A comprehensive history of Tahoma West has never been kept--it exists only in the memories of longstanding UW Tacoma community members, file cabinets of old paperwork, and the books themselves. We are currently reviewing our archival materials in order to craft a fuller narrative of the journal's quarter-century history. If you have information that can assist us, please contact staff adviser Daniel Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAHOMA WEST was founded in 1996 under the direction of IAS faculty lecturer John Peterson. The first issue was released in spring 1997, and coincided with the opening of the permanent campus of the University of Washington Tacoma, which had previously operated out of rented office space.
The journal received a National Program Directors’ Prize for Undergraduate Literary Magazines in 2001 and 2002 by The Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
Tahoma West has had many formats over the years. The first issues were thin, staple-bound booklets. These were succeeded by larger square-format paperbacks, which remained the format of choice until 2012, when the book converted to a trade paperback size. The 25th volume, released in spring 2021, supplemented its print edition with an ebook edition in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This was the first e-reader compatible version of the book, though PDFs of Tahoma West have long been archived in the UW Tacoma Digital Commons.
The coronavirus pandemic, which began in early 2020 and is still ongoing as of this writing, affected the 24th and 25th volumes of Tahoma West. UW's announcement in March 2020 that operations would move online coincided with the production of Volume 24, forcing staff to scramble as they figured out how to organize and discuss submissions in Google Drive, and remotely access university computers with necessary Adobe programs.
The editorial staff for Volume 25 were even more constrained--in fact, they never met in person. The entirely remote 2020-2021 school year meant that the staff--two of whom were entirely new to the journal--held all their meetings and events online, managed submissions through an entirely web-based file system, and built the pages of the journal in individual sections that were created separately and had to be stitched together at the end of the process. Both sets of editorial staff performed admirably under adverse circumstances, and some of the innovations they developed under emergency were adopted as best practices for future volumes of Tahoma West.
In addition to John Peterson, past faculty advisers have included Dr. Phillip Heldrich, Michael Kula, and Ever Jones. In the early 2010s, the journal gained additional oversight from Niki Reading, the adviser of the Ledger student newspaper. In 2014, Tahoma West's budget was combined with the Ledger's into a new Student Publications program overseen by the Center for Student Involvement. Staff advisers have included Reading, Elizabeth Hansen, and Daniel Nash.