “having access to new awareness, knowledge, and practices [and to] the exchange of ideas from motivated, highly skilled, and passionate colleagues” were as beneficial as the “emerging friendships and networking” that she acquired.
For Emily Lam, the sense of belonging really stood out: “I’ve enjoyed the professional development events and have built relationships with a wonderful group of academic editors whom I now consider my colleagues. And of course, one of the benefits of having a network of trusted ‘edibuddies’ is that opportunities have come my way that I otherwise would not have found!”
Book Club Co-chair and Programming and Events Chair Bailey Harrington has been involved with the Academic Editing Chapter since before its official launch: “I was transitioning from my academic career to freelance editing full time and I thought it would be a good way to meet other academic editors and network. It has turned out to be so much more than that! I’ve had the opportunity to build this community from the ground up and create spaces for academic editors to meet and exchange ideas.”
In 2023, members of the chapter were able to meet in person at Editors Canada’s and the EFA’s annual conferences. More networking events like these are expected at future conferences, as well as online through our coffee chats and coworking sessions. Webinars and courses in academic editing are on the horizon as well. The AE Chapter is run solely by volunteers, and the leadership is always looking for new volunteers to support our work. You don’t need to be an experienced academic editor to be involved. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to learn more about the chapter, please RSVP to join us for our volunteer info meeting on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at noon PT / 3pm ET. We’ll send a recording of the event to everyone who RSVPs, in case you can’t attend live. You can also sign up for our monthly mailing list to learn about new events as they are announced.