As an expert educator, you’ve learned a lot about what works with students and what does not. But how do you get those ideas out to the broader community, build your credibility, and enhance your CV? The numerous ways to get out your ideas might surprise you.
It is nearly a tacit assumption that you should be publishing your ideas. Unquestionably, if you want to up your credibility and visibility in the academic community, writing is the fastest way to do this. Prolific authors are more often those who are solicited to serve on the most productive committees, highest profile national task forces, field-shaping federal agency grant proposal review boards, and for influential professional society leadership positions.
One might mistakenly think that the only writing goals professors should have are to be first-authors on articles in top tier, peer-reviewed, highly-cited journals. Such is a good goal, for sure, but there are so many other venues where professors’ writings can have abundant influence, perhaps even greater than that of a top journal. I am not at all suggesting that you don’t need top-tier journal articles to advance professionally; however, we sometimes we forget how rarely those articles get read compared to other types of writing. Moreover, getting an article in a top tier journal means fighting through an editorial wall where less than 10% of everything submitted is published and, even if successful, waiting 18-months or more to see your work in print. And, teaching innovations are not frequently to be found in the pages of research journals. To be abundantly clear, professor need some long, hard won top-tier traditional publications in the CV, but that’s really just not enough to achieve national visibility that comes from frequently having your name in print as a by-line.
Some Places to Publish Teaching Innovations (Illustrative, Not Exhaustive)
- Journal of College Science Teaching http://www.nsta.org/college/
- Journal of College Teaching & Learning https://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/TLC/index
- College Teaching http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/vcol20
- Society of College Science Teaching Monographs http://www.scst.org/scstpubs/monographs
- The Physics Teacher http://aapt.scitation.org/journal/pte
- The American Biology Teacher http://abt.ucpress.edu/
- AstroEDU http://astroedu.iau.org/en/
- Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education http://www.jaese.org
- The Earth Scientist https://www.nestanet.org/cms/content/publications/tes
- among many others
But, perhaps, there are some places to publish that you might not have considered, that actually have larger readership numbers than those non-exhaustive examples above. How can you make your teaching innovation into a human interest story for publication in highly read places such as:
Places Prolific Professors Publish
- Books and book chapters
- Professional conference proceedings
- Newsletter contributions for professional societies and organizations
- Newspaper columns
- University alumni magazines
- Magazine articles not intended for your professional peers, but for the public
- Textbooks potentially read by thousands of college students, and their professors
- And, of course, Internet web-blogs
Some professors worry that they really have nothing to write about. As it turns out, when people start writing, their brains start generating new ideas to write about. In other words, the more you sit down to write (even if you have to repeatedly type I have nothing to write about, I have nothing to write about), the more writing ideas will pop into your head spontaneously. (In the time it has taken me to write this paragraph, I’ve had to stop twice just to write down new writing project ideas.)
The most obvious place to find something to write about is your most recent conference presentations. Every conference presentation is a great outline for writing a paper about. Moreover, if you didn’t give any presentations in the past few years, think about other presentations you’ve heard, and write a well-cited “me too, I (dis)agree” piece.
For me, the best piece of advice I can offer to you this instant is to allocate an unbreakable appointment with yourself to start writing. Professors often say that they cannot find time to write; but, professors find time to teach class every week, and do not break that appointment. In the same way, you need an unbreakable appointment to write several times a week. Now, go find your calendar and make that happen!
Tim Slater, University of Wyoming, Tim@CAPERteam.com
Suggested Citation: Slater, T. F. (2017, September). Where to publish your teaching innovations. Society of College Science Teachers Blog, 3(2), http://www.scst.org/blog