Welcome once again to ACM Inroads, ACM's computing education magazine.
In the 2013 June issue, I published the ACM Inroads "Future Directions" report that charts a roadmap for the ACM Inroads magazine. This report is somewhat of a blueprint on how the magazine might evolve as it strives for excellence in computing education. In the same issue, two other documents appeared on "Author Instructions" in both brief and in detailed form. These three documents have already contributed to the development of a stronger magazine for the computing community.
Regarding the "Future Directions" report, its presence has led to new movements for the magazine. New task groups are emerging, one of which is to refine the process and understanding of the magazine content. For example, some authors still consider ACM Inroads as a venue for research papers. In some isolated cases, even reviewers pass judgment on articles as if they were reviewing a research paper. These perceptions are false because ACM Inroads is a magazine, not a journal; ACM Inroads publishes magazine articles, not research papers. The Reviewer Scorecard, available to authors and reviewers, has helped to mitigate such anomalies. The newly formed task group will address these and related situations regarding the context of the magazine.
Another aspect of the "Future Directions" task group is the phasing out and the phasing in of individuals on the Inroads team. The ACM Publications Board has rules to which the editors-in-chief of its magazines must abide. For example, an editor-in-chief may appoint his or her own associate editors and editorial advisory board and has one three-year term, only once renewable. (My renewable term will expire in 2015.) In an effort to involve more people with the magazine, several individuals are looking into the manner in which associate editors and members of the editorial advisory board would phase-out and others phase-in to allow continuity and smooth transitions when future editors-in-chief operate the magazine. Some of these transitions are already starting to occur.
As you probably know, the submission of manuscripts must now follow clear formatting guidelines. These guidelines appear on the ACM Inroads ScholarOne Manuscript Central site under Resources and in the recent June issue. In this September issue of ACM Inroads appears a special section that contains a template on the manner in which an author should/must submit a manuscript. The template also contains within it the details of writing style and form, which complement the "Author Instructions" already mentioned. It is critical that all submissions follow the elements of the template and failure to do so will result in a return of manuscript, thus delaying the process. That said, the editorial staff thanks the many authors who have already complied with this request. It has made the editorial process much more manageable and the final product that much better.
I usually do not endorse specific articles that appear in the magazine. However, I alert you to two endeavors. The first appears in a special section that contains an ACM report on Non-Doctoral-Granting Departments in Computing (NDC) programs. This ACM effort deserves a read. It is an extension of the prior efforts on the two "Taulbee for the Rest of Us" (TauRUs) reports (one by Michael Goldweber and the other by Jodi Tims and Susan Williams), published in earlier issues of this magazine. The second article is a critical perspective from the United States Naval Academy on the development of a cybersecurity course for first-year students. You should find this article an interesting read.
Once again, we are grateful to all authors who contribute to the magazine. Feel free to contact these dedicated individuals who present their views on a variety of topics. Their efforts help make this magazine an outstanding publication.
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