01 SES 07 C, Effects of Educational Research on Teaching
This paper reflects on the future of educational research by examining the emerging role of project managers. Increasingly their role is becoming pivotal in supporting those aspects of research which are not strictly academic in nature. As funding environments become more complex, success in research projects requires expertise in accountancy, public relations, and the management of extended global networks. It is therefore telling of this development, that emphasis on including this group of professionals is found in the new Erasmus+ funding bids (2013). Yet, their role and impact on the success of any research project is still under researched and somehow misunderstood.
In the UK the commonly used term research administrator brings to mind an individual who sits at a desk, files paper and send emails. Far from it, Kirkland (2009) and Langley (2012) have argued that increasingly this has become more of specialist role for staff working in Higher Education. A Research ‘Project’ Manager is caught between neither being traditional administrative staff nor fully fledged academics, they occupy what Witchurch (2008) calls a ‘third space’. Greg Cimmarrusti, was quoted as saying “Being a Project Manager is like being an artist, you have the different colored process streams combining into a work of art”.
The changing roles of project managers are part of wider changes in higher education in which traditional binary boundaries between academic and administration and management responsibilities have been blurred. Simultaneously, academic pursuits, whether related to teaching and learning or research, are progressively more aligned to business models against an entrenched dislike and misunderstanding of what a business ethics can bring to the success of academic enterprises. In such a landscape, both academics and professional support roles undergo continuous revision, which however has tended ‘to occur by default, and have remained relatively unremarked and under-theorised, either in the literature or by professional staff themselves’ (Witchurch, 2008: 4).
This paper draws from the experience of a project manager working at the EU funded project Success at School (www.successatschool.eu). By bringing to the fore his changing roles and responsibilities, the paper argues that distinctions between a purist view of academia as detached from business requirements and business practices are shortsighted. Rather, it argues that the role of project managers is not secondary to that of academic pursuit, but pivotal in enabling the success of the project. Educational researchers and project management need to work in parallel and not independently.
The project addresses the EU benchmark of less than 10% of early school leaving (ESL) by 2020 (EU 2000). The main objective of the project is to develop and experiment an alternative pedagogical strategy, a ‘detour’ strategy, through volunteering and mentoring of young people aged 14-20 who have abandoned their education or at risk of doing so. Together with already available alternative methods, a voluntary experience would enable young people to learn and demonstrate the acquisition of valuable skills and competences useful to return to education and/or future employment. Within lifelong learning, volunteering is part of non formal and informal learning enhanced by the Copenhagen process (EQAVET, 2002). Through a voluntary experience, young people would have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge learned at school; enrich their social network; acquire or develop skills and competences; exchange good practices in learning; gain a sense of self based on success rather than failure, and therefore develop a positive image of themselves. Simultaneously, active participation in a voluntary association will help young people to gain the eight key competences (European Council and the European Parliament, 2007) specifically learning to learn, social and civic competences, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression.
EQAVET (2002) The Copenhagen Declaration, available at http://ec.europa.eu/education/pdf/doc125_en.pdf (accessed, 27 November 2013) European Commission (2013) Erasmus+ Programme Guide. Brussels: European Commission European Communities (2007) Key competences for Lifelong Learning. European Reference Framework. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities Expert Group Report (2008) Diversified Funding Streams for University-based Research (Brussels, European Commission DG RTD) http://ec.europa.eu/invest-in-research/pdf/download_en/eg_external_research_funding_final_repor_with_cover.pdf Deem, R. (2010) Herding the academic cats. The challenges of ‘managing’ academic research in the contemporary UK university. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education 14(2), pp37–43. Green, J. & Langley, D. (2009) Professionalising Research Management (Higher Education Funding Council for England) http://researchsupportarchive.leeds.ac.uk/images/uploads/docs/PRMReport.pdf Kirkland, J., 2009 Research management: A global profession?’ Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 13(2), pp33-36. Langley, D., 2012 Research Management and Administration: A Reflection of Where We Are and Where We Need to Go as a Profession. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 16(3), pp.71-76.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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