22 SES 10 B, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Whilst earlier research (in particular that by Hattie & Marsh, 1996) may have questioned the interconnections between teaching and research, more recent research has both asserted the potential value of university research aiding institutional and individual academics identity, and the potential value of university research to high level/degree learning (Jenkins, Breen, Lindsay & Brew, 2003; Jenkins & Healey, 2005). Universities across Europe are acknowledging such benefits, shaping their institutional strategies to increase the link of teaching and research. Several European researchers are investigating the impact of RT nexus in practice and the potential conflict that it might bring in the professional identity of academics and/or researchers (see for example the recent works of Lopes, 2013; Higgs & O'Mahony, 2013; Bloch, Mitterle & Würmann, 2013; Esdar, Gorges & Wild, 2013). In the context of the UK the work of Jenkins & Healey (2012) has been fundamental for institutions to foreseen this interconnection as one of the central characteristics of a university.
Although the relevance of linking research and teaching is perceived in most European institutions as of central importance by many university leaders, empirical findings suggest that in practice research does not always influence the teaching quality (Hattie & Marsh, 1996; Gibbs, 2002) and consequently do not contribute to high level/degree learning. The reasons for such argument are often attributed to the lack of well-conceived institutional policies, course design and teaching and assessment practices that seek to maximise how universities and academics relate research to enhance students’ learning.
More recently the growing international requirements of research quality combined with an increase pressure for looking for research funding in a very competitive environment, associated with a growing culture of ‘Publish and Perish’ may lead many European institutions and individual academics to put more effort in research related activities. This is of a particular relevance for those post 92 universities in the UK who in spite of continuing to invest in the quality of teaching and learning also want to go up in the universities rankings by developing high quality research and be able to perform well in the next Research Exercise Framework (REF). Within this possible scenario, this research addresses three specific questions:
Does the research environment in a post 92 university have an impact in empowering students’ learning?
How are academics bringing their expertise/experience as researchers to motivate the students to engage in the learning activities and to develop their transversal skills (e.g. critical thinking or research skills)?
How do academics from STEM disciplines perceive their roles as researchers and lecturers for the next 5 years?
The objective of this research is to understand the benefits of a research environment for improving students’ learning. The impact of research is here analysed in terms of benefiting students and their empowerment, a crucial factor to an institutional policy of Led by Learning at a post 92 university. The rationale behind this study is supported by the work of Jenkins & Healey (2012), Jenkins, Breen, Lindsay & Brew (2003) and Brew (2013) who consider RT nexus as a valuable strategy to develop graduate attributes and transferable skills.
Bettie H., & O'Mahony, C. (2013). The integration of research, teaching and learning: the impact of national and international collaborations on practice. Retrieve from http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2013/abstracts/0202.pdf Bloch,R., Mitterle, A., & Würmann, C. (2013). Time to Teach: Contextualizing teaching time in German higher education. Retrieve from http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2013/abstracts/0202.pdf Brew, A. (2013) Understanding the scope of undergraduate research: a framework for curricular and pedagogical decision-making. Higher Education, 66 (3), pp. 603-628. Springer. Esdar, W., Gorges, J., & Wild, E. (2013). Research and Teaching – nexus or goal conflict? – Junior scientists’ perception on multiple demands at work. Retrieved from http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2013/abstracts/0048.pdf Gibbs, G. (2002). Institutional strategies for linking research and teaching, Exchange, 3, pp. 8-11. Hattie, J., & Marsh, H. (1996). The relationship between research and teaching: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 507-542. Jenkins, A., Breen, R., Lindsay, R., & Brew, A. (2003). Reshaping Teaching in Higher Education. Linking Teaching with Research, Routledge Taylor Francis. Jenkins, A., & Healey, M. (2005) Institutional strategies to link teaching and research. York: The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/ourwork/research/Institutional_strategies.pdf Jenkins, A., & Healey, M. (2012) Research-led or research-based undergraduate curricula. In Hunt, L. and Chalmers, D. (Eds.) University teaching in focus: a learning centred approach, pp.128-14. Camberwell, Victoria, Australia: Acer. Lopes, A. (2013). The research-teaching nexus and academic identities in Portuguese nurse Education. Paper presented at the Society for Research in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2013/abstracts/0072.pdf
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