Oregon English Journal

Oregon English Journal (OEJ) is the award-winning publication of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English (OCTE), the state’s professional association for teachers of English language arts from kindergarten through college.

The journal, published twice yearly, was conceived by Robert Hamm, a West Linn teacher on the OCTE Executive Board, and the first issue was launched in 1979 under his editorship. The aim of the journal was to provide a lively forum for English language arts teachers to share ideas about current issues and practices with colleagues in Oregon and around the nation. From its inception, the journal included classroom accounts, teaching suggestions, literary essays, research reports, advocacy articles, interviews, book reviews, poetry, and fiction. A volunteer board of Oregon teachers and writers reviews all submissions in a double-blind evaluation process.

Many Oregon writers have contributed to the Oregon English Journal, including Oregon poets laureate William Stafford, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Paulann Petersen and award-winning authors Ursula K. LeGuin, Robin Cody, Virginia Euwer Wolff, Eric Kimmel, Ingrid Wendt, Kim Stafford, Molly Gloss, Mary Barnard, and Primus St. John. Notable photographers and artists have contributed cover images, and nationally prominent educators have submitted articles. Working Oregon teachers produce the vast majority of text and images in the journal, and Oregon high school artists create many of the covers. All writers, artists, and editorial staff work gratis. As founding editor Hamm cheekily noted in 2004: “We pay handsomely…two copies of the publication. No money. Just glory.”

Hamm was editor for the journal's first five years of publication. Oregon State University English professor Dennis Evans took over in 1984, succeeded by Lakeridge High School teacher Michael Wendt, who steered the editorial helm from 1985 to 1988. Since 1988, Portland State University English educator Ulrich Hardt has served as OEJ editor. During his tenure, a few issues have been guest-edited by working teachers, including elementary specialist Daune Spritzer and Portland Community College teacher Joe Fitzgibbon.

Under Hardt’s leadership, the OEJ began to feature annual themed issues. Some have been local in nature (e.g., on the literature of Oregon, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and authors Beverly Cleary and Walt Morey), some have focused on teaching concerns (e.g., working with talented and gifted students, conventions of writing, and poetry), and some have examined more topical matters (e.g., ecological literacy, the challenges of teaching in times of war and recession, and literature that crosses borders). As of 2012, twenty-five of the annual themed issues had been selected by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for promotion and distribution. A 1988 issue on whole language was a best seller for NCTE.

In 2011, Oregon English Journal won the annual NCTE award for the best affiliate professional journal in the United States, specifically for the issue on “New Uses of Technology in Schools.” Copies of the journal are mailed free to all members of OCTE, and individual issues are available for purchase.


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Further Reading

Hamm, Robert L., et al. “Reflections of Past Editors.” Oregon English Journal 26:1 (Spring 2004): 6-11.

Hardt, Ulrich H. “Editorial.” Oregon English Journal 26:1 (Spring 2004): 3-6.

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This entry was last updated on March 17, 2018