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Developing Professional Capital through Systems Approaches to Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Professional Capital and Community

Using Systems Approaches for Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice in Education: Developing Professional Capital


Katina Pollock is an Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy in the field of Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies at the Faculty of Education, Western University, and Co-Director of the Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research, Western University. Examples of editing and authorship experience: Recently co-edited book, How School Leaders Contribute to Student Success (Springer); Editor for two Special Issues of International Studies in Educational Administration; Co-editor for Special Issue for the Comparative and International Education Journal and the Canadian Journal for Educational Administration and Policy.

Carol Campbell, Associate Professor of Leadership and Educational Change and Co-Director, Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Examples of editing and authorship experience: Co-editor for Special Issue of Educational Research; Co-editor of the UK section of the International Handbook of Urban Education (Springer); Editor of the book Developing Inclusive Schooling (Bedford Way Papers); and co-author of the following books – Empowered Educators (Jossey Bass); Empowered Educators in Canada (Jossey Bass) and Teacher Learning and Leadership (Routledge)

Erica van Roosmalen, Director of the Education Research & Evaluation Strategy Branch and the Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research with the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is an Adjunct Professor of Practice, Masters of International Education (School Leadership), Charles Sturt University. Since 1996, Erica has been a leader in building and engaging multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary partnerships of researchers, practitioners and community members in the fields of health, social services and education, provincially, nationally and internationally. A dynamic educational leader and change agent with experience in elementary, secondary and post-secondary contexts. Erica works at the intersection of research, practice and policy ensuring research evidence is meaningful, scalable and practical to a wide variety of stakeholders. 

Call for Papers

Researchers, policymakers, and research-practitioners in education or related public policy areas  are invited to send manuscripts for a peer-reviewed Special Issue of the Journal of Professional Capital and Community (JPCC).  Consistent with the aims and scope of JPCC, this special issue focuses on how using systems approaches to evidence and knowledge mobilization can help develop professional capital in K–12 schools—specifically, with the aim to enhance students’ learning, well-being, achievement, and engagement.


Writing in the field of health care, Best and Holmes (2010) traced the development of knowledge-to-action models: Beginning with linear models that involve one-way research-to-practice processes, the models evolved to a second generation of approaches that involve partnerships and networks to engage in knowledge exchange. Without attention to the wider system(s) in which knowledge development and evidence use are being attempted, however, challenges may persist. As a result, Best and Holmes (2010) proposed a third model that incorporates system approaches—approaches that involve interaction, co-creation, and implementation of evidence throughout all levels of a system and proactively identify and address barriers to developing, mobilizing and applying evidence in practice. Networks have also become an integral part of many system approaches, and can promote collegiality within and among professional cultures and communities. Although systems approaches hold much promise, the ways in which they can advance professional capital in education are relatively underdeveloped for evidence-informed policy and practice – the integration of “professional expertise with the best external evidence from research to improve the quality of practice” (Sharples 2013, p. 7). For example, in Gough et al.’s (2011) analyses of evidence-informed policy and practice in education across Europe, out of 269 activities across 30 European countries, only 4% of activities “focused on making changes to the entire evidence-to-policy system” (Gough, Tripney, Kenny, & Buk-Berge, 2011, p. 8). Moreover, the development of professional capital involves human capital (individual talent development) social capital (collaborative working), and decisional capital (using professional judgement and expertise) (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012). Building these forms of capital simultaneously requires attention to the development of professional knowledge and use of evidence—including research—in educational decisions, policies, and practices. In public policy fields, including education, there has been pervasive and persistent interest in improving policy and practice through evidence mobilization, such as research and professional knowledge (Nutley, Morton, Jung, & Boaz, 2010).

This special issue explores and interrogates the theory, conceptualization, and impact of using systems approaches to develop professional capital through knowledge mobilization and evidence use. Specifically, we are looking for submissions that connect, critically analyze, and/or challenge these approaches to improvements in student learning and school systems.

Questions that meet the objective of the Special Issue include:

1.      How can systems approaches that use evidence and knowledge improve professional capital and/or student success?

2.      How can systems approaches to developing evidence-informed policy and practice be theorized and/or conceptualized?

