Higher education publications have over the years played a major role in fostering intellectuality through providing a forum for bridging ideas and views held by players in various fields of academics. Besides providing a forum where special issues of interests in academics are discussed, higher education publications also help in shaping different fields of knowledge through introducing new emerging issues and ideas in the diverse fields of knowledge. For a long time, higher education publications have been the centre of life in many institutions of learning. Many institutions of higher learning ensure that they have their inputs in major higher education publications.
There are different types of publications targeting different people in higher education and institutions. Despite their different functions, they all play a role to ensure effectiveness in higher education. This means that the different higher education publications serve all those involved in higher education (from those serving major players to subordinates in higher education institutions) in different ways. They cover different issues in higher education such as news, adverts and also jobs in the high education sector.
In most cases, higher education publications are used to provide a forum for individuals and institutions to indicate their academic standing. They are also used by institutions to indicate and show their performance (Teodorescu 2000) especially on information that is relevant to the government and also other funding agencies such as donors. This information is always important in influencing the level of funding that an institution will receive from the government and other funding agencies. McGrail, Rickard, & Jones (2006) link most publications by universities in high institutions publications to the need for attracting funding.
Higher education publications today
With the increasing need for higher education today, there is immense pressure on higher education institution in copying with the high number of student populations amid the decreasing government funding. High education institutions have therefore sought alternative sources for their funding. One of the major ways being used by the institutions is through use of publications that show the institutions’ performance in the world of academics. McGrail, Rickard, & Jones (2006) indicate that for long time research and academic publications in the recent past have been the major way that emerging institutions of higher learning use to attract funding especially from granting agencies and donors. According to them, this has been the major reason why most higher education publications have content published by new high education institutions. It should be noted that this does not mean that veteran higher education institutions do not have a special interests in the high education publications. Given the publications are commercial based, most big institutions of learning do not see the importance of spending large sums of money for a course that they have already achieved (publicity).
As already mentioned, higher education publication today is the centre of life for those in higher education. There is always a need for the players in academics to mark their standing in the field of academics. According to McGrail, Rickard, & Jones (2006) academes today operate under the phrase “publish or perish”. This motivates academes to always direct their energy towards researching and publishing so that they will be taken into considerations for the different positions in higher education or they will be forgotten if they do not publish anything for long periods of time. Many academic publications are as a result for such reasons. Due to the decreasing government funding to universities, there is another force behind the need to publications. Publications are the major way used by institutions to get their grants or they will definitely perish. Many institutions of higher learning have over the years undergone major changes in the way that they operate. With the need for attracting grants, many universities have now merged with others while others have marketing deeply embedded in their corporate strategies. Such objectives are only realized through use of publications of high educations.
Most government funding to higher education institutions are based on the performance of the institution (academic output). Academic output is measured through taking into considerations the number of publications produced, which include refereed conference papers, scholarly books or chapters in books and refereed articles in scholarly peer reviewed journals. These different publications are reported to the educational department of the government which in turn rate the institutions under given guidelines. Institutions receive grants from the government based on these ranks. Higher education publications therefore provide a media where institutions of learning can constantly improve their ranks through publishing regularly.
Today, most universities have the responsibility of ensuring that there is writing and publishing to ensure that there is scholarships in their different departments. Universities also strive to ensure that they have quality teaching staff and also excellent teaching and learning outcomes especially on research outcomes. Although there is major emphasis in research output, there are no many incentives available to encourage writing. Universities have therefore focused their energy in training their departments on the importance of writing on the institution. Some universities have gone the extra mile to coach their members in writing academic papers to increase the publication of their writings in major high education publications.
As already mentioned, publications in higher education occupy a special place in the lives of those in institutions of higher learning. Every institution of higher learning has ways that can be used by its members to deliver any communication to the other members. Of the different methods, none of them has been embraced like the publications in high education publications. Given that many institutions of higher learning illegalized many type of gatherings which are not academic or recreational in nature due to strikes and student unrests as a result of such gatherings, publications therefore remain the main way that any individual can use to communicate to members of the institutions.
