Higher Education Policy and the Teaching- Research Nexus
Date - 18 June 2014, 13.00-16:00
Venue - London Metropolitan University,166-220 Holloway Road, London, N7 8DB
Network - Higher Education Policy
This seminar will consider the often contested relationship between teaching and research in higher education. It is particularly timely given the recent call by David Willetts, Minister for Universities, for a cultural change towards a greater emphasis on teaching. The context is one in which research reputation is critical in the global prestige economy of higher education, but where designations of academics and universities as 'teaching-only' are not uncommon in an increasingly diversified and stratified HE sector.
''Can we speak of 'teaching' and 'research' any more, and what does this mean for academic work?'
William Locke, (Institute of Education University of London)
The separation of teaching and research is the result of policy and operational decisions made over some forty years or so to distinguish the way these activities are funded, managed, assessed and rewarded. This separation has gone so far that institutions and individuals that wish to, must make deliberate efforts to optimise the beneficial relationships between the two core activities. It could also be argued that the descriptive terms 'research' and 'teaching' no longer adequately capture the vast array of activities that institutions providing higher education now undertake. Yet the processes of extension, fragmentation and disintegration, paradoxically, may be creating new spaces and opportunities for reintegrating and reinventing the core activities of higher education.
For this potential to be fully realised, however, may require a very different division of labour and, in particular, a significant reconfiguring of academic work. This contribution will build on an international study of the academic profession, current evidence of changes in the academy during the recession and studies undertaken for the HEA.
Re-Rethinking links between research, teaching and educational agendas: Should we?'
Dr. Vicky Gunn, (University of Glasgow)
This presentation will note the discursive re-valuing of teaching agendas within research-intensive institutions as part of an apparent shift in emphasis within UK (in different ways depending on the devolved funding regime) and European contexts. In such a renewed policy focus, pragmatic questions about what this might mean in actuality have yet to be answered.
As this discursive shift is also happening at a time of change in the way academic career pathways are developing, the links between the researcher roles and teaching responsibilities are being embodied through reward and recognition criteria which do not necessarily align with the more centrally driven agendas outlined in the policy statements. Indeed, reward and recognition criteria tend to focus on individual activity and are not necessarily underpinned with a problematised understanding of the orientations towards aspects of research as well as education that seem present in the academic community.
This paper will outline two sets of orientations: those related to being a researcher as identified by Hakali & Ylijoki (2001) and Åkerlind (2008) and those related to the educational outcomes academics ascribe to what a university education is about (Gunn & Fisk, 2013). It will suggest that from these, within research-intensive contexts in particular, we might need a new frame of reference for research-teaching linkages, one that encompasses the discussions and practices of the last decade, but reorients curricular activity towards the spaces of researcher development as it is now constructed.
The discussion will draw on the presenter's work relating to the development of graduate attributes through research-teaching linkages (QAA Scotland) and her recent HEA commissioned review, Considering Teaching Excellence in HE since 2007.
Lunch will be available at 1pm and the event will start at 1.40. After each paper there will be time for questions and discussion, followed by an opportunity to discuss issues raised in both papers over tea or coffee.
For further details about the Higher Education Policy Network, please contact the network convenor, Prof. Carole Leathwood, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
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