Sharing Insights: KIITE team guest-edit special edition of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice

Building upon the growing institutional reputation of Keele University’s Academic Reading Retreat provision, and 2019’s ‘Becoming Well Read’ reading symposium, Angela Rhead and Dr Chris Little, Learning Developers in the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE), have curated and guest-edited a special edition of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice. This edition brings together international research on the development of academic reading practices at university, featuring a truly international perspective with papers from colleagues in Ireland, Australia and a number of UK universities.  

The special edition includes eight original pieces of educational research and a book review, with papers grouped into two thematic areas. The first four papers explore views and perceptions of academic reading from students, academics, librarians and learning developers. The edition then offers four further papers, which focus on approaches to teaching academic reading practices in universities. 

Finally, Georgina Spencer, Academic Developer within KIITE, reviews a new addition to the Macmillan Study Skills Series, ‘Reading at University’, by Jamie Q Roberts and Caitlin Hamilton, to complete this special edition.

Angela Rhead, Learning Developer and Teaching Fellow in KIITE comments: 

“This special issue marks another step on our quest to bring attention to reading as a principal academic practice. After the development of Academic Reading Retreats, which emerged from learning development workshops at Keele, and their positive reception at local and national educational research conferences, we convened the first Becoming Well Read academic reading symposium in 2019. The success of the symposium and the interest generated across the sector inspired us to propose this special issue. We are already looking forward to next year’s symposium and hope that this focused collection of papers will add momentum to the increasing attention given to this aspect of academic literacy.” 

In their Editorial - Becoming Well Read, Angela and Chris introduce this significant yet overlooked aspect of academic literacies. Although academic reading is its own practice, quite distinct from reading for narrative purposes, it is often overlooked and subordinated to writing in the development of academic literacies at university. Research into student and staff perspectives around academic reading are therefore fundamental to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by those planning teaching and learning.  

Dr Chris Little, Learning Developer and Teaching Fellow in KIITE comments:  

“This has been quite a journey. It has been an invaluable process for us. Not only will we have this wonderful artefact to call back to, but it has connected us to a network of scholars we probably would not have encountered otherwise. From our authors and peer-reviewers, we have worked with over 20 different HE institutions, in the UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland. This has added a real global perspective to the special edition, of which we are particularly proud, but also extended links and represented KIITE across the global HE sector.” 

You can read the full special edition here: Becoming Well Read: Charting the complexities of academic reading and navigating the reading journeys of undergraduate and postgraduate students