Higher education publication provides a forum where issues affecting higher education in the country are discussed. It provides an avenue that can be used by those in higher education to channel their views towards the management and running institutions of higher education. The issues discussed range from the civil rights of the students, the school management and the teaching staff. Some petty issues are also discussed in such institutional publications. However major issues that are discussed are complains by players on the ways that educational institutions are being run.
Given that there are different players in higher education, equally there are different publications in high education targeting the different players. There are publications that only target student body; others target the top management of institutions while others target the teaching and subordinate members of higher education institutions. There are also those which serve all the members of the institutions of higher learning.
As earlier mentioned, different players in institutions of higher learning have diverse interests. These different interests have made it possible for the creation of different professional bodies to be established. The professional bodies ensure that their members’ interests in the academics are fully represented. They also ensure that their members are fully informed of the current developments in the education sector. This is achieved through publications to the members of their professional body. One of such matters that professional bodies ensure that their members are fully informed is legal issues. Professional bodies ensure that their members are aware of how legal and constitutional and legal issues affect them (Janosik 2005). Many professional associations also dedicate parts of their organizational websites to legal matters that can affect their members. A good example of such associations is the case of Association of Student Judicial Affairs which publishes newsletters to its members on recent court rulings that involved some of the members of its professional body (Janosik 2005). The authors of such publications always restate the facts of the cases and bases on the rulings of the courts; they give an indication of what the member of the given professional body can do when in such situation. Such situations may have occurred in a long time and they may not happen in the near future but all in all will help the members handle similar situations should they ever occur. A good example of such situations is how students handle the different situations in their daily lives. For example such “hot” topics as student violence, racism in educational institutions, hate and hate speeches in educational institutions, drug use, and possession of weapons have always attracted the attention of all those in the educational sector. The law expects the different players in the educational sector to handle these issues in different ways. It is therefore the responsibility of the professional associations to advice their members on what is expected of them s when handling such situations (Kaplin, & Lee, 2007).
Other publications in higher education only focus on what happens in daily live in institutions of higher learning. They are institutionally based news and aim at informing specific target audience and on events in the institutions. Such publication provide information which in most cases are campus based and may be of no particular importance to anyone outside such institutions. Mostly, such publications are run by students and often are moderated by the administration to ensure that the publications may not be used for the wrong reasons.
Other professional publications of higher education only focus on providing career guidance and advice to its members. However, discipline and pedagogical publications only focus on providing academic based materials for use by its members. Good examples of such publications are publications related to medicine that always provide periodic information on new knowledge in the field. Such knowledge includes newly discovered medicine and clinical procedures which have been proven by research to be effective in handling various medical conditions. Another example is the case of anthropological journals which update its members on the different discoveries from the various archeological sites in the world.
Some professional high educational publications are for news and may contain only accounts of the procedures of the professional body meetings, conferences and conventions. They are designed to update the absent members on what went on in the meetings that they did not attend. They also update the members on the rules and regulations of their professional body and laws that govern the profession. They also advertise current jobs in the profession.
Higher educational publications occupy a centre role in academic life. They provide an avenue that can be used for discussing the emerging issues in scholarly work, space for advertisement and performing general news to the players in higher education. They are also a tool for advertisement by institutions and individuals.
Janosik, S. M (2005), Anticipating Legal issues in Higher Education. NASPA Journal, Vol. 42, no.4, pg- 401-414
Kaplin, W. & Lee, B. (2007). The Law of Higher Education. 4th Ed. (Student Version), Jossey-Bass
McGrail, M. R., Rickard, C. R & Jones, R. (2006). Publish or perish: a systematic review of interventions to increase academic publication rates. Higher Education. Research and Development 2(1) (2006), pp. 19–35
Teodorescu, D. (2000). Correlates of faculty publication productivity: a cross-national analysis. Higher Education 39(2000), pp. 201–222.