NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Department of Human Services and the Center for Digital Scholarship at Stephen F. Austin State University recently published the first edition of the Journal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice.

This online, peer-reviewed journal publishes reviews and articles based on research, theory development, case studies, and program and intervention applications.

The journal's mission is to provide practitioners and educators with a forum to report data that substantiate current practices or raise questions about mainstream thinking and practices in education and service delivery within disciplines specifically related to human services.

Dr. Robbie Steward, chair of the Department of Human Services at SFA and the journal's executive editor, began working on the project in 2014.

"One goal I have maintained is facilitating not only faculty members' engagement in research and scholarship, but also providing guidance in encouraging undergraduate, graduate and doctoral student participation," Steward said. "The journal offers a nice balance because it keeps students interested in research and encourages them to collaborate with faculty members in the research process."

The first issue featured five articles with topics ranging from social work to system changes in education. SFA students from the visual impairment and school psychology programs served as co-authors on three of the published articles. To view the journal, visit

"The journal provides another forum for students and faculty members to enhance their professional development and it gives them an opportunity to add to the literature related to their specific disciplines," Steward said. 

The journal's multidisciplinary nature allows for the consideration of a range of manuscript types. Also, the educational and comprehensive feedback distinguishes it from many other publications.

"Our review process has an educational component beyond the typical accept, reject or revise outcome. All authors receive detailed and comprehensive feedback from discipline-associated editorial board members regarding how to strengthen the submitted manuscript regardless of the final decision," Steward said.

The journal's editorial board is comprised of professionals experienced in various human service-related disciplines from many locations, including South Korea, New Hampshire, Michigan, Georgia and Florida.

"The diversity of the editorial board enhances the journal's quality and validates the source of the feedback and investment of the editorial board members. This special attention to each manuscript is provided as an educational component for students and faculty members who are beginning their careers as academicians," Steward said. 

The journal will be published twice a year with special issues approved by the editorial board. Students and faculty members working in any field can submit articles to the journal for review.

Steward believes the research opportunities and experience this journal will afford students will be valuable for their careers. 

"School is not just about course enrollment and degree completion; it's about preparing for a career," Steward said. "Publications and presentations at conferences will help distinguish SFA students from others because these added experiences document our students not only know what they are doing and the reasons for their practices, but also are familiar with the literature and the process of inquiry and critical thinking within their disciplines."

For more information, contact Steward at