Augustana: international hub of academic research
Posted on December 8, 2014 by Christopher Thrall
Augustana is now home to four international academic journals, including one on teaching and learning.
For the next two years, an Augustana faculty team has been selected to take over the editorial responsibilities for an international academic journal which publishes research on teaching and learning methodologies.
The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education selected our team – including Neil Haave, Janet Wesselius and Roxanne Harde – to manage Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching (CELT). They are joined by Michael MacKinnon (University of Winnipeg), John Plews (St. Mary’s University) and Geneviève Boulet (Mount St. Vincent University).
“We’re so pleased to have CELT here at Augustana,” says Associate Dean of Teaching and Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Janet Wesselius. “Neil and Roxanne and I have had ongoing discussions on teaching and pedagogy for a number of years. Now we get to share those discussions more widely.”
“The journal is about the scholarship of teaching and learning,” explains Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Haave. “Having that editorship here will help raise the profile of how seriously we take teaching and learning here at Augustana.”
The study of teaching and learning is practical. It asks what enables students to learn best and retain what they learn. How do students become active and engaged in their own learning? What teaching practices help enable that engagement? CELT is a platform for asking and answering these questions.
“This is applied research,” says Haave, “so the paper must be credible. But it must also be accessible – readable by the instructor on the front lines. And it has to be usable.” He believes that the new editorial team will enhance CELT by focusing on papers that are based on both sound research and reflective practice, readable by people who are not experts in education research, and with conclusions that can be applied to the classroom.
Scholarly journals disseminate research to people in the field. Editors send out calls for papers, manage peer reviews for those papers, and do final copy reviews.
“We will also be asking our colleagues here at Augustana to engage in peer review,” says Haave, “which is another way to spread this information. For so long, Augustana has prided itself on excellent teaching. That is still our priority, but we are also reaching out to ask what is happening elsewhere.”
“This is a feather in their cap,” says Dean Allen Berger, “and it helps position Augustana and the University of Alberta in an international leadership position in discussing innovative teaching and learning at the university level.” Berger announced that the team secured a University of Alberta grant to help support their editing role.
Augustana’s international role and reputation in research publications is not limited to CELT, however.
Dr. Roxanne Harde, Associate Dean of Research and Professor of English at Augustana, is finishing a three-year term as editor of Bookbird, an International Journal of Children’s Literature, and has just published the first issue of BOSS – an online journal focused on research about Bruce Springsteen’s oeuvre. Associate Professor of Political Studies Dr. Sandra Rein has recently been selected to edit the Journal of Socialist Studies, which disseminates articles that describe and analyse social, economic and political injustice and liberation.
Furthermore, Harde and Rein have hired students to work with them on their journals. Harde believes that all of these journals represent opportunities for undergraduate research – and could attract graduate students to the University of Alberta to work on them.
“We talk about journals being housed where the editor is,” says Harde. “In terms of research, we have become the little campus that could.”
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