News and Events

SPF Board President Completes Speaking Tour

SPF Board President Lonnie Rowell recently completed a speaking tour of six universities in England. Rowell spoke on the theme “knowledge democracy and educational action research” at Edge Hill University (Ormskirk), Liverpool Hope University (Liverpool), University of Nottingham, University of Northampton, University of Cumbria (Lancaster), and Cambridge University. His talks were based on his work with SPF, the Educational Action Research Journal (EARJ), and the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA). Rowell was a co-founder and lead organizer in establishing ARNA, served two years as ARNA’s first Chair of the Executive Committee and Coordinating Group, and then coordinated ARNA’s Knowledge Mobilization initiative for two years. He is now the team leader for ARNA’s Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy initiative. His tour was supported by EARJ, with sponsorships from a number of centres, research hubs, and innovation teams at the visited universities.

The seminar in Cambridge, England, was taped and is available for viewing at this link: https://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/2862137. Thanks to the Education Reform and Innovation Team of Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education for taping the seminar. 

SPF Board President Chairs International Conference

Lonnie Rowell, SPF Board President, chaired the 6th Annual Conference of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) from June 28-30 at the University of California, San Diego. The conference included more than 100 presentations by action researchers, participatory action researchers, and practitioner-researchers from around the world and throughout the Americas. SPF was a co-sponsor of the conference. Rowell was a co-founder of ARNA and has coordinated the network’s Knowledge Mobilization efforts for the past two years.

Two projects conducted as a part of the collaboration between SPF and the La Mesa-Spring Valley Educational Foundation were presented in a symposium examining the benefits of such a collaboration and highlighting the potential of practitioner research to contribute to the knowledge base for strengthening practices in education and related professional domains. Two members of the La Mesa Spring Valley Educational Foundation, including Foundation President Karen Epler, also presented on the background and procedures of the collaboration with SPF.

Two-language publication initiative

Social Publishers Foundation now accepts submissions in German, Portuguese, and Spanish, in addition to English. When the editorial process for a non-English submission is completed, the report will be published in two languages: the Non-English version and the English version.

The initiating non-English reviewers are:
 Elia Fernández-Díaz, University of Cantabria, Cantabria, Spain, Spanish Reviewer
 Katharina Heissenberger, University College of Teacher Education, Styria, Austria, German Reviewer
 Camilo Manchola-Castillo, University of Brasília, Brasil, Portuguese Reviewer

We thank the three non-English reviewers shown above for their willingness to serve on the SPF Review Panel.

SPF will strive to add more non-English reviewers in the coming months. We would very much appreciate recommendations of other people who might be willing to review submissions in German, Portuguese, or Spanish. Further, if any of you have suggestions for other non-English reviewers beyond the initial three languages, please let us know.

New sponsorship by Educational Action Research Journal

Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) is pleased to announce that Educational Action Research: An International Journal (EARJ) has become an SPF sponsor. EARJ Coordinating Editor Dr. Andrew Townsend of the University of Nottingham, England, initiated the sponsorship as a way to show support for the Foundation’s work in promoting practitioner-research. EARJ is a peer-reviewed Journal published five times a year by Taylor & Francis. The Journal is concerned with exploring the dialogue between research and practice and publishes a range of action research and related studies in education and across the professions, with the aim of making their outcomes widely available and exemplifying the variety of possible styles of reporting. EARJ was originated within the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) in 1992. EARJ has been important in extending and strengthening this international network.

SPF is excited by this new sponsorship. According to the Foundation’s President Dr. Lonnie Rowell, “having EARJ as a sponsor demonstrates the potential for collaboration between a practitioner-research knowledge base and knowledge disseminated by a formal Journal, EARJ. Such collaborations may become the cutting edge of democratizing knowledge production and dissemination as they explore productive and equitable relations among those focused on traditional forms of scholarly productivity and those working in various knowledge domains focused on producing practice-based research evidence.”  News of the SPF-EARJ collaboration also can be found early 2018 in an editorial by Dr. Townsend, EARJ Coordinating Editor.

