ISLDN – SJL group: update and next steps


There has been a very encouraging response to my recent request for all those with some past involvement to commit to future engagement in some form – see my previous post.

A full list of those who have replied to me is included here.

If you haven’t responded back to me yet, but intend to, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

This post is intended to bring every one up to date and also to suggest a possible further course of action, not previously agreed.

The notion of ‘3 groups’  that are not set in stone, but act as a way of organising ourselves for the moment, seems to have worked well enough.  Several people have come forward and committed to provide a case study principal(s) – this effectively creates a ‘Cohort 2’ group – about which, more shortly.

I have also had offers from Bernie Grummell and Micheal Wood to join me in a ‘theory group’ (basically a lit search and review group).

So . . . all three groups are established, with the potential for others to join as I get more responses to the original email.

Next steps (agreed):

We have 2 ‘actions’ agreed from the UCEA meeting in Denver:

  1. We meet at AERA 2013 (San Francisco April/May) for a planning meeting.
  2. We submit a proposal for a symposium to the BELMAS conference in Edinburgh.  This symposium would involve the same presenters as in Denver, but would present the ‘next stage’ of the project (basically a decision to ‘pair’ cases and to undertake some explicitly comparative work).

Next steps (proposed):

Given the response I have had to my email inviting people to commit to one of the 3 groups it is clear that there is a significant group of people who want to be involved, but who have not yet undertaken any case research (although in some cases, people have).

In light of this, and recognising discussions we had at UCEA, I would like to suggest that anyone involved in ‘Cohort 2’ work considers submitting a proposal for a symposium at ECER (Istanbul, September 2013).  There are clearly enough people doing ‘Cohort 2’ work to be able to organise a symposium as per the one we presented in Denver. The proposal for that session has already been developed – see here.  Certainly, there is the possibility of another SJL symposium based on a diverse range of countries (China, England, Ireland, Israel (Arab and Jewish contexts), Turkey and possibly others).

At Denver we discussed the ECER conference, and decided against submitting a proposal as those at Denver felt they had enough work on.  However, if ‘Cohort 2’ colleagues want to submit then this would be great at lots of levels – it would give the Network a profile at ECER, and also bring ‘Cohort 2’ people firmly into the fold.  Additionally, and for information, ECER is an excellent conference – a nice atmosphere and with a good profile for Leadership issues. Several ISLDN colleagues attend with other hats on.

In my view, to make this happen, we would need a minimum of 4 network members to want to do this.  Therefore, in order to establish if you are interested in being part of the submission can you email me and let me know if you want to be involved.  Please do this by 15th December.  This could be interest from any member, but with priority given to those who were not involved in Denver [see below for a description of the session format we used at UCEA]. If there is sufficient interest, I will co-ordinate the submission of the proposal (closing date is 1st February).


  1. We are doing our best to move the project along and involve everyone.  We recognise that for lots of different reasons it is not easy for many network members to attend the various conferences where we meet. Please don’t feel you are ‘out of the loop’ or your views don’t count.  When we meet we have very complex discussions (we don’t see each other very often!) and in order to move things forward we need to take decisions.  But please be assured the aim is always to keep people involved and informed.  If you weren’t at a meeting, but you have views about how we should progress, please use this blog and the ‘comments’ to share your views.  Our ‘remote’ nature is what make the project so exciting – but also challenging!
  2. A gentle reminder – we have spent alot of time developing research questions and interview protocols.  We have agreed as a group that it is important for the integrity of the project that we all do the same work in very broadly the same way. If you are undertaking a case study – please follow the process as set out here.
  3. We have had some discussion about broadening the project to include new cases, and especially from areas where the project is not currently represented. If you are aware of colleagues who may want to join the network, and in particular, who can contribute cases from areas currently not represented, do please encourage them to contact me.

Best wishes,


[Session format at UCEA, Denver.  This symposium was intended to generate high levels of audience participation – which it did effectively.  Each presenter was asked to provide a ‘headline’ finding from their case study in relation to each of the 4 man project questions.  Each presenter had 5 minutes to do this (no powerpoints).  Each presenter summarised their points on a single side of paper, for distribution at the symposium.  The presentations were followed by open discussion.  This worked very well, encouraged good interaction between presenters and audience and could easily be replicated at ECER with new cases].

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3 Responses to ISLDN – SJL group: update and next steps

  1. Charlie Slater says:

    Howard, I think you have done a fine job of creating the three groups: cohort 1, cohort 2 and the literature review group. It is great to see the additional interest after UCEA Denver.

  2. It would be good if we could get a session at the ECER conference organised from the Cohort 2 group – we’ll see Charlie.

  3. It looks like the ECER proposal is a distinct possibility – several network members have come forward to indicate interest. More details to follow …

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