The Journal of At-Risk Issues – About the Editors

The Need

The lack of specific publications targeting the concerns and interests of researchers and practitioners in the areas of at-risk issues and dropout prevention, prompted the Executive Board of the National Dropout Prevention Network in 1992 to initiate The Journal of At-Risk Issues (JARI). Dr. Ann Reitzammer, Huntingdon College, was the journal’s founding editor. The format of the journal includes articles that are research-based, with both reports of research and practitioner projects. In addition, there are special features in each issue such as statistical or research data and book reviews. The original intent was to publish the journal quarterly each year.

The first volume, consisting of two issues, was published by the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University in the Summer and Fall of 1994. Dr. Reitzammer resigned as editor in 1997 and the Winter/Spring 1997 issue (Vol. 3, No. 2) was the last issue under her guidance. In June of 1997, Dr. Michael D. Richardson, Georgia Southern University, became editor of JARI and new Editorial and National Advisory Boards were established. Through Dr. Richardson’s persistence, JARI was assigned an ISSN and is being abstracted by ERIC.

Dr. Richardson served as editor for the fourth volume, after which Dr. Connie Rhul-Smith and Dr. James Smith from Indiana University South Bend became co-editors of JARI in June 1998.

In the Spring of 2002 a national search was conducted for a new editor for JARI. Upon completion of this search, Dr. Alice Fisher and Dr. Judy Johnson from Sam Houston State University were named co-editors. After Dr. Johnson moved on, Dr. Fisher continued to serve on the editorial staff of JARI. In 2004, Dr. Rebecca Robles-Piña came on as co-editor, becoming editor in 2007 and remaining so through 2016. In 2008, Dr. Greg Hickman of Walden University was chosen as co-editor of JARI. Dr. Hickman became editor in early 2017.


Dr. Greg Hickman

Dr. Greg Hickman, Core Faculty Member at Walden University in the Department of Human Services, served as a referee for The Journal of At-Risk Issues (JARI) from 2004 to 2008 and as an assistant or associate editor from 2008 to 2016 before becoming editor in 2017. Dr. Hickman has won numerous teaching and research awards. His research interests include program evaluation, ed-psych, developmental psychology, family science, and for-profit education. Greg has taught courses related to Methods of Research, Statistics, Assessment, Life Span Development, Adolescent Development, and Civic Leadership. He has served as chair and methodologist on numerous student dissertations.

Dr. Hickman may be contacted directly at

Assistant Editors

Dr. Gary J. Burkholder

 Dr. Gary J. Burkholder is a Vice President for Research with Laureate Education and serves also as Senior Research Scholar and Faculty at Walden University. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a PhD in Experimental Psychology. Dr. Burkholder has served in several faculty and senior administrative roles at Walden University and other institutions. His research focus spans qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research in areas that intersect psychology and public health, including those involving exercise and diet behavior change and adherence; and predictors of substance use, sex risk, and HIV risk among youth and young adults. More recently, Dr. Burkholder’s research interests have involved retention and persistence in tertiary education and online pedagogy. He has expertise as an online teacher and mentoring doctoral dissertation students in an online environment. He is active in the American Public Health Association; serves with the Higher Learning Commission peer review corps; and serves as a reviewer for several professional journals in education, psychology, and public health.


Dr. Dina Pacis

Dr. Dina Pacis is a faculty member and Department Chair for Educational Administration School Counseling and Psychology at National University. Dr. Pacis is a former PK-12 educator who spent almost 20 years as a public school administrator, peer coach/staff developer, and teacher. Her research interests include program evaluation, women in leadership, diversity, and social justice. She has taught courses related to methods of teaching and research, clinical practice for administrators and teachers, supervision of teachers, education law, and curriculum and instruction.