SPF FORMS NEW PARTNERSHIP TO ENHANCE SHARING OF PRACTITIONER RESEARCH

The Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) announces the establishment of a partnership with a university in Lincolnshire, a county in the East Midlands area of England. Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) was founded in 1862 and has roots as a teacher training college. It now offers a range of courses in education, business, psychology, sociology, sports, theology, and health and social care. The SPF-BGU partnership features a new practitioner-research project review structure to increase dissemination of research and products by teacher-practitioners through the SPF Knowledge Base. For this partnership a panel of BGU internal reviewers was formed in April 2017. The BGU internal reviewers will select quality action-research projects and MA dissertations produced by teachers and review them before practitioner-researchers submit them to SPF with the purpose of publishing their work in the SPF knowledge base. When publication applications are submitted to SPF, reviewers from the SPF review panel provide support to help enhance research products, if necessary, and communicate with the practitioner-researcher throughout the process toward publication. The partnership came about through the efforts of SPF’s Eunsook Hong and BGU’s Antony Luby, Senior Lecturer in the BGU School of Teacher Development. To date, three BGU practitioner-research projects have been published by SPF. Under the new partnership, many more will be added. SPF President Lonnie Rowell noted that such agreements provide a solid foundation for bridging gaps between research and practice and give much-deserved recognition to practitioner-researchers working to produce practice-based research evidence.

SPF Welcomes a New Member of the Advisory Board

Antony Luby is a Senior Lecturer in Teacher Development with Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, United Kingdom. During the last 30 years he has taught in a variety of settings including secondary schooling and higher education. Antony holds Masters degrees in educational research and theology from the Universities of Oxford, Strathclyde and Aberdeen. Awarded a Fellowship by Professional Record from the College of Teachers, he is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow.

Antony has published widely on various educational issues in both academic and professional journals and the educational press. An active teacher-researcher, he served on the Committee of the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland and the Executive Committee of the Scottish Educational Research Association. Antony recently served as a research impact assessor for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

SPF Funds Collaborative Action Research Grant

The Social Publishers Foundation announced today that it has selected the inaugural grant of the new Rowell Collaborative Action Research fund. The first grant is for a project in Fremont, California. The project involves collaboration between a School Counselor-in-Training, a high school Career & College Specialist, and an English Language Specialist in organizing and providing a high school to community college transition program. The project is focused on providing participating high-school seniors with knowledge and skills that will help them thrive in their educational experience once they move on to community college. The program also will provide information on the steps required for early registration in community colleges and on financial aid applications. Seven guidance lessons and workshops will be provided to participating students along with four Community College Application Labs (CCLBs), including one financial aid session for students and their parents.

According to SPF President and award donor Lonnie Rowell, the Collaborative Action Research Grant was established to “encourage the building of knowledge democracies in schools and communities.” Rowell sees the grant as contributing to what Gerald J. Pine (1934-2009), former dean of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, called “a renaissance within educational research.” As Dr. Pine put it, “collaborative action research liberates teachers to assume leadership roles as constructors of knowledge and agents of change in helping schools to become centers of inquiry.”

The first Rowell Collaborative Action Research Grant awardee can be viewed at:

Grantee Research Outcome: High School to Community College – Preparing For Transition

SPF Knowledge Base adds first project from the United Kingdom

Social Publishers Foundation President Lonnie Rowell announced today that a school-based practitioner research project from England has been added to the foundation’s knowledge base. The project, completed by a primary school teacher in the town of Bawtry, which is in South Yorkshire, England, focused on involving parents and students in re-visioning and re-organizing the school’s approach to homework. SPF Secretary/Treasurer Eunsook Hong notified teacher Claire Dunn that her project had been published and commented that “Folks reading your publication will appreciate the effort put into this whole-school approach to homework involving all three players key stakeholder groups – students, parents, and educators.”

Ms. Dunn has been a teacher at Bawtry Mayflower for 8 years and first became involved with practitioner research at the urging of the school’s head teacher. Although acknowledging that her first project was tied to an expectation that all teachers at the school engage in action research, she saw the impact the project had on the children in her class and on her own sense of professional development and now sees practitioner research as an ongoing component of her classroom practice.

Her project report can be viewed at: https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/knowledge-base/engaging-children-and-parents-in-homework/

SPF President Leads International Handbook Project

SPF President Lonnie Rowell is Lead Editor for the just-published Palgrave International Handbook of Action Research. Rowell led a team of four editors in a three-year plus initiative that resulted in a major contribution to the field of action research and participatory research. The Handbook has 49 chapters and includes 86 authors from around the world. A virtual Book Launch event was held December 1, 2016 with participation by the four editors and a number of authors linked together from the US, England, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia. The book is available in eBook form and hard cover. Publication information is available at: https://inthandbookactionresearch.wordpress.com/.

