As director of the Academy, I am privileged to be able to work with colleagues from across the University of Liverpool and see first-hand the passion, innovation, and unerring focus on student success that underpins our institutional practice. As such, I am delighted to introduce this inaugural issue of our Developing Academic Practice journal, an exciting new online platform through which to celebrate and share this educational excellence.
Launched in collaboration with Liverpool University Press, the journal is designed to promote scholarship across all aspects of academic practice at the university. Working with the U.K.’s third oldest university publisher and their established global network presents a unique opportunity to enhance further the development of academic scholarship at Liverpool through engagement with an international audience of practitioners.
Indeed, development lies at the very heart of our aspirations for the journal. In addition to providing a platform to cascade effective practice and share lessons learned, Developing Academic Practice will support early career academics to engage in scholarship in a rigorous yet supportive environment. Colleagues will be encouraged to submit research articles, case studies, and reflexive pieces, while also being afforded opportunities to review the work of others and apply to be part of the editorial team. Through this approach, the journal will encourage continuing development while helping colleagues to gain experience of working on a formal publication and of supporting the development of others.
Considering the world into which the journal will be launched, I am more convinced than ever of the genuine importance of inclusive, flexible development opportunities. The emerging impact of COVID-19 on our ways of working, our professional identities, and the ways we interact, collaborate, and communicate cannot be overstated. Against this backdrop we have, in parallel, seen a growing awareness of the differentiated experiences of our colleagues, teams, and students, and a recognition that we need to positively respond to support the rich diversity of our communities.
To this end, Developing Academic Practice will adopt continuous publication, allowing colleagues to submit their scholarship throughout the year as they continue to respond with energy and innovation to the changing learning environment. In addition, this first issue is timed to coincide with the university’s annual Pedagogical Research Conference, which this year focuses on the themes of equality, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.
In what has been a period marked by change of a scale and speed it was impossible to predict, I am hugely grateful to everyone across the university and Liverpool University Press who has supported the development of the journal, from an initial idea through to this inaugural issue. Special thanks go to the editorial board and reviewers and, of course, to the authors whose work adds such quality to this first engaging set of contributions.
I have no doubt that Developing Academic Practice will become a key tool in the university’s mission to drive forward academic excellence and high-quality scholarship as we continue to celebrate the pioneering practice so evident across all of our disciplines.