ACPA Call for Proposals: Thought Papers

The ACPA Publications Board is seeking your inspiration, creativity, and ideas for publication in Thought Papers. Thought Papers is a peer reviewed, online publication more nimble than a journal, designed to disseminate your ideas relatively quickly.

Overview
Our profession would benefit from your cutting-edge ideas and thoughts about strengthening, challenging, and clarifying our profession. There are many ways to think about topics for Thought Papers. Papers might include:

  • Leading edge issues that are challenging and interesting to those in student affairs and higher education.  
  • Guidance for the student affairs community on an issue — often a “hot topic” kind of issue — that has met with some controversy, lack of direction, or concern.
  • Consideration of an issue from new voices, lenses, or perspectives.
  • Background information about a current issue so that professionals can approach the issue in a more informed manner.
  • Blending of theory and practice, or application of theory to practice.
  • Attention to an issue that our profession has yet to address sufficiently, or at all.

A Thought Paper is a relatively brief work (up to 5,000 words, or 5-6 pages). The editors are particularly interested in reviewing the work of first time authors. The ACPA Publications Board is an excellent place for first time writers to receive coaching and support as they move through the writing process.

Thought Papers are a good publication outlet for commissions, standing committees, directorates, and other groups.

Audience
You are writing a Thought Paper for all student affairs professionals—your paper may be especially useful for those who want to remain current quickly, such as new professionals, preparation program faculty, students, senior student affairs officers, legislative staff members, and association executives. Thought Papers published online offer easy access to your ideas. Your ideas expressed with clarity and focus offer easy access to readers.

Content of Thought Papers

Each issue on which you might write a paper is different and so the approach to that issue may differ across Thought Papers.

We encourage you to consider many formats in addition to text. These may include drawings, poetry, symbols, artwork, music, photographs, photovoice, and other formats that express and communicate your thoughts about student affairs and higher education.

For those who find outlines helpful, one way to structure a Thought Paper might be as follows:

Introduction
Provide a very brief “executive summary” of the issue including why this issue is important to student affairs and higher education. An executive summary provides an overview of the topic. Subsequent sections of the paper provide more details beyond the brief overview and summary.

Overview of the issue and of controversies associated with the issue
Your Thought Paper might lay out the landscape of the issue and most especially help the reader through the controversial or challenging parts of the issue. Think to yourself “what will help the reader understand this important issue? Would a story, example, or quoted narrative assist the reader to imagine or feel the issue or controversy more deeply?" Finally, offer context for the issue using student affairs history, theory, and/or current practice.

Suggested approach to the issue by you or your entity as part of the larger association.
Write your paper as though you are offering ACPA and student affairs the helpful professional guidance or ideas you (or your group) wish to put forth. Be especially mindful of the challenges you have outlined in the previous section. How do your suggestions address those issues?

Resources
Include citations when appropriate as well as suggested resources for further assistance. Help the reader to pursue the issue knowledgeably.

Guidelines for Authors

To expedite your review, please:

  • Adhere to the APA 6th edition style guide as closely as possible. Provide clear rationale if there
    is a need to deviate from APA; for example, to show cultural respect, evolving language, creative
    expression, and other reasons.
  • Write up to 5,000 words (5-6 pages)
  • Use Microsoft Word
  • Include name, e-mail address, and institutional affiliation/location for all co-authors on a separate title page
  • Mask your document for peer review (remove author names using the Microsoft Word function File-Inspect Document)

Author Responsibilities

Original Work
Authors should submit work that is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. If, after submission, the work is accepted for publication or self-published elsewhere, authors must notify ACPA in writing. By submitting, the authors certify that they have written consent for use of any recognizable photographs, images, or any other non-text representations.

Human Subjects
When research involves human subjects, the author must ensure, and indicate on submission, that the study has IRB approval. In the case that authors did not obtain IRB approval, they should provide a detailed explanation.

Plagiarism
Plagiarism is serious. All manuscripts are reviewed for plagiarized passages prior to acceptance. Please ensure that you properly cite all information taken from outside sources, and that you compose your thoughts in your own words. All instances of plagiarism will be returned to the authors for correction and may be cause for removal of the manuscript from consideration.

Proofreading
Please proofread your manuscript carefully, and ask others to proofread for you—it is common for authors to miss our own errors. Please submit your manuscript after you consider it in final form and ready for review.

Submission
Editors accept documents for review on a rolling basis.

Please submit your manuscript to ACPA using this form.

Contact
If you have questions about Thought Papers, or wish to discuss your ideas for a Thought Paper, please contact Susan Longerbeam at susan.longerbeam@louisville.edu or Alicia Fedelina Chávez at afchavez@unm.edu.