District Educational Foundation Commits Funds for Practitioner Research in Collaboration with Social Publishers Foundation

September 6, 2016. The Board of Directors of the La Mesa-Spring Valley Educational Foundation (LMSVEF) has voted to allocate $20,000 in support of practitioner research to be conducted by the district’s teachers, counselors, librarians and other educators in conjunction with the Social Publishers Foundation (SPF). The LMSVEF Board expressed enthusiastic support for the new partnership with SPF and is excited by the collaboration between district educators and the experienced researchers who volunteer with SPF to support educators wishing to engage in practitioner-research and publish the results of their projects. The initiative is called the La Mesa-Spring Valley Educational Foundation Education Research Grant Program. Proposals for funding will be reviewed by a joint committee of LMSVEF Board members and SPF Board members and Review panel members.

On September 8, the first of two workshops on applying for grants under this initiative was conducted by SPF Board President Lonnie Rowell and LMSV Educational Foundation board members Cheryl Neubecker and Karen Epler. The workshop was held at the La Mesa Academy of the Arts, with a variety of LMSV educators, including teachers, intervention specialist, and school librarian from five district schools attending the workshop. The goals of the workshop included (a) review of limitations of current approaches to educational research; (b) introduction of new approaches to practice-evidence in K-12 education, and (c) introduction of LMSVEF Education Research Grant and crowdfunding of practitioner-research projects and publication of practitioner-research through SPF.

SPF WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Fabiola Bagula has been selected as the newest board member for Social Publishers Foundation. Dr. Bagula is the Area 6 Superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District and is responsible for 29 schools ranging in levels from Preschool through twelfth grade. Prior to becoming an Area Superintendent, she was principal for ten years at Balboa Elementary School and received considerable recognition for her work in building a supportive environment for teachers and strengthening student success. Before working in school administration, she was a classroom teacher and teaching coach. Dr. Bagula was the recipient of the Cesar Chavez Visionary Leadership Award for 2013. She received her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of San Diego in 2016. Her dissertation examined the leadership experiences of Latina school principals in Southern California. She is certificated in “Stakeholder Centered Coaching” from the Marshall Goldsmith Group and also certified in “Leading Dialogue Through Conflict” with the Public Conversations Project. Dr. Bagula is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Learning & Teaching at University of San Diego and leads seminars and workshops on Principal Leadership, Building Collaboration, Professional Learning Communities, Teachers as Researchers, and Organizational Culture. She was a founding member of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA).

SPF REVIEW PANEL GROWS

The Review Panel of the Foundation has expanded to 23 members. The Review Panel participates in the review of submitted proposals for research and product development. Members of the Panel are volunteers committed to supporting practitioner research and to the maintenance of high standards for practitioner research. The Panel reflects a broad range of experiences in education and other domains of professional practice as well as in-depth knowledge and expertise related to serving children, youth and families in public and private non-profit community-based settings. As Foundation Board President Lonnie Rowell describes it, “SPF greatly appreciates the willingness of so many individuals to give back to their professions and their communities by supporting the development of practitioner-based knowledge production.”

SPF Welcomes New Advisory Board Members

Mary McAteer of the United Kingdom and Bruce Damons of South Africa are the newest members of the SPF Advisory Board. The two educators were added by SPF Board action on July 30, 2016. They bring considerable experience to the Advisory Board and will focus much of their effort on expanding the presence of SPF in the UK and in Africa. Welcome, Mary and Bruce!!

Mary McAteer is Director of Mathematics Specialist Practice Programs at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. She has 30+ years experience as a teacher and university educator. Her research has a strong focus on action research as practice-development, in particular she is interested in educational practice as “practical wisdom.” She is a long-standing member of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN), and for the past 5 years has been a member of the CARN Coordinating Group. She also serves as the CARN Liaison to the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA).

Bruce Damons co-founded the Manyano Network of Community Schools. Currently, he is Director of the Centre for the Community School and a lecturer at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Prior to his appointment at NMMU, he was the Principal of Sapphire Road Primary School in Port Elizabeth for 15 years. Among his many awards for his work in education he was the 2005 recipient of the Batho Pele award (from the Premier’s Office) and was the 2008 National Teaching Awards Winner for Excellence in Primary School Leadership. Bruce is also the Vice President, South Africa, of the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL).

