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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Submission Guidelines

The Toolbox is a bimonthly electronic newsletter offering innovative learner-centered strategies for empowering college students to achieve greater success.

Submit an Article

All Toolbox articles should be submitted online.


Suggested Topics

COVID-19's Impact on Classroom Instruction 

How are you and your colleagues adapting to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus? What techniques, tools, and strategies have been most useful in aiding your transition to online instruction and student engagement? Share your ideas.

The Toolbox's primary purpose is to provide practical strategies for improving teaching and learning. Articles on topics related to classroom instruction are welcome, including:

  • Faculty–student relationships
  • Principles and practices of effective course design
  • Active-learning strategies for face-to-face venues
  • Applications of digital technology to face-to-face and online venues
  • Alternative strategies to assess student learning
  • Strategies and techniques for meeting the learning needs of diverse student populations

The Toolbox does not publish product endorsements, textbook reviews, pure theory or opinion pieces, or articles without practical application.


Toolbox readers include full-time and adjunct faculty; academic advisors; and administrators focused on faculty development, teaching and learning, academic success, and the first college year.


The style of The Toolbox tends to be informal and conversational. The content is presented in a manner that intentionally links theory with practice. More important, contributors present evidence-based practices in higher education in an accessible manner that allows faculty to easily apply those practices to their own courses and teaching. Articles, tables, figures, and references should adhere to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition) style. In addition:

  • Typically, Toolbox articles include no more than 3-5 references.
  • Active voice, third person is the preferred writing style.
  • Statements or analysis should be evidence-based.
  • Submissions should be uploaded as Microsoft Word documents.


Original articles should be no longer than 1,500 words. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for length.

What We're Looking For

Many topics addressed in The Toolbox lend themselves to a similar approach. Below are some suggested elements of an article:

  • Strategies for tackling issues and problems in the classroom, with an emphasis on helping faculty think through the process and improving student success. There are few one-size-fits-all descriptions, so be detailed and descriptive as needed (in 1,500 words or fewer).
  • References to professional literature concerning the issue/problem. What questions have researchers raised?
  • Examples of classroom practices that can transfer to a range of course types (e.g., If a strategy was used in a first-year seminar, how might it also benefit students in a biology course?)
  • A focus on technology and its application to learning methods in and outside the classroom
  • An eye toward the future of teaching and learning (i.e., Will this strategy still be applicable in five years?)

Sample Issue 


Articles shall not have been registered for copyright or published elsewhere prior to publication in The Toolbox. Images are welcome and must be accompanied by a written release from the photographer or copyright owner, giving the National Resource Center permission to publish the images.

Toolbox Production Schedule

Issue Date Submission Deadline
February 2021 December 9, 2020
April 2021 February 12, 2021
June 2021 April 9, 2021

Editorial Review

Following an initial review by the editor, authors will receive a preliminary response as to the appropriateness of the proposed article for publication. This may include suggestions for revising the manuscript, if necessary. Manuscripts accepted for publication typically are published within six months of submission.

Submit an Article

All Toolbox articles should be submitted online.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.