Focus and Scope

The Student Engagement and Experience Journal is an online peer-reviewed publication hosted by Sheffield Hallam University. The journal invites contributions from colleagues in varied roles and disciplines who share an enthusiasm for fostering student engagement with learning and for providing and supporting rewarding student experiences at all academic levels.

Although primarily focused on learner engagement and experience, the Editorial Board recognise the impact of students' broader experiences of their higher education from transition into university to becoming alumni. The Journal provides space for discussion of the many issues deemed by authors and editors to be relevant to engagement and to facilitate conversations across roles and subject disciplines.

Submissions are invited which address and describe evidenced features of good practice and which develop a broad understanding of student engagement. These may include:

  • Encouraging interaction between teachers and their students
  • Encouraging a sense of community and co-operation amongst students
  • Encouraging active learning
  • Motivating students through high expectations, and levels of challenge and opportunity
  • Encouraging students to spend 'time on task'
  • Respecting and accommodating diverse talents and approaches to learning
  • Providing students with prompt feedback on their progress
  • Encouraging interaction amongst teachers and others who inform or support learning

Collaborative submissions are especially welcomed, including those that involve colleagues working in different roles or which involve students as partners.

Peer Review Process

SEEJ depends upon and values the work of its Peer Review Board. It appreciates the generosity of peer reviewers in sharing their expertise and time to help the Editorial Board ensure the quality of the journal. Reviewers for the Journal are asked to provide constructive and timely reviews, commenting on strengths and weaknesses of the submission, giving clear reasons for amendments or unsuitability. Constructive comments should be made to ensure:

  • Rigour: i.e. soundness of methodology; validity of data; plausibility; prior ethicalapproval (with links to relevant institutional policy and processes)
  • Significance: i.e. is a  ‘novel’ contribution (new knowledge) to field and adds value to the community
  • Relevance: i.e. within current context of scholarship within the discipline
  • Quality: presentation, communication, etc.

Reviews should also be completed in good time: to achieve this, reviews need to be returned within 3 weeks of receiving the submission.

Confidentiality, ethics, constructive review, collegiality and impartiality are principles which are central to a credible peer review process. Compliance with the SHU Research Policy and procedure should be evdent in submitted work. See for more details.

Any potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed and discussed with the Editorial Management Team. Reviewers' comments are presented anonymously to authors. Reviews are also confidential in that contents will only be shared between the peer reviewer, the editors and the author. Submissions under review and reviewers' comments are not revealed to other people by the journal's editors. As part of the review process peer reviewers will be asked to make separate comments for the editors and authors.

Authors may choose to share peer reviewer comments with members of the Author Support Group, who can provide peer-support and direction for authors.

It is anticipated that even when a submission is rejected, the reviewer's comments may still result in greatly improved resubmissions or new submissions to SEEJ. In particular, the journal actively encourages resubmissions with support from the journal's Author Support Group. If peer reviewers see a submission in print that they did not recommend for publication, it is important to note that at least two other people have decided that it was appropriate and suitable for publication.

Research Ethics Policy and Procedures

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Journal values, Editorial Board and Team Terms of Reference

Journal values

Open Access: The Journal operates an open access policy and provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge

Collegiality: the Journal is run by academic staff for staff on a voluntary basis and premised on a notion of shared ownership

Supportiveness: the Journal is not just about sharing academic innovation, but also aims to foster and develop the academic practice. There are direct links with local and central networks for professional development and support for authors and peer-reviewers. The processes are designed to be as personal and supportive as possible (for example, feedback for authors)

Creativity: the Journal welcomes contributions in alternative formats and that describe new and innovative practice. It aims to provide a safe and creative space for discussion across disciplines, roles and topics

Openness: the Journal is open to anyone who shares an enthusiasm for fostering student engagement with learning and providing and supporting outstanding student experiences. This is not restricted to student learning experiences but broader student engagement from recruitment to becoming alumni. The Journal is open-access and freely available on the internet

Professionalism: the notion of scholarship as a part of professional practice for all roles, (academic and learner support), is core to the Journal and it reflects the values of the UK Professional Standards Framework managed by the Higher Education Academy. A robust peer review process and editorial screening ensure quality of contributions. The journal aims to recognise the good work that goes on everyday.

Please refer to the journal focus and scope for more information.

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board offers a breadth of knowledge and experience to the Journal and is also responsible for the oversight of standards of the journal; including content, direction and overall management. The journal is based on a premise of collaboration, therefore members of the Editorial Board will be expected to actively engage with the management and publication process of the journal through:

  • attending up to 4 Editorial Board meetings a year
  • commenting on, and contributing, to the development of guidelines and policies for the Journal
  • collectively deciding on themes and editorial arrangements for any special editions
  • rotating Issue Editor responsibility for the publication process of  a  journal edition, including overseeing the peer review process, writing/commissioning editorials, copy-editing, proofreading of accepted submissions and making a final version available for comment  by the Editorial Board before final publication
  • occasional peer reviewing

The membership of the Editorial Board aims to reflect a diverse range of disciplines and roles from across the University and beyond, with representation from each SHU faculty and relevant central directorate. The criteria for selection of Editors are based on their reputation for research and scholarship in student experience and engagement in learning and the contribution the individual can make to the journal (not their current role or responsibilities within the institution).

