3 min read

Staff Longevity & Turnover

Kairos Editor Cheryl Ball talks about joining the journal as a "try it out" experience, with no clear expectations for longevity. The journal's hiring process now asks staff members to stay for a 2-year stint, with an outlet for those who want to continue or need to leave.
Staff Longevity & Turnover
Some of the 2023 Kairos staff goofing off during a December 2023 virtual staff meeting in Teams (Top row L-R: Elkie Burnside, Cheryl Ball; 2nd row: Rich Shiviner, Doug Eyman, Michael Faris; 3rd row: Ashanka Kumari, Erin Kathleen Kahl; Bottom row: Tim Amidon, Elizabeth Fleitz)

Nupoor Ranade interviews editor Cheryl Ball about her longevity as an editor and staff turn-over. This video features Beau, Cheryl's orange chonk-cat, who wanted to say a rare hello.

We had planned on writing a brief note indicating that Cheryl's beloved grumpy cat, Beau—who insisted on making a rare appearance in this video—passed in July 2021. We didn't plan on needing to note the sudden passing of Gail Hawisher on December 7, 2023. Gail is mentioned by her first name only in this video (filmed over two years ago) because even though she had retired from academia at that point, Gail [and her compatriot, Cindy Selfe] were first-name types of scholars for everyone they met. The two of them were the matriarchs of the field of computers and writing (and digital writing studies, digital rhetoric, or whatever name you want to call it by now...). We honor Gail's memory and hope that the legacy of mentoring she instilled in so many scholars within Kairos's community remains strong.



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Nupoor Ranade, Cheryl Ball

Nupoor Ranade  00:05

Oh, when you have thought of joining Kairos, or Cheryl, when you were asked or whether you want to contribute, what was the commitment that you thought you were looking at? What, were you thinking of a few years? Or, did  you know that it's gonna just go on forever? Because I think I think that's a good thing to think about for especially new editors, you know, who are joining in and, you know, what can, what can, what should they be thinking about?

Cheryl Ball  00:33

Yeah, that's a great question. No, we had no idea. I had no idea what I was getting into. And certainly, I mean, when I joined the journal was only five years old. So I had no sense of how long it was going to run. I knew at the time that editors like, I worked with Marilyn Cooper when I was at Michigan Tech. And she was doing her three-year stint with, three- or four-year stint with CCCs. And but I also had Cindy Selfe as a model who was editor for life of Computers and Composition, right? Until she and Gail [Hawisher] knew they were retiring, and, and Kris Blair got the job. So they were models for people doing it for a very long time, Kris running C&C Online and Peg Syverson before her. But, but no, I had, I was just like, oh, let me try this out. And then when I realized that it was like, Oh, I can stay if I what, it was, I was like, okay, then I need to start doing, I need to make sure that I'm doing good things for the for the journal all all along.

Cheryl Ball  01:37

But it also helped me realize as we started an official training, hiring and training and mentoring program for the staff, that we needed to give them an out, if they needed it. And so we started saying, Okay, we're going to hire you for a two-year stint. And then it's up to you to determine whether you want to keep going or not. Right. So it also gives us an out on the rare, rare, rare case that somebody is just not working out, not doing the work, not meeting deadlines, that kind of thing.

Cheryl Ball  02:07

But yeah, if you look around the staff right now, we have some long timers here, and the folks who can't or aren't able to continue for whatever reason, they're usually gone within two to three years, sometimes quicker. And that's okay.