Call for Submissions: Academic Development Towards High-Impact Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (Due January 16, 2017) | Special Issue (early 2018) |International Journal for Academic Development

Academic Development Towards High-Impact Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

Co-edited by Jessie L. Moore and Peter Felten, Center for Engaged Learning, Elon University

Scholars around the globe have demonstrated that undergraduate research and inquiry (UR) significantly improve student learning (e.g., Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014; Brew, 2013; Healey & Jenkins, 2009; Osborne & Karukstis, 2009; Turner, Wuetherick, & Healey, 2008; Huggins, Jenkins, & Scurry, 2007). Like any research in academic disciplines, UR may embody diverse practices and be named differently across both disciplinary and international contexts (Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014). It may take the form of supervised undergraduate theses embedded in degree programs, inquiry projects within individual courses, or stand-alone mentored inquiry experiences.



Nevertheless, UR – in all its forms – contributes to student learning, retention, and engagement (Kuh, 2008), and ethnic minority, first-generation, and low-income students are significantly more likely to graduate if they participate in mentored UR (Brownell & Swaner, 2010; Gregerman, 1999; Locks & Gregerman, 2008). UR also fosters deep learning of critical thinking, effective communication, and complex problem-solving, which are among the most valuable skills undergraduates develop during university studies (Hart Research Associates, 2015). Yet in many university contexts UR disproportionately serves students from advantaged backgrounds, those with high grades, and those with the confidence to pursue selective opportunities (Osborn & Karukstis, 2009).

Kuh and O’Donnell (2013) contend that the deepest engagement in UR occurs when students participate in all aspects of the research process in close working relationships with academic staff. Scholars also have examined academic staff mentors’ roles in supporting student learning in course-embedded UR models (e.g., Healey, Jenkins, & Lea, 2014) and undergraduate theses (e.g., Rowley & Slack, 2004), faculty perceptions about supervising undergraduate theses (e.g., Todd, Smith, & Bannister, 2006), and gendered relationships in undergraduate thesis supervision (Hammick & Acker, 1998). Despite merits of close student-staff collaboration throughout the inquiry process, university practices often distance students from full involvement in university research (Brew, 2006). Perhaps because of this distance, few investigations have focused on the academic staff mentor’s or supervisor’s role in supporting student learning across UR models, what constitutes a productive student-mentor dynamic in UR, or how institutions and academic developers can most effectively cultivate mentored UR. In order to deepen student engagement and expand access to mentored UR, whether as course-embedded inquiry or as a co-curricular activity, the staff mentor/supervisor role must be better understood – and mentoring capacities must be supported and developed in staff across the disciplines, institution types, and national and international contexts.

This special issue examines what higher education knows about high-impact mentoring of UR and how academic developers can help staff prepare for and engage in these mentoring or supervising roles – for undergraduate theses, course-embedded inquiry, and other forms of undergraduate research and inquiry.

This special issue is intended to serve as a central resource for academic developers seeking to support new and continuing staff mentors and supervisors of UR by examining:

  • Key characteristics of mentored/supervised UR that make the experience high-impact for students and/or high-impact for mentors/supervisors
  • Ways that students’ and academic staff mentors’ and supervisors’ identity differences affect the UR mentoring relationship
  • Academic development practices that most effectively foster high-quality mentoring/supervision of UR


  • Manuscripts due January 16, 2017
  • Notification of decisions following IJAD’s peer review process by April 2017
  • Revisions of accepted manuscripts due June 2017
  • Print publication in early 2018 (Volume 23, Issue 1)

IJAD articles are 6,000 words or fewer including the abstract, figures, tables and references. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere.  A guide for authors, Word template, and other relevant information can be found on IJAD’s homepage:

Manuscripts must be submitted online via IJAD’s ScholarOne site by January 16, 2017:

For further information or for queries about this Special Issue, please contact:

bELONg rainbow

Transgender Inclusion in the Classroom

Stacy Jane Grover has a helpful post on Inside Higher Ed today about “Fostering Trans Inclusion in the Classroom.” One tip that’s easy to implement: Add gender pronouns to your email signature to help normalize the practice. I’ve started including a question about them on the student information cards I ask students to submit at the start of each semester, and I state mine (she/her) when I introduce myself to students on the first day of class.

A second tip Grover offers that’s as – if not more – important but perhaps harder to implement: Correct yourself when you make a mistake. The Q Center has an important post by Nash Jones, highlighting that when you misgender someone, you should focus on the needs of the person you misgendered, avoid being defensive, and acknowledge the mistake and move on.

Collie Fulford (North Carolina Central University) and I recently offered a workshop on Affirming LGBTQIA Campus Members. Collie created a resource document that has several helpful links to other recent essays, relevant policies, and campus strategies.

Classroom Pedagogies and Prep Time

In a recent conversation, a friend/colleague made a passing comment about Reacting to the Past appealing to me because the class sessions are somewhat scripted. Indeed, I do like to map things out and anticipate future steps, when possible. Reflecting on his comment, though, I realize that the pedagogy may be deceptive to teachers who haven’t used it before; at it’s core, Reacting might be described as role play of past events, so it’s easy to understand why colleagues might think that Reacting teachers can predict how the lessons will unfold.

In reality, when I teach with Reacting pedagogy, the games never take the same path from semester to semester. Students’ unique dispositions lead them to research different cultural-historical factors, in turn changing how they prepare for specific sessions. One semester a metic might take an active – and unchallenged – role in shaping Athen’s government; another semester, the metic may be too apprehensive about pushing boundaries or more hesitant about public speaking – or may be challenged about the legitimacy of his participation.  One semester the labor faction might quickly establish its centrality in Greenwich Village, while in another semester, the suffragists might organize more quickly to sway the indeterminate villagers.

As a result, Reacting is the most time-intensive pedagogy I use in the classroom. Students email to ask about implementing new strategies that aren’t covered in game books and role sheets; they stop by office hours to request feedback on speeches and writing assignments; and they often extend the game beyond class spaces and hours. As a result, my teaching prep time also expands, sometimes exponentially.

My students’ learning outcomes make the time and energy investment worthwhile, but I do limit myself to only one or two reacting games a semester in order to balance teaching activities with other career responsibilities. My colleague’s comment reminds me, though, that as academic developers work with faculty to identify appropriate pedagogies to support desired learning outcomes, we must be transparent and upfront about the hidden time commitments of high-impact pedagogies. Helping faculty anticipate the “costs” associated with using these teaching techniques may lead to implementing them in more sustainable ways.