The Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management (JHEPM) is an international journal of professional experience and ideas in higher education. It is a must-read for those seeking to influence higher educational policymaking. The journal also aims to be of use to managers and senior academic staff who seek to place their work and interests in a broad context and influence educational policy and practice.
The journal is published in February, April, June, August, October and December each year and is produced under the guidance of editors, Peter Bentley (Editor-in-Chief) and Carroll Graham (Associate Editor).
The journal is jointly published by the Melbourne CSHE and ATEM.
Welcome to our third issue of 2022. This follows our Special Issue on ‘Tertiary Education Advances in Pacific Island Nations’ guest-edited by Unaisi Walu Nabobo Baba and Jeanette Baird. Many thanks to the guest editors, authors, reviewers and contributors who made this important collection of research possible. Our next Special Issue will be from the student capstone projects for The University of Melbourne’s and LH Martin Institute’s Master in Tertiary Education Management.
This current issue brings together five articles informing university and higher education policy on student success, along with a book review also on this topic. We start with a systematic review article by Narelle Eather and colleagues on programs targeting student retention, success, satisfaction and experience. They specifically focus on quantitative studies and the need to move beyond the common observational and crosssectional studies that carry strong risks of bias.
Institutional policies supporting student success are also part of institutional accountability processes. Student preparedness in mathematical and statistical skills has been a long-term concern of the English government. Tony Croft, Michael Grove and Duncan Lawson review the wide range of institutional policies currently in place to support mathematics education, as contained in regulatory documents.
In addition to numeracy, literacy and critical thinking, university graduates are also expected to be digitally literate. Ashlee Morgan, Ruth Sibson and Denise Jackson provide a tridimensional conceptual framework and definition of digital literacy (technical, cognitive and etiquette), as well as baseline self-perception data on digital literacy proficiency at an Australian university.
Universities support teaching enhancement through multiple ways, including centralised teaching and learning centres, and decentralised support within academic departments. Occasionally universities also establish institutional-wide programs and participate in larger scale cross-institutional projects. Tracy Zou, Quentin Parker and Dai Hounsell discover multiple contradictions in cross-institutional teaching enhancement projects in Hong Kong, but identify the potential solutions through distributed leadership.
To conclude the articles in this issue, Lisa Coraline Milne and colleagues examine Deakin University’s Higher Education Academy Fellowship program, an institutional-level commitment to transforming learning and teaching through a community of mentors. We round out this issue with a book review by Karly Ball and Christian Steinmetz of Micere Keels’ book Campus counterspaces: Black and Latinx students’ search for community at historically white universities.
As always, we hope you enjoy reading the articles in this issue.
Best Article Award
Following a rigorous selection process by the journal editors and evaluation by the three members of the Best Article Committee, the 2020 Best Article Award was awarded to:
‘Responding to student plagiarism in Western Australian universities: the disconnect between policy and academic staff’ by Carmela de Maio, Kathryn Dixon and Shelley Yeo (Curtin University)
Carmela de Maio and colleagues’ article on staff responses to potential plagiarism was highly commended by the Committee members for its relevance to our Journal and potential impact. In our opinion, it is precisely the type of article that our Journal seeks to publish.
Student plagiarism is a critical topic for government, regulators and institutional managers, underpinning the integrity of the higher education system. However, most research focuses on student behaviours or policy frameworks for preventing plagiarism. Far less research examines policy implementation and staff behaviours, or the potential disconnect with policy objectives. de Maio and colleagues’ interviews revealed important tensions faced by academics between prioritising the students’ needs, the institution’s policy goals and their own careers.
The feedback from the three Committee members described the article as ‘very well situated within the Journal’s aims’, ‘an important paper, with a clear contribution’ and ‘very useful findings’. de Maio and colleagues’ research reminds us that no plagiarism policy, however well crafted, can achieve its goals without the support of academics. Academics are critical to detecting plagiarism and (rightly) have considerable discretion over how they respond to potential plagiarism incidents. However, stressed, overworked and insecurely employed academics may understandably turn a blind eye to plagiarism, particularly if institutional policies are time-consuming or require extensive substantiation.
Highly commend runners-up
The Journal would also like to highly commend two runners-up for the Award, which were equally well assessed by the Committee.
‘Factors influencing dropout and academic performance: an Australian higher education equity perspective’ by Ian W. Li and David R. Carroll
Ian Li and David Carroll were commended by multiple Committee members for the thoroughness and quality of their article, including a ‘very clear and accessible explanation of method and findings’. The article’s ‘impact could be significant in terms of social justice implications’ and certainly should be considered by government and institutional managers when seeking to address these goals.
‘Interrogating strategies and policies to advance women in academic leadership: the case of Hong Kong’ by Sarah Jane Aiston, Chee Kent Fo and Wing Wah Law.
Sarah Jane Aiston and colleagues’ study was positively reviewed across all key criteria, but particularly for style, with all three Committee members rating it highly. One Committee member summed it up as follows: ‘Participant voice is judiciously used and provides a rich picture. Extremely engaging style of writing… very focused within the key aims of the journal in that it foregrounds policy and management and identifies the lack of policy impact in management practice and therefore the lived experiences of the participants.’
A brief history of the Journal’s contents and authors during the first thirty years has been written by (former editor) Ian Dobson. The paper is entitled ‘The Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management: an output analysis’, published in Volume 31 No. 1 (2009) of the Journal. The pdf can be found here, called The History of the Journal.