Doctoral Students Create Academic Journal Devoted to Higher Education Leadership

Doctoral Students Create Academic Journal Devoted to Higher Education Leadership

April 14, 2022

University of Colorado Denver’s new Open Educational Resource (OER) journal, Cases on Leadership for Equity and Justice in Higher Education (CLEJHE), is an academic, peer-review journal (Denver, Colorado) devoted to the rapid dissemination of case studies involving higher education leadership. It is run by an editorial board and peer review team of doctoral students, and a faculty oversight committee in CU Denver School of Education & Human Development’s (SEHD) Leadership for Educational Equity-Higher Education EdD program. The journal is available through a Creative Commons license to support a greater global exchange of knowledge in higher education.

The production of Volume 1 of the journal came together quickly and successfully, even during the pandemic. The current editorial board consisting of Higher Education doctoral students including Dan Lawrence, Jacquelyn Ray, and Brian DeLevie, also an associate professor in CU Denver’s College of Arts and Media have set a goal of publishing the journal biannually. The team enjoyed the shared leadership model of the journal. It helped bring together students and faculty from multiple cohorts of the doctoral program as authors, reviewers, advisors, and editors. “Serving as editors has given us a privileged vantage point into the current issues and challenges facing our field,” said Dan Lawrence, Director of Library Services for the Community College of Aurora. “It has been an honor to work on an open access publication that has the potential to encourage the use of equity-focused cases in higher education leadership studies.”

EdD students Jennifer Husum, Erin Hutchinson, and Janell Oberlander-Haefs provided further editorial support for the production.

Student journals of this type are common in law schools, but they are rare in higher education doctoral programs. “I’m not aware of another student-run journal in higher education exclusively,” said Scott Bauer, co-interim Dean of and faculty member in SEHD’s ’s Leadership for Educational Organizations program. “We made a commitment to use cases as a part of our signature pedagogy in our Higher Education concentration. Students write cases as part of their learning experience in one of their first courses in the program. The creation of the journal naturally dovetailed.” 

The journal includes novel higher education case studies that are written to be accessible to wide audiences including students and faculty. EdD students and their faculty advisors solicit manuscript submissions, provide scholarly feedback, edit, piece together, and publish the journal. CLEJHE follows the double-blinded peer review policy where the identity of the author is not revealed to the reviewers and vice versa. This process helps students experience providing or accepting peer review advice and allows them to share their scholarly writing. Every case study was reviewed by at least three people, primarily students, and at least one faculty member or advisory board member.

CLEJHE is the first doctoral level student-run open access journal published through CU Denver. The first volume’s content includes cases on organizational change, student enrollment, change management, organizational leadership and student success. Two of the three editorial board members have library science backgrounds and therefore know the ins and outs of online publishing.

Diane Hegeman, member of the journal’s faculty oversight committee and program faculty member, sees immense value in open access higher education case studies: “As tuition and textbook prices increase for students at all levels, creating OERs can help minimize costs for students everywhere. Our goal is to provide current and relevant cases that apply to higher education issues of today and using this format allows us to do so without using textbooks that become outdated quickly. Cases with this amount of depth and breadth can be used as teaching tools. They are extremely hard to find in higher ed contexts.”

The journal production is made possible through the work of Brad Hinson, Dennis DeBay, Remi Kalir, and Sabina Sariyska in ThinqStudio and two OER grants from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), totaling $60,000 received in 2020 and 2022. The grants have solidified the required technology infrastructure to produce the journal and to bring additional online publications on board for what the university is calling ThinqStudio Open Press. OER is a core goal of the new digital education strategy at CU.

“We’re thrilled to see our OER grant program come to life through CU Denver’s graduate student led open journal,” said Dr. Kim Poast, Chief Student Success and Academic Affairs Officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “As a faculty member in the higher education for educational equity program, it is even more inspiring to witness the convergence of state level policy, institutional practice and scholarship. We look forward to the expansion of this important work.”  

Individuals interested in submitting case studies for consideration should submit by the September 26 deadline for publication on December 31, 2022. Submission guidelines can be found at Volume 2 is scheduled for release in late summer of 2022. 

To access CLEJHE and download free higher education case studies, visit: