Editorial board changes 2011

Effective January 1, 2011, several important changes occurred with the journal Research in Higher Education. First and foremost is that after twenty years of service, John C. Smart has decided to step down as Editor of Research in Higher Education. It is impossible to overstate the number of significant contributions that John has made to the field of higher education and the profession of institutional research through his term as Editor of the journal. Through the leadership of John and the journal’s founding editor, Charles F. Elton, Research in Higher Education has become one of the leading sources of academic scholarship on a wide array of higher education topics. John has not only been successful in developing the journal into what it is today, but he has also been instrumental in helping potential authors improve their work and in turn make significant contributions to the field of higher education. Over the years, numerous people have commented on the time and attention that John devotes to reviewing manuscripts and guiding authors in how to use reviewer comments to revise their manuscripts. In May 2010, John was awarded the John E. Stecklein Distinguished Membership Award by the Association for Institutional Research. This is the highest award that the Association can bestow upon a person for significant lifetime contributions to the field of institutional research. We are all deeply indebted to John for the many contributions that he has made through his service as Editor.

In addition to John’s departure, the two Associate Editors of Research in Higher Education have also decided to step down from their editorial appointments to pursue other opportunities beginning January 1, 2011. James C. Hearn has served as Associate Editor for Research in Higher Education with responsibility for soliciting manuscripts for the “Research and Practice” section of the journal. Ernie Pascarella has likewise served as Associate Editor for Research in Higher Education with responsibility for soliciting manuscripts that review the literature in specific topical areas. Both of these initiatives are very important to the field and to the journal. I would like to thank them for their service to the journal and field, and their commitment to ensuring that Research in Higher Education is an outlet for these non-traditional manuscripts.

With these editorial transitions, what will Research in Higher Education look like moving forward? This question was perhaps best answered by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in January 1849 (and later popularized by the Canadian progressive rock band Rush): “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose,” which translates into “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.” The hope is that from the perspective of readers and authors the editorial transition will be seamless. Research in Higher Education will continue to apply the same criteria as in the past for making publication decisions. The journal is fortunate to be able to rely on an excellent group of Consulting Editors who will help ensure that the articles that appear in the journal represent significant and innovative contributions to the field of higher education. As always, Research in Higher Education will strive to provide authors with timely and helpful feedback on their manuscripts and use the review process as a means to develop future academics as well as advance knowledge through what appears in print.

Turning to content, Research in Higher Education will continue to publish research on a wide array of topics pertaining to higher education. Although all forms of scholarship will be considered for publication, the journal is best known in the field for its emphasis on quantitatively-oriented studies of higher education. In addition to more traditional research articles, the journal encourages submissions for its “Research and Practice” section that seek to build connections between higher education research and the field of institutional research, as well as reviews of the literature on specific higher education topics. Because higher education is by definition an interdisciplinary field, submissions from academic disciplines outside of higher education such as economics, political science, and sociology are strongly encouraged.

One change that will be apparent to potential contributors to Research in Higher Education is that submissions will now only be accepted through our online submission tool. The hope is that the online submission process will be more convenient for authors and reviewers (and the editor!) and help maintain the timeliness of the review process.

Thank you for your continued support of Research in Higher Education.

Robert K. Toutkoushian

Editor, Research in Higher Education (e-mail: rtoutkou@uga.edu)