Ed Janak (2008-09)
The 2008-09 Garland Fellowship allowed Ed Janak to complete the manuscript of a book based on his doctoral dissertation, a biography of former South Carolina school superintendent John Swearingen. Janak, associate professor of educational studies, used funds from the fellowship to return to Swearingen’s home state to continue exploring archived sources to which he lacked time to access while a graduate student. Swearingen’s story is a fascinating one to Janak, an educational historian. A champion of desegregation and equalized funding, the son of a conservative family served during a time of rampant racism in the South (the turn of the 20th century). Uncovering the political straight shooter’s story has been particularly challenging, since many of his official papers have been lost or destroyed. Janak constructed his biography from a variety of sources, including interviews with Swearingen’s son and content analysis of annual reports produced during his tenure. As a result of this follow-through, Janak produced a book manuscript (currently under revision with a commercial press), three peer-reviewed journal articles in print, and one national conference presentation. In addition to allowing Janak to complete his book manuscript, the Garland Fellowship helped him begin gathering oral histories of rural school teachers. The database developed out of this, “Not Just a Teacher,” can be found here. Engaging education students and the community at large in identifying subjects and recording interviews is a goal; to this end, students and community members interested in contributing are welcome to contact Dr. Janak for details on getting a veteran teacher’s story recorded and shared. In addition to the online repository, Janak’s work on establishing this oral history repository resulted in two national conference presentations, one published peer-reviewed journal article, and two co-authored journal articles submitted and under revision.