Best Article Award Announcement

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Best Article Award Announcement

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management

The Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management’s Best Article Award is awarded annually to the best article from the previous calendar. The Award and $500 prize is announced at the Tertiary Education Management Conference. The journal publisher, Routledge, kindly make the best article freely accessible. The runners up will also be freely accessible for three months. 

The best article is determined based on four criteria:

  • Relevance to the journal’s Aims and Scope;
  • Style and readability;
  • Quality of the research process;
  • Potential impact to the academic or practitioner community.

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management

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About the winnng article

Following a rigorous selection process, the 2018 Best Article Award was awarded to the article ‘Applying to university with criminal convictions: a comparative study of admissions policies in the United States and United Kingdom’ by Bradley D. Custer (Michigan State University).

Greater access to higher education from previously underrepresented groups is a policy goal in many countries; however, access for persons with criminal records has received comparably little attention. Custer's article examines how universities in the US and UK increasingly require prospective students to disclose their criminal records.  Although the admissions policies for the review of criminal history information are overall quite similar in these two countries, the policies vary in scope and tone, possibly reflecting the differing criminal records laws.  While the potential impact on student safety of admitting persons with criminal records may be of concern, no systematic evaluation of safety outcomes has been conducted.  On the other hand, the potential public and private benefits of higher education for people who have criminal records are self-evident.

Custer’s article received compelling evaluations from the Committee, particularly for its impact and relevance.  Extended feedback from the Committee described the article as having ‘far and wide-reaching impact for higher education’.  Further, with a discussion that tackles ‘emerging moral dilemmas for tertiary education — as well as societies more generally — where two different forms of “virtue” intersect’, the article has ‘contemporary relevance and a resonance beyond its immediate subject area’.

The Journal would also like to commend the two runners-up for the Award:  ‘Mistrust in a multi-campus institutional context: a socio-spatial analysis’ by Nomanesi Madikizela-Madiya, and ‘It’s very different here: practice-based academic staff induction and retention’ by Virginia King, Jannie Roed and Louise Wilson.

Both runners up were positively assessed by the Committee.  Madikizela-Madiya’s study was complimented for its discussion of trust, which ‘is very well set out and a pleasure to read', and for its wide relevance, in light of the growing number of multi-campus institutions around the world.  King and colleagues’ article was strongly complimented for its style (‘reads well and is engaging’) and its interest and relevance (‘interesting paper . . . [that is] highly relevant’) to our Journal.