Editorial: Summer changes

Published in August 2018

Abstract

I am currently seeing many kinds of changes around me. The journal recently changed towards becoming more international. HEJLT now has a more international editorial board and welcomes two new international colleagues At HEJLT we are changing our review process somewhat to be better able to help more junior authors to publish their higher education research and practices. This means HEJLT editors now need to be willing to be a coach to authors as well as a reviewer. The articles in our current issue shows a full flow through university education: from student recruitment to a reflection of doctoral dissertations. After summer, feel free to submit the manuscripts you have written over summer for publication in HEJLT. Remember, we are very willing to work with you to get your practices and research published.

Welcome to the second issue of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching of 2017-2018. With this issue, the changes we are making in the journal are becoming more apparent, as they should. And considering these changes, I wondered why all kind of changes are often made related to our summer break. I am currently seeing many kinds of changes around me. Two of my student assistants have finished their masters degrees and will be changing to a proper job after summer. Lucky for me their first proper job will be a few months as a full time research assistant where they can gain more research experience and I will have two wonderful colleagues added. And they couldn’t help that their changes were over summer. They simply ended their studies within the proper time.

There are more changes: a colleague of mine retires and feels the summer period is a nice way to ease out of her working life into her next non-working life. Another colleague has a new job and will stop her current job over summer to start the new one afterwards. And also in politics just before summer seems to be the proper time to make changes – for instance three UK ministers left in July (Fidler & Douglas 2018).

And think about the Dutch minister of foreign affairs who might be resigning quietly over summer after stating he does not know any multicultural country that gets it together (Dutchnews.nl, 2018). Did I already say he is directly responsible for our overseas areas within the kingdom? So many presume he will go away quietly over summer. But why is it that we make these changes more easily over summer?  Why couldn’t we get to similar changes in the first week of March or mid-November?

For academics summer is often seen as the time for all of us to do what we most enjoy: to write and think. And holidays our family takes us to, which we see beforehand as a waste of our expensive time and enjoy massively nonetheless. For non-academics it seems we take much longer holidays than we actually do. Based on our out of office messages which state will be back in September, it seems we have a full summer off, while we actually are writing and thinking.

My out-of-office message provided me with the summertime to write my application for a National Fellowship. And it is not even as illegal as it suggests. I was already put forward by my university, but wouldn’t be as able to put an application together weren’t it for my out-of-office message.

This provides us with the space to only respond to emails we find interesting. I do the same. So the summertime is a wonderful way to be allowed to ignore all things I do not enjoy and spend time on the things I do: writing, thinking, researching, making new plans, while we still get some work done. It has been suggested that these activities are due to academics working harder (Hartley, 2013), but I wonder if that’s the case: it’s the time of year in which we seem most able to create some space. And the early out of office message is also advised as an important tool to start our holiday less stressed (Schouten en Nelissen, 2018).

Summer is also used to do projects we find important but don’t get to during the college year: international travel (Hofman, 2009), or teaching summer school to current (Lopatto, 2010) or new (Strayhorn, 2010) students. Often these extra-curricular programs often a lot of space to teach the content we most prefer, connect more thoroughly to our students and apply teaching methods we cannot easily apply during the college year. However, for several of us it also means we are made to teach over summer where we would have preferred not to do so.

Also at HEJLT we have worked towards making the summer deadline, doing the work that was left for more quiet times. As you know was the journal recently changed towards becoming more international. Additionally, at our home of Oxford Brookes University management changes resulted in a more firm position for HEJLT in the future. Behind the scenes many changes have already put in place. HEJLT now has a more international editorial board with new international colleagues added: dr. Martin Erikson from University of Borås, Sweden and dr. Ana Baptista from Queen Mary who has a wide network in Portugal. So, a warm welcome to Ana and Martin who have already contributed to this issue. We are very happy that your efforts have been added to HEJLT.

Behind the scenes we are changing our review process somewhat to be better able to help more junior authors to publish their higher education research and practices. This means HEJLT editors now need to be willing to be a coach to authors as well as a reviewer. We are still open for a few more new editors from other regions who are interested to expand the opportunities for academics to share their higher education research and practices through international and open access publication.

The articles in our current issue shows a full flow through university education: from student recruitment to a reflection of doctoral dissertations.

The first article by Louise Bunce evaluates the use of Facebook in the recruitment of students in a single cohort. The study shows how students who accepted to become part of a disciplinary Facebook group also more often accepted the university’s offer to study. A survey study showed how students entering the Facebook group thought it was a positive experience, but they already decided to enter that university program beforehand.

Secondly, Poppy Gibson and Sam Coombes present a literature study to find key strategies to support students who are afflicted with imposter syndrome. Their analysis result in five key strategies for support: reflection, feedback/feedforward, talk, support networks and maintaining perspective.

The third article by Adam Lonsdale combines two small pilot studies in a search to find predictors of students’ final year dissertation grades among non-intellectual characteristics such as students’ personality traits and supervisors’ behavior. Although these studies were small scale they imply new variables for future research among larger samples.

The final article in this issue is written by formal doctoral students of Oxford Brookes University. Ross Thompson and Adrian Twissel provide their reflection on their learning journeys during different phases of their doctoral studies. They show through autobiographical narratives what characteristics have led to changes in their goal orientation and their professional identities.

For now we would like to wish you all a wonderful summer. Whether you need to work, are willing to work or celebrate your time off without laptops, enjoy what summer has in store for you. And after summer, feel free to submit the manuscripts you have written over summer for publication in HEJLT. Remember, we are very willing to work with you to get your practices and research published.
All the best,

Didi Griffioen

Associate Editor of HEJLT
Professor of Higher Education, Research & Innovation
Amsterdam UAS

References

Dutchnews.nl. (2018, 18-07-2018). Dutch foreign minister under fire after ‘crude’ multicultural society comments. Retrieved from https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/07/dutch-foreign-minister-under-fire-after-crude-multicultural-society-comments/
Fidler, S., & Douglas, J. (2018). Resignations Over May’s Brexit Plan Throw U.K. Government Into Turmoil. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/boris-johnson-quits-amid-brexit-turmoil-1531131322
Hartley, J. (2013). Are academics working harder than they did before? Or just differently? Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/12/06/are-academics-working-harder/
Hofman, J. (2009). Changing Academic Mobility Patterns and International Migration: What Will Academic Mobility Mean in the 21st Century? Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(3), 347-364.
Lopatto, D. (2010). Undergraduate Research as a High-Impact Student Experience. Peer Review, 12(2), 27-30.
Schouten en Nelissen (2018). Relaxed je werk afronden voor de vakantie: 8 tips [Finish your work more relaxed before going on holiday: 8 tips]. Retrieved from https://www.sn.nl/blog/relaxed-je-werk-afronden-voor-de-vakantie-8-tips/
Strayhorn, T. L. (2010). Bridging the Pipeline: Increasing Underrepresented Students’ Preparation for College Through a Summer Bridge Program. American Behavioral Scientist, 55(2), 142-159.

References

Author profiles

Professor Didi Griffioen

Professor of Higher Education, Research & Innovation at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Dr Didi Griffioen is Professor of Higher Education, Research & Innovation at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and among the trustees of the Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE). Her work intertwines policy development, educational change and high level educational research to improve the quality of Higher Education. She actively creates networks for knowledge building and knowledge exchange on Higher Education at the local, national and international level. Her main focus is on the connection between research, teaching and knowledge development to benefit student learning in Higher Education.