Since this is the last volume of Dialogues for which I will serve as Editor, there are many contributions I would like to acknowledge. First, I would like to thank Dr. Kurt Spellmeyer, Director of the Rutgers Writing Program, for designing the research writing courses, Research in the Disciplines and College Writing and Research, that produced the intelligent and provocative essays that have appeared in the six volumes of Dialogues, and for his continuing support and encouragement. Additionally, without the vision of Dr. Michael Cripps, the Founding Editor of the journal, the excellent work of the instructors and students in the research courses would not have had an ongoing forum for their work.

We have been increasingly fortunate over the past four years in both the quantity and quality of the submissions. In 2004, we received sixty submissions for Volume 3, and in 2007, one hundred and thirty for Volume 6, a testimony to the strong interest among both instructors and student writers. Our thanks go to all of the students who submitted their work to the journal this year; we received many strong research essays and wish we could have published more of them. The support of the instructors who teach the skills of research writing, inspire their students to undertake original and exciting projects, and encourage their students to submit them to Dialogues is vital to the journal, and we thank all of the instructors for their work and participation. This year, the essays in the volume were written by the students of Tisha Bender, Jason Dubow, Liz Gardner, Roberta Glassner, Karen Gosselink, Alia Hanna, Jim Nevius, Jason Spiegel-Grote, Sunny Stalter, and Kathy Wilford; however, all of the instructors have been loyal and much-valued contributors over the years.

The research courses are organized around a series of timely topics, and the essays in this volume demonstrate the wide scope that these topics afford the student for developing intellectually-ambitious projects. Prizes are awarded every year for Best Essay and Distinguished Essay; this year, the Best Essay Prize went to “Eating Foss l Fuel,” a provocative warning concerning the dangers of our oil-dependent agricultural practices, written by Matthew Sileo in Tisha Bender’s “Environment and Natural Resources.” Distinguished Essay Awards went to “Beatrix Kiddo: Popular Culture’s Deadliest Super-Mom” by Amanda Davis from Jim Nevius’ “Popular Culture,” and to “Rude Boy Style: Moving Ska into the Postnational World” by Nicholas Stambuli from Karen Gosselink’s “Ethnic Identities.” “Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Privacy, Choice, and Rights of the Patient” by Jessica Dunn was written viii in Roberta Glassner’s “Justice and the Law,” and Julie Lee’s timely essay “North Korea: Megalomania, Genocide, and Propaganda” for Sunny Stalter’s “Violence, Social Conflict and War.” Alia Hanna’s section of “The Family” inspired Alan Lu’s“China's One-Child Policy and the Matrilineal Alternative,” and “A Neglected Culture: How Cochlear Implants Affect Deaf Children’s Self-Esteem” by Tingting Gao was written for Jason Speigel-Grote’s “Science, Medicine, and Society.” Two essays, “Ayurvedic Medicine: Effective for Five Thousand Years” by Puja D. Patel and Jessica Volpe’s “Psychic Mediums and Communication with the Dead” represent“Spirituality and Belief,” and from “Popular Culture,” “Poker Fans Go All-In: From Spectator to Fan to Player” by Nestor Manikad. “Media and Society, designed by Kathy Wilford, supplied “Information as Commodity: What Happens When News Value is Preceded by a Dollar Sign” by Ian Maier, and Elizabeth Gardner’s “Music and Culture” produced “The Death of Punk: Reincarnation of a ‘Dead’ Genre” by Leila El Bashir. “Constructing a Middle Ground between Illusion and Reality: The Underestimated and Dismissed Power of Negative Thinking” by Matt Colombo, and“Phantom Limb Phenomenon: The Expectation Factor of Sensation” by Sandra Moorhouse were written for the Special Topic course, “The Human Mind.” The essays in this volume are perhaps the most widely representative of the research courses of any volume so far, and provide a powerful demonstration of the strengths of the students and instructors of the Writing Program.

Important work on this volume was done by the editors who read and selected the essays, suggested revisions, and wrote commentary on the essays they edited. Thanks to Courtney Borack, Cherai Daniels, David Johnston, Annat Katz, Holly Lewis, Lindsay Minton, Greta Nelson, Puja Patel, Joseph Stosko, Liz Varall, Bruce Walsh, and Victoria Whitfield. These skillful young editors were trained as tutors by Donald Dow, Karen Kalteissen, and Heather Robinson, Directors of the Writing Centers at Livingston, Douglass, and Plangere. Tracy Budd and Karen Kalteissen served as Associate Editors, chairing editorial groups and providing valuable assistance. Special thanks to Emma Rumen and Irina Kozina on Livingston, Judy Karwowski, Gale Nadonley, Zelda Ralph, Carol Spry, and Jessica Hedges on College Avenue, and to Douglas Piccinnini for his cover design. Their contributions are very much appreciated.

Skiles Howard
Piscataway, New Jersey
MAY 24, 2007