​Sustaining School Improvement through School-University Partnerships during the Post-Pandemic Era​

Submission deadline: 15 October 2023


​​How do we sustain school improvement? This is an important question for those involved in school reform across many countries. Despite the existence of some research knowledge about how schools strengthen school improvement (e.g., Chapman et al., 2016; Fullan, 2009; Sahlberg, 2011), less is known about why some schools continuously improve student learning outcomes while others do not. The question is also timely since the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted and complicated the process of school improvement (e.g., disruptions due to prolonged school closure).

Sustaining school improvement has become a more important aim of school reform around the world. Since the pandemic began, school leaders and teachers in different parts of the world have been under significant pressure to maintain the daily operation of teaching and learning, while simultaneously being charged with the task of sustained school improvement. To cope with these challenges, individual schools have had to rely on staff collaboration practices. However, while collaborations within a school are important, on their own, they cannot sufficiently deliver sustainable school improvement, given the limited organisational capacity, expertise, and resources within each school.

Rather, relying heavily on within-school collaborations can paradoxically become a barrier to sustainable school improvement (Stoll & Louis, 2007). That is, without access to a range of other external collaborative supports and resources, sustaining school improvement is an overwhelming task. It is within this international context, that the current special issue pays attention to the role of a school-university partnership to sustain school improvement during the post-pandemic era. That is, the special issue aims to advance research knowledge of the role of a school-university partnership in sustainable school improvement.

The research knowledge presented by the special issue is expected to empower schools by providing research findings that illuminate how and why certain characteristics and practices of school-university partnerships contribute to the sustainability of school improvement during the post-pandemic era. Despite emerging international research evidence on the positive role that school-university partnerships play in strengthening initial teacher education (ITE) such as clinical practices, our current knowledge on school-university partnerships is still limited for the following reasons. As examples, first, existing school-university partnerships focus primarily on general clinical practice in ITE, to the exclusion of other types of partnering. Second, while informative, existing research on school-university partnerships often fail to capture the effects of a school-university partnership on a larger scale. Third, focus on the role of a school-university partnership in practicing teachers’ professional development is limited.

Finally, it seems that no existing school-university partnership and relevant research has extended its focus into whether and how a school-university partnership impacts student learning outcomes, including academic achievement and well-being. Reflecting on the substantial knowledge gaps noted above, the current special issue aims to illuminate the role of a school-university partnership in sustaining school improvement during the post-pandemic era. This special issue will, thus, contribute to advancing the global research field of school improvement.​ 

List of topic areas 

Below is the list of topic areas (but not limited to):  

  • Changing nature of school-university partnerships during the post-pandemic era 
  • Evidence linking school-university partnership to sustainable school improvement 
  • Impact of school-university partnerships on pre-service teachers’ professional experiences 
  • Impact of school-university partnerships on practicing teachers’ practices and development 
  • Impact of school-university partnerships  on various student outcomes 
  • In-depth case study of successful school-university partnerships 
  • International comparison of school-university partnerships 
  • Methodological advancements in researching school-university partnerships 
  • Meta-analysis of school university partnerships 
  • New models of school-university partnerships for ITE and/or school improvement 
  • School-university partnerships and professional learning communities​ 
  • ​School-university partnerships in action 
  • ​Theorizing school-university partnerships 
  • ​Third space in school-university partnerships​ 

Guest Editor:

Moosung Lee, Yonsei university, South Korea, [email protected]​ 

Submissions Information 

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please go to the journal homepage and select the Author Guidelines tab.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to "School-University Partnerships".  

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal. 

Click here to submit!

Key Deadlines: 

Opening date for abstracts: 18th May 2023

Closing date for abstract: ​15th August 2023

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: ​16th August 2023

Closing date for manuscripts submission: ​15th October 2023​       

Email for submission information: ​[email protected]