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International Journal for Academic Development

Call for proposals - Special issue (2020)

Failure: A catalyst for learning and development

While successful interventions and practices create important opportunities for learning across international academic communities, less successful initiatives are seldom shared. Still, when asking how people learn to become an academic developer, most people acknowledge the trial and error aspects of learning the practice. The shortage of empirical research in higher education settings, as well as theoretical contributions that help us better understand failure in academic development, puts academic developers at the risk of repeating mistakes rather than learning from them.

This special issue welcomes contributions that deal with failure as a catalyst for learning and development in different ways. Contributions could include analyses of narratives from academic developers’ encounters with failure in the context of academic development work or in conjunction with academic staff on departmental or organizational development. Empirical studies of cases relevant to academic development work are welcomed. Examples of contributions could include analysis of institutional or departmental change, where data is made up of policy and strategy documents and interview data, and where there may be a longitudinal perspective. Different stakeholder perspectives involved in the change initiative are also encouraged, as are studies of initiatives carried out which lead to unintended or contradictory outcomes. These types of contributions will add value by linking to theoretical perspectives on narratives enabling a deepened understanding of how failure may be productive and lead to unintended consequences, positive or negative.

Emphasis in the papers should link to theoretical frameworks that broaden our understanding of failure. By providing contributions on the topic of failure, the academic development community is enabled to engage in double-loop reflection, and learn, not only from own mistakes, but also from others’. Contributions to this Special Issue will seek to fill in some of these blanks and set the course for a broadened scholarship of academic development.

This is an early call for proposals for a Special Issue on ‘Failure – a catalyst for learning and development,’ due for publication in 2020. The extended timeline is intended to give authors opportunity to not only reflect on previous initiatives, but also to design and execute new studies into academic development work on how failure contributes to academic development while still having time to go through IJAD’s regular review process for possible later publication.

International Journal for Academic Development

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

Visit Journal Articles

Submission guidelines

At this stage, we are inviting proposals of up to 500 words, outlining:

  • the academic development activity under scrutiny,
  • the purpose of the study, and
  • the research approach to be taken.

Members of the editorial team will provide brief feedback as an indication of the extent to which your proposed study may fit the parameters of the Special Issue. Proposals that might be considered outside those parameters may still be appropriate for a regular issue of IJAD.

Authors are welcome to submit full manuscripts without going through the proposals process.

ALL manuscripts will go through IJAD’s double-blind review process as normal once they are submitted.

Specifically, we are looking for empirical studies of academic development work relating to the issue of failure. As with regular IJAD articles, we have no prescribed methodologies and invite you to find creative ways to evaluate your work and its impact.


Proposals due September 2018 | Manuscripts due May 2019 | Anticipated publication in January 2020

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.

Proposals must be submitted online via IJAD’s ScholarOne site.

For further information or for queries about this Special Issue, please contact Klara Bolander Laksov or Cormac McGrath.