Potential Editorial Board members  may apply though self-nomination detailing any editorial experience they have, their own perspective on student engagement and the aspects of this topic that interest them the most. Note that previous editorial experience is not essential: it is more important that individuals bring different perspectives on student engagement to the journal. Editors will provide a brief profile or biography of their professional contribution to the field of student engagement and experience, and academic writing and publishing; these will be included in the SEEJ website.

Editorial Management Team

The Editorial Management Team will have shared responsibility for:

  • undertaking 'desk review' responsibilities, including initial alignment with scope and format of submissions with Journal, anonymising submissions, and assigning submissions to Issue Editors
  • managing membership of Editorial Board
  • maintaining the journal website and the OJS, ensuring they are up-to-date and running smoothly (both in terms of processes and documentation)
  • editorial responsibilities
  • overseeing membership of the Author Support Group and Peer Review Board
  • managing expressions of interest for special editions
  • arrange for support to authors from Author Support Group
  • co-ordinating professional development for peer reviewers and potential authors
  • liaising between authors, peer reviewers and author advisors, with regard to support for authors
  • arranging Editorial Board meetings
  • co-ordinating publicity for the Journal and calls for submissions
  • dealing with queries and any other organisational issues as they arise
  • formally acknowledging the contributions of members of the Editorial Board, Author Support Group and Peer Review Board

Author Support Group

The Author Support Group is a key part of the Student Engagement and Experience Journal. It is made up of a wide network of experienced authors, scholars and researchers within faculties, central directorates and other institutions.

Working in partnership with the Editorial Board, this Group has responsibility for:

  • providing one-to-one support for colleagues who are considering submitting something to the journal but may need some advice in developing their ideas or writing
  • providing feedback for authors on submissions
  • encouraging mentoring/peer support across disciplines and faculties
  • local publicity and promotion of the Journal

Why might authors want to contact someone from the Author Support Group?

  • to bounce ideas of a colleague
  • to get feedback on a work in progress
  • to develop an idea for publication
  • to develop your writing/presentation style
  • to work with feedback from reviewers in improving a piece of work

The Author Support Group will be supported by the Editorial Management Team at Sheffield Hallam University through co-ordination and provision of bespoke professional development for those supporting and providing feedback to potential authors. Members of the Author Support Group will also provide a brief profile or biography of their professional experience of academic writing and publishing; these will be included in the SEEJ website. We welcome new volunteers to the Author Support Group from Sheffield Hallam University and other institutions.

Who can authors contact?

You can contact anyone listed below, regardless of faculty, directorate or institution. If you're not sure who would be the best person to contact please feel free to contact your Head of LTA (if you're a Sheffield Hallam University faculty based academic) or a member of the Editorial Management Team.

Members of the Author Support Group as of 2014/15:

SHU Faculty: ACES

  • Simon Clarke (HoLTA)
  • Mike Bramhall
  • Hilary Cunliffe-Charlesworth
  • Becky Shaw

SHU Faculty: D&S

  • Luke Desforges (HoLTA)
  • Serena Bufton
  • Angela Maye-Banbury
  • Richard McCarter
  • Julia Myers
  • Richard Pountney

SHU Faculty: HWB

  • Alison Purvis (HoLTA)
  • David Eddy
  • Bridget Winwood
  • Neil McKay
  • Diane Burkinshaw

SHU Faculty: SBS

  • Dave Laughton (HoLTA)
  • June Clarke
  • Dave Egan
  • Trevor Hassall
  • Kiefer Lee
  • Diane Rushton
  • Trevor Simper
  • Lucian Tipi

Peer Review Board

The Peer Review Board membership reflects a range of disciplines, roles and levels of experience from across the University and beyond. It will contribute depth to the Journal content. Peer reviewers will offer up-to-date knowledge and scholarship in their areas of interest and will be sensitive to methodological approaches and data analysis. A commitment to the journal values must be evident in their work for the journal. Contributions to the Peer Review may differ according to experience, such as:

  • peer reviewer (experienced colleague)
  • ad hoc reviewer (less well-known as researcher in academic field)
  • occasional reviewer (for specialised contribution)

Peer reviewers will provide brief details of their professional experience and interests and will be allocated submissions to review based upon these. The Journal appreciates the time and energy peer-reviewers contribute to the success of the journal and asks reviewers to:

  • review a maximum of 3 submissions a year
  • return reviews within 3 weeks
  • use the peer-review guidelines provided by the Journal
  • occasionally contribute to staff development activities in support of less experienced reviewers and, in that context, be prepared to share content of recent reviews

Colleagues are invited to nominate themselves as peer-reviewers and all authors are invited to join the Peer Review Board after publication in the journal. We are committed to supporting and developing peer reviewers and provide detailed guidelines and bespoke professional development for new reviewers.

Why consider being a peer reviewer?

Being a peer reviewer offers an opportunity to:

  • see new ideas and methodologies first
  • contribute to a wide and diverse academic community
  • improve your own academic writing
  • be part of a support network with other colleagues