NEW GRANTS ANNOUNCED FOR FALL 2016

Beginning in Fall 2016, SPF is offering two new grants. A new grant for school counselors working in collaboration with classroom teachers and/or other educators at their site is The Rowell Collaborative Action Research Grant. This grant provides up to $1,000 in funding annually and has been established to support collaborative action research in K-12 education. Eligible collaborations involve at least one school counselor and at least one non-school counseling educational practitioner, such as a classroom teacher, a school librarian or a school nurse, or a practitioner in a community-based non-profit organizational setting. Projects can be proposed for a minimum of four months up to one year. Projects are selected on a first-come first-serve basis beginning in the first month of the school year. Additional information can be found at: https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/grants/start-up/#rowell .

SPF also has established a new grant in collaboration with the La Mesa-Spring Valley Educational Foundation (LMSVEF). This grant, The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Practice-Based Research Grant, has been established through a joint effort of SPF board members and the LMSVEF. Grants will be awarded to educators in the district, including classroom teachers, behavioral intervention specialists, school librarians, and others through a proposal submission and review process.  Projects funded under this SPF Special Grant category can last a minimum of four months up to a maximum of one academic year. Each year features a designated theme, and for the 2016-2017 academic year, the theme is “Improving student engagement in learning through diverse media.” The funding will be available beginning in Fall 2016. Additional information can be found at: https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/grants/start-up/.

New Advisory Board Member

Dr. Elena Polush became a member of the SPF Advisory Board on April 16, 2016. She joined current Advisory Board members, Drs. Kevin Crehan, Candace Kay, Margaret Riel, and Kathleen Bergquist, and Area Superintendent Fabiola Bagula. Dr. Polush is currently Assistant Professor at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, in the department of Educational Studies. She will lead in the areas of mentoring and Youth Participatory Action Research. Welcome, Dr. Polush!

Workshop at the San Diego Education Association

On January 25, 2016, the Foundation will facilitate a workshop entitled Empowering Educators Through New Approaches to Producing Practice-Based Evidence to educators in San Diego. The objectives of the workshop include: (a) review of limitations of current approaches to educational research; (b) introduction of new approaches to practice-evidence in K-12 education, and (c) introduction of crowdfunding of practitioner-research projects and publication of practice-based evidence in K-12 educational settings through SPF. All educators in San Diego City Schools are welcome to participate in the workshop on Monday, January 25th, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., 10393 San Diego Mission Road, #100, San Diego, CA 92108. Please RSVP to Lonnie Rowell at lrowell8881@gmail.com.

New Advisory Board Member

Dr. Kathleen Bergquist became a member of the SPF Advisory Board on June 4, 2015. She joined current Advisory Board members, Drs. Kevin Crehan, Candace Kay, and Margaret Riel, and Area Superintendent Fabiola Bagula. Dr. Bergquist is currently Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the department of Social Work. She brings new perspectives to SPF functions and activities. Welcome, Dr. Bergquist!

Board members to lead workshop

On Saturday, May 9, Board members Rowell, Hong, Martin, Trescott, and Breen will facilitate a workshop on SPF at the upcoming conference of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) in Toronto, Canada. The workshop will introduce participants to SPF’s crowdfunding and knowledge development platform (publish-your-work) for practitioner research, action research, and participatory research.

Board members will introduce the website and its tools and will guide participants through the application development and crowdfunding preparation process, focusing on preparation and submission of research and development proposals. Participants will learn how to publish already-completed-projects to the website’s knowledgebase that is being established as a comprehensive collection of practitioner research from around the world. We hope that conference participants will come learn about the Foundation and its addition to action research in the 21st Century and will become a part of our growth!

For any of you at the conference, please consider coming by and joining in the workshop.

San Diego Education Association endorses SPF

On February 18, 2015, the Representative Council of the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) voted to endorse the Social Publishers Foundation. The endorsement came after a presentation to the SDEA Council by SPF Board Members Lonnie Rowell and Ron Breen. This council includes elected representatives from each school site within the San Diego Unified School District. Prior to the presentation and Council vote, the SDEA Board of Directors voted to support a recommendation of endorsement by the union’s Representative Council in January 2015.

Established in 1922, SDEA is the second largest education union in California and represents more than 7,000 educators working in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 in San Diego Unified. SDEA is affiliated with the California Teachers Association, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO. San Diego Unified is the 19th largest school district in the US with more than 200 schools.

The Foundation is pleased to have been endorsed by SDEA. We know how hard educators in America’s public school systems work. We believe that through a broad-based democratization of the knowledge associated with strengthening educational practice and implementing school reform, the needs of students, parents and educators can be addressed in a fair and well-informed manner. The answer to today’s educational challenges is not to attack educators or their unions. Rather, the answer will be found through closing the gap between research and practice and supporting the development of the practice wisdom that comes with years of experience working in education.

