Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Policies & Procedures


Philosophy of Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

For more information, please see Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges Aims and Scope page.

As potential contributors develop ideas for submissions to Inquiry, the following list provides helpful guidance. Considering these questions will help the academic writer in crafting an article that appeals to the VCCS audience and that targets issues and concerns relevant for the journal:

  • Is this article relevant to the Virginia Community College System?
  • Will the article be of interest or relevance to an audience of community college faculty and/or administrators?
  • At the very least, will this article be interesting and relevant for individuals within common or similar disciplines?
  • Does this topic have cross-disciplinary appeal, or how might the discussion be developed to highlight cross-disciplinary relevance?
  • Is this article relevant to student learning?
  • Will the reader walk away from this article with meaningful knowledge of the subject matter?
  • Is the article of an appropriate length?The recommended length for full-length articles is between 3000 – 5000 words.
  • Does the article rely too much on literature review? Such documentation adds authority, but a heavy emphasis on literature review detracts from the development of original content. A graduate studies paper should be extensively revised to be publication-ready.
  • Is the article presenting research grant results? If so, format the content appropriately by presenting the problem, study, results, and implications/discussions, with a strong emphasis on discussion of the problem and implications.
  • Does the article include enough examples to support and develop its topic?
  • Is the article useful and applicable to its readers?
  • Is the article free of jargon, and does it effectively explain and elaborate its statistical content?
  • Is the writing clear, professional, appealing, and comprehensible?

As of 2022, Inquiry practices a collaborative peer review process in which assigned reviewers will work closely with authors to ensure submissions that meet our Aims and Scope are strengthened to our standards for publication. Rather than reject manuscript submissions, we will engage in conversation with authors to help works best reach our target audience; this might include revisions and further development that meets the criteria used by the editorial board. Submissions that are not suited for Inquiry will be guided to journals that might be a better fit.

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Who Can Submit?

Inquiry welcomes contributions from VCCS faculty and staff, and from other higher education professionals whose research and scholarship focus on issues of relevance and concern for the students, faculty, and administrators of community colleges.

Anyone may submit an original article to be considered for publication in Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges provided he or she owns the copyright to the work being submitted or is authorized by the copyright owner or owners to submit the article. Authors are the initial owners of the copyrights to their works (an exception in the non-academic world to this might exist if the authors have, as a condition of employment, agreed to transfer copyright to their employer).

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Student Cover Art

Inquiry invites current VCCS community college students to submit their best artwork for possible publication as the front cover of Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges. This call for submissions is open to all current Virginia Community College System students. Artwork may be photographs, drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, and printmaking. All initial submissions should be in the form of high-quality digital images.

  • Artwork must be original, previously unpublished, and created by a student enrolled in a Virginia community college.
  • A student may submit up to three images for consideration.
  • Photographs, drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, print making, and digital images are welcome.
  • High-quality images should be submitted electronically.

To submit your art, please e-mail Thomas Geary, Ph.D., Inquiry Managing Editor.

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Criteria Used by the Editorial Board

Submissions to Inquiry are reviewed on the following criteria. Contributors should consider the criteria as they develop ideas and content for their articles:

Significance of the Subject Matter
Does the article focus on a topic or concern that is relevant, timely, or of value to the faculty and/or staff of the Virginia Community College System? Does the article appropriately and effectively highlight the significance and value of its topic?

Is this article appropriate for Inquiry and its audience? Does it emphasize, support, clarify, or evaluate an issue that is of interest or relevance to those who teach or serve as administrators within the VCCS? Does the article provide good value for its direct audience?

Clear Presentation
Does the article present its subject matter in a clear and effective manner? Does it appropriately convey its research, findings, and recommendations within a discussion that is accessible to a broad audience? Is the article deliver its content in a well-structured and professional manner?

Quality of Writing
Does the article adhere to the qualities of professional and academic writing? Is it free of jargon and written for the higher education audience? Does the article reflect care and attention to its writing?