3.      What empirical examples of systems approaches to knowledge development and evidence use exist? And what evidence of their successes, challenges, and impact can be provided?

4.      What structures and processes need to be in place for a systems approach to evidence and knowledge use in public education to succeed? And why? What are the challenges that may impede these structures and/or processes?

5.      How do networks and the process of networking play out in systems that use evidence and knowledge?

6.      How do various parts/levels/intermediaries/stakeholders understand and operationalize their roles in using evidence and mobilizing knowledge within a system? For example:

a.       What forms of leadership can effectively build, sustain, and/or grow systems approaches to using evidence and knowledge in public education?

b.      What kinds of policy formation and support are required to implement, sustain, and/or develop an integral systems approach to evidence and knowledge use?

c.       For professionals, what is—or could be—their role in co-developing and participating in systems for knowledge co-construction, mobilization, and application?

d.      How can various actors/stakeholders (policymakers, educators, researchers, the wider community) collaborate to advance an evidence-informed education system, and how can they do this by strengthening professional capital? 

7.      What role does evaluation play within a systems approach to evidence and knowledge use in public education? What challenges exist in measuring impact or influence? And why? What strategies are employed to overcome such challenges? For whom? With which outcomes?

The article submissions can provide schools, school districts, governments, and universities with insight into how particular aspects of and approaches to building evidence-informed systems can impact the advancement of professional capital and community in education, and ultimately students’ experiences and outcomes.

New insights presented in this special issue can also help establish and develop innovative ways to build collaborative professional cultures and communities toward evidence-informed education systems, such as new leadership and team-building frameworks.

This special issue focuses on expanding the field of professional capital and evidence-informed policy and practice with rich and applicable research, evidence, and knowledge. This volume is therefore an effort to encourage scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and community members to (a) consider more vigorous conceptual, methodological, and analytical approaches to understanding how professional capital can be developed through systems approaches to evidence use/knowledge mobilization in education; (b) probe, challenge, and/or critique the relationship(s) between systems approaches, professional capital, evidence-based approaches, and knowledge mobilization within the education sector; (c) broadly inform the fields of public policy, evidence use, and knowledge mobilization about how diverse actors and processes can work within the larger system to build professional capital beyond their assigned role(s); and (d) continue this effort for the purposes of enriching knowledge and practice in the field of evidence use/knowledge mobilization for educational policy and practice.

The editors invite manuscript submissions that feature diverse methodologies (quantitative and qualitative approaches, documentary study, action research, and conceptual development) that may include (a) theoretical, (b) policy, or (c) practice implications.

About the journal

JPCC is an international, professionally refereed, scholarly journal, reflecting the most important ideas and evidence of the nature and impact of interactions and relationships in the education profession, especially in the school sector. As such, it is of interest to those in policy development and management of higher education, as well as those within higher education institutions.

JPCC is ranked, abstracted and indexed by Clarivate Analytics' Emerging Sources Citation Indexand Scopus                    

The website lists ‘10 ways to share your published research’ ( ), including producing a video abstract. Emerald Publishing will support marketing by using it on their platforms.

Expression of Interest

Expressions of interest in the form of a 200-word abstract, including article title, author names and contact information should be submitted to by June 15, 2019 for consideration. Expression of interest is not mandatory for manuscript submission but strongly encouraged because the number of articles in the special issue is limited. Acceptance of expression of interest does not guarantee publication as manuscripts are still subject to double blind peer review.

Submission Deadline

Manuscripts will be considered if submitted by October 2019. The anticipated publication of this issue is July of 2020. 

Author Guidelines here:

Submit through:

ScholarOne Manuscripts (online submission and peer review system). Registration and access available at


Best, A., & Holmes, B. (2010). Systems thinking, knowledge and action: Towards better models and methods. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 6(2), 145–159.

Gough, D., Tripney, J., Kenny, C., & Buk-Berge, E. (2011). Evidence-informed policymaking in education in Europe: EIPEE final project report. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Nutley, S., Morton, S., Jung, T., & Boaz, A. (2010). Evidence and policy in six European countries: Diverse approaches and common challenges. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 6(2), 131–144.

Sharples, J. (2013). Evidence for the Frontline. London: Alliance for Useful Evidence [online]. Available: