Call for Papers: Special Issue

College Athlete Academic Engagement

The relationship between athletics and academics represents an ongoing preoccupation for researchers and public policy makers.  The question of whether college athletes receive the full benefit of the educational opportunities promised to them at the time of their recruitment and enrollment is one that has endured for well over a century.  The impetus for this special issue emerges from two bodies of research, one dealing with high impact educational practices (HIPs) and student engagement (Kuh, 2008; Finley & McNair, 2013) and the other focusing on college athlete academic success in its myriad permutations (academic clustering, graduation rates, time demands, absences, etc.).  This special issue seeks submissions from scholars who are exploring college athlete academic engagement and success through the lens of high impact educational practices as conceived by Kuh (2008), meaning teaching and learning practices that have been found to support student success.  High impact practices that have been found to increase rates of student retention and engagement include first year seminars and experiences, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, e-portfolios, service learning, community-based learning, internships, and capstone courses and projects (Kuh, 2008). 

The timing for such a focused conversation on college athletes, academics, and access to high impact educational practices coincides with a need identified by Schneider and Albertine (2013) to pursue more nuanced research about HIPs and specific student cohorts.  College athletes as an identifiable cohort offer an opportunity to expand on the literature.  They also provide a unique cohort that is known to encounter challenges that undermine their educational interests (NCAA, 2016).  In one NCAA study, 40% of Division I athletes reported that they did not feel positive about their ability to keep up with their classes while in-season.  In that same study, more than a third of Division I athletes indicated that a commitment to their team prevented them from studying abroad while only 10% of Division I athletes reported they had either studied abroad or would have an opportunity to do so.  Further, more than a third of Division I athletes reported that they were unable to take a course they wished to take because of their athletic commitment (NCAA, 2016).

This special issue of the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics is designed to move our understandings of the experience college athletes have in their educational pursuits through a grounding in educational theory associated with academic engagement and success. It is unique from the extant research because it is intended to encourage scholarship that focuses on ways to increase participation in these activities. Scholars are encouraged to submit theoretically grounded work addressing one or more of these topics:

  • High impact educational practices and their application to college athletes and athletic departments
  • Comparisons between college athletes and non-college athletes in terms of access to high impact educational practices
  • Consider HIPs at different institutional types such as Divisions I, II, and III as well as HBCUs and the ability to implement HIPs at those respective institutions (i.e., study abroad at a limited resource institution)
  • The identification of barriers to engagement in HIPs and practices that can be implemented to remove or mitigate these barriers
  • Explorations of the differences between advising within athletic departments and faculty and academic advisors outside of the athletic department as well as access athletes have to faculty advisors.
  • College athlete engagement in undergraduate research
  • College athlete participation as a high impact educational practice
  • College athlete participation and engagement in service learning
  • College athlete participation in internships, student teaching, and cooperative learning experiences
  • College athletes & global engagement
  • Others

Please direct questions regarding the focus of the issue to one of the Special Issue Guest Editors:

Anthony G. Weaver, Elon University, tweaver@elon.edu
Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Towson University, jminkove@towson.edu
David J. Shonk, James Madison University, shonkdj@jmu.edu
Ellen J. Staurowsky, Drexel University, ejs95@drexel.edu

Manuscript files (Microsoft word format only) should be submitted electronically no later than January 15, 2020 to the Special Issue Guest Editors (listed above) as well as the JIIA Co-Editors (joseph.cooper@umb.edu and taicher@uccs.edu) with the subject line of “Special Issue Submission for College Athlete Academic Engagement”.   An email message stating the manuscript has not been simultaneously submitted for publication and/or published elsewhere should be included with your submission.  Manuscripts must conform to the current “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.”  Manuscripts must include an abstract of approximately 150-200 words and complete references.  Each manuscript must be typewritten, double-spaced throughout, use “Times New Roman” font (size 12), and utilize one-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.  Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyrights information and materials.  Submitting a manuscript indicates the author(s) agree(s) to transfer of copyright to The College Sport Research Institute.  A publication agreement can be found at http://csri-jiia.org/submission-guidelines/. Authors will be notified of the status of their manuscript by March 1, 2020. Accepted Manuscripts will be published in April 2020.

Manuscripts submitted that correctly follow the submission guidelines are initially reviewed at the editorial level. Submissions found to be outside the scope of JIIA, incomplete or incorrectly formatted per JIIA submission guidelines or APA standards, or not meeting standards of sufficient quality may be subject to desk rejection. Final decisions regarding publication in this special issue are made by the JIIA editors. Submissions meeting these criteria are reviewed by a minimum of two reviewers via blind review procedures. JIIA strives to return submissions to authors within 60 days of submission.

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