We have a large and active community of members on the Guardian Higher Education Network, many of whom write blogs and comment pieces for us. We value these contributions enormously – you are the real experts in the higher education sector, and our coverage is enhanced by your insider experience of how things work on the ground.
How to come up with an idea
Be fresh. When you’re thinking about what to offer, remember that readers want something unusual, something they’ve not read before. You’re looking for an unusual topic or a fresh approach to an old theme.
We are interested in submissions about all aspects of life in the sector from the point of view of everyone working there – academics, policymakers, planners, librarians, estate managers, early career researchers, administrators, those providing student services… the list could go on for a very long time.
Higher education network
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And which topics are good? We are interested in everything from the political to the personal, the financial to the frivolous. How is policy changing, and how does this affect your work? How do you feel about your place in the university – and what could be done to improve conditions? Tell us about funding, publishing, planning, expanding, recruiting, managing, branding, going global, widening access, researching, evaluating success, gender inequality, mental health, teaching, sustainability, and the social scene.
The best topics tend to be tight and focused, with lots of color and examples. So don’t pitch “the state of higher education today,” and do pitch “our vice-chancellor makes us all do salsa on a Friday night.”
How to pitch
So how do you get to be published in the Guardian? You begin by pitching us an idea. These ideas can range from the deeply personal to something more like a traditional news comment piece.
Think about whether you want to write anonymously – you certainly can, in our Anonymous Academics section. It allows for a welcome frankness. But having a bylined piece on the Guardian site has clear benefits and will boost your online profile.
Have a clear argument
You need to have a strong point to make, something readers will be eager to discuss in the comments section. Outline your argument in your pitch.
Explain how you will make your case
If you are going to cite previous articles on the subject or base it on new research, we need to know. If you get the go-ahead to write the piece, you must make sure that anything you assert as fact is backed up by links.
Introducing other voices into your piece can work well because it adds variety and nuance. You can bring in a range of opinions on a topic and back up your own views by having someone else say it. So if you are going to include quotes, please tell us who will be in your piece.
How to write your piece
If we like your idea – and if no one else has pitched the same thing – then we’ll discuss it with you, make further suggestions as to how you can develop it, and ask you to go ahead and put your piece together.