Nora Wendl, an associate professor from The University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, was recently named executive editor of the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE).
“I was honored to have been chosen for this position. I believe that I’m the fourth woman to be executive editor in the journal’s 75 years of continuous publication,” Wendl said.
According to JAE’s website, the journal “is a biannual, peer-reviewed academic journal that has been the primary venue for research and commentary on architectural education since it was founded in 1947, making it the oldest, continuously operating journal of its kind.”
Wendl said she had been on the JAE’s editorial board from 2014 to 2017 and worked with the previous executive editor, Marc Neveu.
“I’d learned a lot about how the journal worked, had published in it myself, and was an avid reader. I think all of this informed my application for the position in January 2020,” Wendl said.
Last year, Wendl went through several rounds of interviews centered on many situations that an executive editor has to consider and lead through–from setting an editorial vision to approaches on how a journal with a long academic history should respond to the contemporary moment.
“This new role entails setting an editorial vision for this journal and overseeing the peer-review process for the kinds of scholarship that appear in the journal,” she said. “To do this requires working closely with a series of associate editors and theme editors for each issue, and an editorial board that helps me steer the journal’s current and future endeavors and come up with new initiatives to reach new audiences, while overseeing the production of two issues per year.”
Wendl said publishing is changing dramatically, and journals aren’t neutral or static repositories of information. Rather they are intended to be dynamic platforms, which she aims to further as editor.
“Since the JAE is the primary venue for research and commentary on architectural education, we have a huge responsibility to architectural educators. This means finding ways to structurally support educators with opportunities for advancement, to support and enhance their research in all forms of scholarship, and to make it as accessible as possible,” she said. “I’m planning on retaining the same excellent reputation that JAE has for peer review scholarship. I’m fortunate to be able to work with a new design editor, Ozayr Saloojee, and with our parent organization to increase opportunities to create structural support and publishing opportunities for authors, designers, and educators who have been historically and systemically excluded on the basis of race, gender, and identity. I am also working with our reviews editor, David Theodore, to find ways to support junior faculty who are writing exhibition reviews for us that are not in major cities.”
Wendl said she is also working closely with their parent organization to make plans to translate the journal into a social media context– “focusing not just on the scholarly content, but the critical discourses around it, and engaging with authors and readers in real-time online events, readings, and interviews.”
With regard to her new role as editor, Wendl said it feels like home.
“I’ve engaged the journal as a reader, an author, an editorial board member, and to now be able to help steer it for the next few years with an incredible team of colleagues, editors, editorial board members, and partners at ACSA and JAE is a dream come true,” she said. “My UNM colleague and good friend Professor Aaron Cayer has reminded me many times that no matter how daunting the task, we’re never alone, we always have a team to work with, and it’s very true. I feel enormous excitement and gratitude for the team at JAE.”
Additionally, Wendl said she has a major research project on view.
“It’s an exhibition that I contributed to titled Edith Farnsworth, Reconsidered, and it is on view at the Farnsworth House, a modern glass-and-steel house designed for Dr. Edith Farnsworth by architect Mies van der Rohe… The exhibition reveals the house as Dr. Edith Farnsworth lived in it for a brief period of time during her lawsuit with the architect.”