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General Submission Rules

Submitted articles cannot have been previously published, nor be forthcoming in an archival journal or book (print or electronic). Please note: "publication" in a working-paper series does not constitute prior publication. In addition, by submitting material to Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges, the author is stipulating that the material is not currently under review at another journal (electronic or print) and that he or she will not submit the material to another journal (electronic or print) until the completion of the editorial decision process at Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges. If you have concerns about the submission terms. please contact Thomas Geary, Ph.D., Inquiry Managing Editor.

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Formatting Requirements

  • Articles should be written in clear and jargon-free English, with a general audience of community college educators, administrators, and staff in mind. All submissions should reflect the standard practices of written, professional English.
  • Please identify all images, figures, tables, graphs, and so forth clearly within the manuscript.
  • Documentation of source materials should follow APA style conventions.
  • Authors are responsible for obtaining copyright permissions for inclusion of any materials from external sources that are heavily quoted (300 words or more).
  • Full-length articles should maintain an objective tone and avoid references to college personnel by name. “Notes in Brief” essays which focus directly upon institutional efforts may make reference to individuals involved in the highlighted projects, if such reference is necessary and if permission is granted.

Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges has no general rules about the formatting of articles upon initial submission. There are, however, rules governing the formatting of the final submission. See Final Manuscript Preparation Guidelines for details. Although bepress can provide limited technical support, it is ultimately the responsibility of the author to produce an electronic version of the article as a high-quality PDF (Adobe's Portable Document Format) file, or a Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or RTF file that can be converted to a PDF file.

It is understood that the current state of technology of Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) is such that there are no, and can be no, guarantees that documents in PDF will work perfectly with all possible hardware and software configurations that readers may have.

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Rights for Authors and Digital Commons @ VCCS

The Author has the following nonexclusive rights: (1) to use the manuscript in the Author's teaching activities; (2) to publish the manuscript, or permit its publication, as part of any book the Author may write; (3) to include the electronic link of the published manuscript in the Author's own personal, departmental, institutional, or on-line site; and (4) to license reprints of the manuscript to third persons for educational photocopying. The Author also agrees to properly credit Inquiry as the original place of publication.

As further described in our submission agreement (the Submission Agreement), in consideration for publication of the article, the authors assign to Digital Commons @ VCCS all copyright in the article, subject to the expansive personal--use exceptions described below.

The author(s) retain the right to grant their article a Creative Commons (CC-BY 4.0) license. For more information, regarding Creative Commons licensing and how to receive this designation, please contact the Managing Editor.

Attribution and Usage Policies

Reproduction, posting, transmission or other distribution or use of the article or any material therein, in any medium as permitted by a personal-use exemption or by written agreement of Digital Commons @ VCCS, requires credit to Digital Commons @ VCCS as copyright holder (e.g., Digital Commons @ VCCS © 2024).

Personal-use Exceptions

The following uses are always permitted to the author(s) and do not require further permission from Digital Commons @ VCCS provided the author does not alter the format or content of the articles, including the copyright notification:

  • Storage and back-up of the article on the author's computer(s) and digital media (e.g., diskettes, back-up servers, Zip disks, etc.), provided that the article stored on these computers and media is not readily accessible by persons other than the author(s);
  • Posting of the article on the author(s) personal website, provided that the website is non-commercial;
  • Posting of the article on the internet as part of a non-commercial open access institutional repository or other non-commercial open access publication site affiliated with the author(s)'s place of employment (e.g., a Phrenology professor at the University of Southern North Dakota can have her article appear in the University of Southern North Dakota's Department of Phrenology online publication series); and
  • Posting of the article on a non-commercial course website for a course being taught by the author at the university or college employing the author.

People seeking an exception, or who have questions about use, should contact the editors.

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General Terms and Conditions of Use

Users of the Digital Commons @ VCCS website and/or software agree not to misuse the Digital Commons @ VCCS service or software in any way.

The failure of Digital Commons @ VCCS to exercise or enforce any right or provision in the policies or the Submission Agreement does not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any term of the Submission Agreement or these policies is found to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the Submission Agreement and these policies remain in full force and effect. These policies and the Submission Agreement constitute the entire agreement between Digital Commons @ VCCS and the Author(s) regarding submission of the Article.

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