During the 2013-2014 school year, our department explored ways to deepen our commitment to one another, to the program beyond our individual research, and to the field of education scholarship. To aid in the process of realizing this vision, we proposed an online space to stimulate dialogue and scholarly debate on relevant education topics.
One of the biggest hurdles we faced in developing the blog was devising a title that embodied this new department vision and adequately included the array of interests and topics in our department and in the broader realm of education. The term, “plenary” describes sessions attended by all meeting participants, often used in conference or assembly settings. We draw on the term for our blog title to signal the inclusive online space we hope to cultivate–one that invites participants from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The subtitle: Inquiry into Pedagogy, Practice, and Policy also establishes inquiry as the foundational practice we hope each post evokes.
Ultimately, we see this space as a way to mitigate the ethic of individualism common in competitive academic spaces. We foresee The Plenary as a forum for the publication of preliminary empirical or theoretical work, book reviews, commentary on pressing issues in education reform, updates from affiliated education research centers, and much more. By instituting a low-risk environment for scholarly development, we hope The Plenary will serve as a generative space for new ideas and for collaboration across faculty and students – undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students – and throughout the Social Sciences and Humanities divisions.
Our hope is that The Plenary becomes an integral part of our departmental community and a means of linking the reform and research occurring at UC Santa Cruz to the education community writ large. The Plenary’s success, however, depends on your participation, and we encourage you to visit our submission page for information on submitting. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (see right column) so you won’t miss out on new posts, which will be released on a semi-monthly basis (if not more frequently).
Again, welcome to The Plenary. We look forward to what this space will generate.
This blog is made possible in part by UC Santa Cruz’s Education Department funds received through the Blue and Gold Research Group Seed Grant Application and in response to the initial grant application: “Envisioning a Culture of Scholarly Debate: A Proposal to Institute an Education Department Blog.”