The Digitally Connected Academic: Public Scholarship and Activism in the Era of the Internet

I’d like to invite you to submit a proposal for a Critical Questions in Education (CQIE) journal special theme issue.

This special issue of CQIE is dedicated to engaging with questions about what types – and to what extent – professors and instructors should engage in public scholarship across digital platforms. Academics are adept at focusing their time and energy towards publishing their work in peer-reviewed journals; yet, considering that the vast majority of academic papers are never cited (Remler, 2014), which is a proxy for impact, should academics evolve the normative conceptions of scholarship to focus additional attention on creating ancillary work derived from their peer-reviewed research to engage in the public? While engagement on new forms of technology (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, etc.) can serve as mechanisms by which traffic is directed towards published work in academic journals, should the academic also view these platforms as neglected spaces where discourse often lacks empirical expertise? How much, how often, and to what ends should public scholarship take advantage of digital platforms?

The rise of new forms of technological platforms to engage in dialogue have provided ample space for individuals and organizations seeking to privatize P-20 education. Market-oriented privatization reforms have leveraged the power of social media to amplify their calls for shifting control of P-20 into the hands of privatizers and profiteers. These platforms provide a space where myths of ‘failed schools’ and ‘bad teachers’ continue to thrive as they often go unchallenged by academics with expertise on the subject. In fact, the unchallenged voices of pro-reform groups on social media platforms have afforded those groups the opportunity to create echo chambers of commonsensical rhetoric about the need to reform schools (Brewer & Wallis, 2015; Malin & Lubienski, 2015).

Considering the potential evolution of the field and ongoing public discourse about contemporary education on various technological platforms, this special issue is interested in submissions that are centered on both why and how academics should or should not leverage online platforms to share their work and engage in public conversations. There is, of course, a competing disposition that academics should not engage in new technological modes of communication (following the Luddite tradition) and we are interested in including such perspectives in this issue as we aim to make this a space for ongoing debate as well as a means to promote further discussion. That is, we are interested in a myriad of articles that will explore the possibilities of the digitally connected academic while also attending to any current – or what would be new – challenges related to that work. We are interested in examinations of what it means to be a public scholar and in the multiple ways in which public scholarship can be interpreted. Additionally, how can conceptions of digital engagement (a proxy for impact) be specifically incorporated into promotion and tenure guidelines for faculty members (i.e. altametrics) as a means to encourage such public scholarship and wider impact?

General Timeline

Proposals Due: June 15, 2018

Accept/Reject: July 1, 2018

Draft Articles Due: September 15, 2018

Feedback to authors: October 15, 2018

Final Drafts Due: November 1, 2018

Published: Fall 2018/Spring 2019 (subject to CQIE’s schedule)

To have your manuscript considered for publication, please submit a proposal by June 15, 2018 (11:59pm EST) to with the subject line, “CQIE Special Issue.”

Guest Editors:

T. Jameson Brewer, PhD

Assistant Professor, Social Foundations of Education

University of North Georgia

Julian Vasquez-Heilig, PhD

Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

California State Sacramento


  • CQIE sounds like an exciting and relevant project! My question or concern is for those of us not in the academy and not able to access the resources to get cited in peer-reviewed journals. Considering that the academy is predominately a space for white men, how can women of color, who have not yet secured a coveted spot (with the social capital that assists in the acceptance rate for peer-reviewed submissions), qualify? I currently have two academic articles that have been rejected (once each). As I try to problem (trying to find publications that are more conducive for my subject matter –radical pedagogy, innovation, and leadership), I am still trying to contribute to my field via a podcast (on power, social change and disrupting the margins) and a blog (essays about my lived experiences as a critical race feminist). The bottom line is that I am interested in your project. I am just not sure I have the right credentials. Any suggestions?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s