Introducing the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education

In the last few years, several authors have contacted the NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education editors to inquire whether their research on trans* and non-binary individuals as well as men was a fit for the journal.  As these inquiries increased, we began to consider how best to indicate to these authors and others that the journal was, in fact, a place where the exploration, problematization, and active critique of gender norms on all populations is welcome.

The decision to move forward with a task force to explore the possibility of a scope and title change grew from the larger research-based call to increase an understanding of how social constructions of gender impact the lives of individuals living, learning, and working in higher education, from the very focused requests of researchers about the appropriateness of the journal for their ground-breaking work, and from a sense from participants at our 2017 Annual Board Meeting that they were supportive of exploring the possibility of adjusting the title and scope.

Last fall, we assembled a task force to explore the possibility of broadening the scope of the NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education to reflect larger conversations around moving toward a more expansive understanding of gender.  Our task force, comprised of Natasha Croom, Frank Harris, Jeni Hart, Chris Linder, Susan Marine, Sarah Marshall, Z Nicolazzo, Erich Pitcher, Erin Slater, and Michele Smith, worked with us to craft a new mission and title for the journal, which we proposed to the NASPA Board in Spring 2018. 

We are thrilled to announce that the NASPA Board has approved the new title for the journal, and that, beginning in January 2019, we will begin publishing the Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. The name selected for the journal by the task force, Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education, denotes a commitment to addressing the long history of invisibility of women in higher education and recognizes the ways limitations based on gender are perpetuated in higher education, while centering critical interrogations of other systems of domination that continue to support the cisgender heterosexual patriarchy in higher education.

The journal’s mission statement is as follows:

The Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education publishes scholarship that centers gender-based experiences of students, faculty, and staff while examining oppression, including but not limited to patriarchy, sexism, trans* oppression, and cisnormativity as they intersect with other systems of domination.  We are particularly interested in manuscripts that not only focus on a gender-based group but also critically interrogate the ways in which gender has been used as a construct to limit opportunities and shape outcomes and experiences.  The journal publishes high quality and rigorous scholarship that can be used by NASPA members and others to transform daily practice, research, and the field of higher education.

Please make note of the critical focus that is an essential aspect of the mission change.  As we move forward, JWG manuscripts should critically interrogate the gender-based experiences of a particular group. Manuscripts published in the journal will utilize critical lenses to investigate how gender shapes women’s (or other groups’) experiences. 

NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education History 

As we begin this new chapter of research on women and gender at NASPA, we recognize the legacy that NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education has had on our profession.

In June 2005, members of the Center for Women Advisory Board met in Chicago, Illinois to discuss future plans and activities for the Center. The primary topic was the research agenda and journal discussion, and current key priorities for the Center. The Center for Women Advisory Board recognized limitations in creating new, original research on or about women in higher education. They examined ways to recognize, promote, publish, or otherwise support research in these areas. The Advisory Board supported the possibility of creating a journal on women in higher education, and decided to present a formal proposal for this journal to the NASPA Board of Directors. 

As a result of the Advisory Board’s hard work, the NASPA Board approved the proposal for the NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education in Summer 2005. The first issue of NJAWHE was published in March 2008. The journal started as an annual publication, and moved to two issues per year beginning in 2011, and then moved to three issues per year beginning in 2017.

The NJAWHE archives will continue to be accessible to all NASPA members.