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Student Success Journal – Call for Submissions 2018 Special Issue: Student Engagement and Retention in Higher Education

The Student Success Journal (SSJ) is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed, scholarly publication exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education. The Journal provides the opportunity to disseminate current research and innovative good practice about students’ tertiary learning experiences, which are supported by evidence.

The 2018 Special Issue will focus on the critical issue of – Student Engagement and Retention in Higher Education. Practitioners, researchers and scholars know that student retention arises from a complex combination of student, institutional and external factors that manifest differently for individual students. Simple performance metrics focused on student characteristics, cohorts or institutional initiatives delivered as ranking or rating systems, are unlikely to deliver improvements in performance, unless the complex contextual factors underlying the reasons students stay or leave are more widely considered.

The 2018 special issue on engagement and retention is a timely opportunity to contribute evidence-based research and practice to inform international discussions about the use of performance-based frameworks associated with learning, teaching and the student experience.

Topics of interest for this Special Issue

  • Discussion of the factors contributing to student engagement and retention. Submissions of this type will contain evidence drawn from robust empirical studies using quantitative or qualitative methodologies. Studies of this kind can also include those employing data and analytics-based initiatives. These types of submissions would normally have a focus on curricular and co-curricular interventions that have been implemented at an institutional or macro-level to address the factors involved.
  • Meta-analyses, meta-syntheses or systematic reviews of initiatives shown to have enhanced student engagement and retention. Submissions of this type would normally have deployed a framework or model to analyse previously published quantitative or qualitative research to produce a consolidated view and/or new information.
  • Consideration of the broader challenges impacting on student engagement and retention. In particular the Journal is interested in receiving submissions about initiatives that involve institutions and extend beyond the boundaries of the institution to involve public policy, infrastructure (places or technologies) structural measures (such as financial or other resources), and communities.
  • Synthesis of existing engagement theories or models to provide new ways of informing research and practice.

All submissions should demonstrate a thorough understanding of previous discussions in the literature and comply with the requirements of a research article. Importantly all submissions should contain findings or reach conclusions that can be taken up by educators or institutions, or applied more broadly to improve practice and student outcomes. In terms of format each submission will include a 100-word abstract and be no more than 12 pages in length (including references). Submissions that do not comply with SSJ author guidelines and formatting requirements will be returned to authors for correction prior to being sent for review.

All submissions are to be made electronically via the Student Success website. Please register your details to submit the manuscript, or login via


  • Full papers due: Friday, 13 July 2018
  • Peer review: July/August 2018
  • Final selection of papers: September 2018
  • Special Issue Published: late November/early December 2018

Guest Editors

Jason M. Lodge is Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education at the University of Queensland. He is an experienced educator in psychology and education and a principal fellow in the Science of Learning Research Centre. Jason’s areas of expertise are in psychological science, educational psychology, higher education and educational technology. His research focuses on the cognitive and emotional factors that influence student learning and the student experience in higher education.

Ella R Kahu is a lecturer within the School of Psychology at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. She teaches first year courses on psychology and citizenship, both on campus and through distance delivery. Her broad research interests are in social psychology, often exploring how people manage their at times conflicting social roles and identities. Her current research focus is the engagement of higher education students with a particular interest in transitions and the first year experience. Her conceptual framework of student engagement is widely agreed to be a valuable tool for understanding the student experience.

Professor Karen Nelson, Editor-in-Chief.
All enquiries should be made via

Posted 11 May 2018 Posted in Culturally and linguistically diverse, Disability, General, Indigenous, Low SES, Regional, rural and remote