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.
About the winnng article
Following a rigorous selection process by the journal editors and evaluation by the three members of the Best Article Committee, the 2019 Best Article Award was awarded to:
‘The financial and educational outcomes of Bachelor degree non-completers’ by Michael Luckman and Andrew Harvey (La Trobe University).
Luckman and Harvey’s article on the outcomes of Australian students who start, but do not complete Bachelor degrees, was commended by all Committee members across all evaluation categories: relevance; style; quality; and impact. It was the standout article from 2019.
Around one million Australians have partially completed Bachelor degrees. Attention is often focused derogatorily on the ‘wastage’ of such ‘drop-outs’ and ‘failures’, without considering the actual outcomes of partial completers. Luckman and Harvey’s large-scale, empirically-driven study of education and financial outcomes is clearly of interest to Australian university managers and policy-makers; furthermore, it has potential for worldwide impact due to its research quality, clarity and readability.
The extensive feedback from the Committee described this article as a ‘classically well-designed and well-executed research’ and ‘a textbook example of how to analyse data to inform the evidence base for policy discussions’. Their study ‘[challenges] current practices or policies of how retention/drop-out/completion is viewed’, ‘opens up for a range of new interesting questions… and most certainly opens up new avenues for research’. Their findings have ‘the potential to change attitudes and reduce stigma, while providing a springboard for policy review within higher education institutions.’ This study should not just influence Australian policy-makers, but also how other governments ‘look beyond statistics in the context of attrition’.
The Journal would also like to commend three runners-up for the Award, which were equally well assessed by the Committee.
‘Factors affecting the quality of transnational higher education in China: a qualitative content analysis on Chinese host universities self-appraisal reports’ by Mingyan Hu, Susana A. Eisenchlas & Sue Trevaskes.
Hu and colleagues’ were commended for their excellent use of a unique data source, providing ‘a more pluralistic perspective of practice in transnational education’ with ‘implications for everyone interested in improving the quality of cross-border higher education.’
‘Tactics or strategies? Exploring everyday conditions to facilitate implementation of an Indigenous graduate attributes project’ by Susan Page, Michelle Trudgett & Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews.
Page and colleagues’ study was ‘unique’ and ‘innovative’ in its approach towards the ‘crucial topic for Australian higher education of Indigenous achievement’. All three Committee members rated it as ‘brilliant’ for its practical relevance, highlighting ‘the importance of achieving alignment and integration between policies, strategies, programs, practice and, professional development.’
‘A whole campus approach to sexual violence: the University of Otago Model’ by Melanie A. Beres, Gareth J. Treharne & Zoran Stojanov.
Beres and colleagues’ paper focused on ‘a crucial societal issue that all tertiary education institutions must address’. It was commended by all Committee members for its relevance and potential impact, offering a ‘powerful’ and ‘nuanced’ resource for approaching the issue of sexual violence that ‘effectively develops synergy between awareness, response, and prevention strategies.’