Announcing “Technology and Higher Education: Emerging Practice” Compendium

In March at the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference, the Technology Knowledge Community (TKC) officially announced the launch of our newest project. Technology and Higher Education: Emerging Practice (THE) is a new research and practice compendium that will be published digitally each semester by the TKC under the umbrella of NASPA publications. This compendium has been in the works for nearly four years, and we are excited to launch it and publish the first issue this fall. 

We recently sat down with THE’s inaugural editor, Matthew Brinton, to speak with him about the journal and the need for this type of publication in the higher education student affairs landscape.

TKC: Why is it important for this type of compendium to be launching right now? 

Matthew Brinton (MB): Technology is a tool for enhancing our work as higher education practitioners. Over the last two decades, technology has become an instrumental component of our lives. How we leverage technology for practice is ever evolving and research as to the intersections of technology and higher education is an emerging field. When the NASPA/ACPA Professional Competencies were restructured to include technology as a standalone metric, the two largest professional organizations in the field of higher education and student affairs made it clear that technology competence is an integral part of our work. There are researchers across the globe exploring and writing about the intersections of technology and higher education with no real dedicated outlet for their work. We are seeing more and more research, dissertations, and theses emerging from the integration of technology and student affairs, but where can it be published? As thought-leaders on conversations related to technology and students affairs, NASPA and the TKC are in the unique position to fill this gap by offering this compendium to the field. 

TKC: How did Technology and Higher Education come to be?

MB: Back in 2013 when I was the chair of the TKC, we set out to address the gap in the current research landscape when our leadership team set a technology-related journal as one of our goals for the year. We felt that it was important for the TKC to not only be generating knowledge, through the annual Knowledge Community publication, but also to find ways to share knowledge being created by others. I remember our first conference call with NASPA very well. It was in July and I was on vacation with my family in northeastern Missouri. We were driving at the time of our call. I was so excited to be a part of this endeavor that it did not matter that I was on vacation. I just wanted to get things moving. Since then we have had many more calls, submitted many different proposals, and are finally at a place where we are ready to get this compendium off the ground. This has been a labor of love by so many people, it is so very exciting to be at this point and be ready to accept manuscripts.  

TKC: What is your goal for the compendium?

MB: As student affairs practitioners and higher education administrators look to infuse their programs with more technology it has become necessary for there to be a repository of this knowledge. A place where research influences practice and where widely held best practices could be challenged, proven, and at times rewritten. Lead by a diverse group of reviewers and editors, Technology and Higher Education seeks to be the outlet for these manuscripts and to address a timeliness issue. In many academic journals, research can take more than a year to get to print. In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of higher education technology research that is more than a year old is routinely obsolete. We have created a platform that does not reduce the rigorousness of the review process, but seeks to speed it up. However, we will not sacrifice quality in our pursuit of this goal. Technology and Higher Education is a double blind, peer reviewed compendium. Our goal is to publish two times per year, roughly around the start of each academic semester, in the hopes that our published research will never be more than 6-8 months old. This will help practitioners stay at the top of their game and help them be up to date on current research and practice.

TKC: Who is on the editorial board?

MB: As this is a partnership with the TKC, several TKC members will sit on the board to ensure we are keeping within the goals and mission of the knowledge community. Specifically the TKC Chair and Chair-Elect, the TKC Publications Coordinator, and the TKC Faculty Liaison will be a part of our work on the leadership level. These roles are important to ensure continuity between our work and the work of the KC. In addition to myself as Editor, we have also added wonderful Copy Editor, Dr. Sara Henry, to round out the leadership team for the compendium.  From there we set out to find a diverse pool of compendium reviewers, and our list does not disappoint. Our reviewers work in all aspects of higher education. We have IT professionals, student affairs faculty, professionals who work with outside ed tech companies, accessibility professionals, and other practitioners. Additionally many of our reviewers are also working on advanced degrees and are currently in the process of reading, writing, and researching on the integration of technology in higher education. They are currently in the work and are familiar with the literature. This positions them to add to the conversation and bring that perspective to their reviews. Overall, I’m very excited about the team.

TKC: How is the compendium being promoted?

MB: Our team is working with NASPA to spread the word about the journal broadly across the Association and I plan to reach out individually to other knowledge community leaders. Technology no longer lives in a bubble on college campuses and is not only for IT professionals to worry about in our work. There are technological integrations and implementations in all corners of student affairs work, and promoting it should not be limited to the TKC. We hope that other KC leaders will help connect us with individuals in their areas that are doing this work as well. We are also working through our Editorial Board to reach out to higher education graduate programs to provide faculty and graduate students a potential outlet for their future work. In addition, of course we could not be moving forward without some form of digital presence. Our website is now live on the NASPA site and we have launched a Facebook page and Twitter account to not only share information about our compendium, but also to share other related research we find. 

TKC: Any final words for our readers? 

MB: Our doors are open for business and we are ready to start accepting manuscripts! We are looking for research and practice manuscripts to get into our expedited peer review process so we are ready to publish our first edition in the fall. Our team will be hitting the digital roads hard over the next several weeks to inform higher education professionals that this compendium exists and to solicit manuscripts so keep an eye open and be ready to share, share, share! This is an exciting time in our field, and I am thrilled to be a part of this work.

Matthew Brinton (@mcbrinton) is the inaugural editor of Technology and Higher Education: Emerging Practice. As a past Chair of the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community, he brings his passion for technology to his research and practice. He currently works as the Associate Director of Alumni Relations at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in Greeley, Colorado. He holds a B.S. in Sport and Exercise Science from UNC, an M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Denver and is in his fourth year in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership doctoral program at UNC.