Soft Launch of the SPF website

The California-based Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) has initiated the soft-launch of the foundation’s website. The website supports the foundation’s mission of encouraging and supporting practitioners in education, social services, community development and healthcare in the production and dissemination of practice-based knowledge. According to Board President Lonnie Rowell, “the foundation’s approach is based on an understanding that the poor morale among educators and social service providers is not just about money. With increasing pressures associated with calls for greater accountability, those working ‘in the trenches’ of education and social services often feel left out of the conversation about best practices. Too often, ‘local’ knowledge based on accumulated practice wisdom is shown little respect.” The foundation’s view is that a more inclusive approach to knowledge production is needed in the search for creative solutions to pressing social problems in local, national, and global contexts.

The foundation’s website combines crowdfunding for practitioner-initiated research projects with knowledge mobilization and dissemination for educators and human service and healthcare providers such as classroom teachers, counselors, social workers, health care providers, and community workers. The website includes applications for crowdfunding of practitioner research projects and for publishing already completed practitioner research. In addition, practitioners also may apply for crowdfunding of product development based on previously completed practitioner research.

All work published on the foundation’s website is owned by the authors and can be published in other outlets as well. Items published in other outlets also can be published on the SPF website, provided that authors have permission to do this. The long-range goal of the foundation is to support innovation in democratizing knowledge production and dissemination. As Board President Rowell puts it, “we want teachers, counselors, youth workers, and human service providers in general to be acknowledged for the work they do and the knowledge they produce week in and week out. In short, we intend to serve those who serve our children, youth and families.”

SPF and ARNA

In August 2014, the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA) and the Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding based on their shared interest in supporting practitioner and participatory research. The agreement calls for the two groups to operate as partners in several areas, including sponsorship of ARNA annual conferences, featured presentations at ARNA conferences, the awarding of a Travel Grant by the foundation to a practitioner-researcher whose work has been featured on the SPF website, and the sharing of links on the group’s respective websites.

The ARNA Conference Committee announces THEME for ARNA 2015: Joint Action – Learning with and from one another

Action research is most often a joint enterprise where the research question is shared amongst participant researchers. When we engage in action research, we learn with and from one another. We learn about the experiences, challenges, and contexts of others, and in turn we learn more deeply about ourselves. We are influenced by the research we engage in, and we influence that same research activity because we inquire into things we care about and into problems we want to solve.

The 2015 International Conference of the Action Research Network of the Americas will ask participants to reflect on: the relationships that we build and foster in collaborative and participatory action research: the roles we play in this work together; our relationships with one another; our shared intentions and tensions; as well as the nexus of multi-membership that is inherent in the action research process.

Action research leads to joint learning. And the ARNA 2015 conference provides an international layer to this joint learning as we broaden and deepen our understandings of the transformative power of action research globally. ARNA 2015 will provoke action researchers to consider the many layers of research collaboration and action in a collegial spirit of learning with and from one another. Please join us May 8-10, 2015!

For more information, go to the ARNA website.

Online (Free) Action Research Tutorials

SPF Advisory Board Member Margaret Riel has completed the 9th in a series of twelve Action Research Tutorials. The 9th tutorial addresses the role of reflection in writing about action research. The series is available for free and can be used by individuals, groups, or action research classes. Each 6-13 minute video tutorial includes an overview of the topic, activities, and resources to support the activities. Margaret invites the sharing of other multimedia action research resources that might be featured in future updates of the tutorials. She is a strong advocate for web-based learning tools that support teaching oneself about action research. For more information, contact Margaret at mriel@pepperdine.edu or visit Research Tutorials at the Center for Collaborative Action Research.

Action Research in School Counseling

Graduate students at the University of San Diego, working in collaboration with faculty advisor Lonnie Rowell, have established a website for action research in school counseling. The website features action research projects completed by graduate students in school counseling from around North America. A growing list of Affiliate Programs includes, in addition to University of San Diego, Cal State University, East Bay, in Hayward, California; Chaminade University of Honolulu; Chapman University in Orange County, California; and Saint Marys College of California. The site also includes a variety of resources for use in conducting action research in school counseling as well as an Action Research Virtual Laboratory for sharing ideas, discussing new perspectives and conducting experiments in action research. Visit the site for further information.