Adam Palmer

  • An evaluation of the links between the advanced scholarship of teaching staff and its links to improving student learning

    Adam Palmer, Southampton Solent University, UK

    Kate Pike, Southampton Solent University, UK

    Steve Fletcher, Southampton Solent University, UK

    Session 2f, Tuesday 09.00

    Research seminar

    Themes addressed:

    • Teaching methods
    • Course and programme design
    • Institutional strategies
    • Departmental strategies

    This draws on a university-wide research project undertaken by two faculty staff to explore the links between staff advanced scholarship and teaching, including ways in which these might be better exploited for the benefit of students. The project has been carried out in a university where a wide range of research and scholarly activities exist, some in non-traditional but course-relevant formats.

    The paper’s starting point is to outline the more inclusive definition of advanced scholarship applied by the university with a brief revisit of the key existing literature on the research teaching nexus at the strategy, policy, faculty and course delivery levels. This paper focuses on an evaluation of the links between scholarly activities of staff, teaching and improving student learning. The paper includes reflections on their own practice by staff from a range of disciplines, based on conversations from over fifty interviews structured around key questions developed from relevant literature. The data was validated by a series of focus groups where the researchers shared the results with participating staff.

    The paper builds on the work of other researchers such as Brew (1999), Jenkins (2003, 2004), Laskey (2004), Amey and Brown (2005). Discussion is invited on broader recognition than has hitherto been the case of what is valued as scholarship and has benefits for student learning. It is suggested that the “hidden” scholarly activities of staff, essentially those performed as an integral part the teaching role, should be made more transparent, recognised and celebrated. Where research funding is concentrated in a smaller number of universities (Locke 2004) in the UK, those who are less well-funded need to demonstrate how they are offering a university-level experience that is different but meets the needs of stakeholders in higher education. The findings of the study are also benchmarked with other universities with similar missions.

    The seminar will involve participants by engaging them in a focus group discussion based on the key questions used in the research. It is hoped that the research project will be of interest to colleagues in a variety of roles concerned with the links between scholarship, teaching and student learning. Finally the paper seeks to make a contribution to the debate on the role of a modern university.

    References

    • Amey MJ and Brown DF (2005) Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Academic Work: A Case Study of a University-Community Partnership. New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 2 pp23- 35
    • Brew A (1999) Research and Teaching: changing relationships in a changing context Society of Research into Higher Education v24.3
    • Jenkins A and Zetter R (2003) Linking Research and Teaching in Departmentshttp://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources (accessed November 2005)
    • Jenkins A (2004) A Guide to the Research Evidence on Teaching-Research Relations Higher Education Academy York UK
    • Laskey B and Tempone I (2004) Practising what we teach: vocational teachers learn to research using action-learning techniques. Journal of Further and Higher Educationv28.1,pp79-94
    • Locke W (2004) Integrating Research Strategies: Implications for Institutional Management and Leadership in the United Kingdom Higher Education Management and Policy v16.3 pp101-120