Keynote 3

  • Developing the student as a researcher through the curriculum

    Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins

    “… universities should treat learning as not yet wholly solved problems and hence always in research mode ” Humboldt (1810, cited by Elton 2005)

    "We want all students to access the benefits exposure to teaching informed by research can bring. .... We believe an understanding of the research process – asking the right questions in the right way; conducting experiments; and collating and evaluating information – must be a  key part of any undergraduate curriculum” Bill Rammell, UK Minister for Higher Education (2006, 3)

    “Unfortunately, the undergraduate research experience is often viewed too narrowly as an isolated component of the student’s education, or as suitable for only some of the most advanced students …. we argue that undergraduate research should, in fact, be at the center of the undergraduate experience … throughout the curriculum. Hodge et al. (2007,1)

    Our intellectual starting point is Humboldt’s vision for higher education - a vision which arguably recently finds its strongest current manifestation in the highly selective (US) undergraduate research programmes which are generally for selected students and may well be outside the formal curriculum e.g. in summer enrichment programmes. However, for us the key to mainstreaming undergraduate research is to integrate it into the curriculum.

    As this is the closing conference session we will draw on work in the other sessions: including the two other key notes with Maggi Savin Baden’s call for curricula as ‘spaces for interruption’ and George Kuh’s argument for scaling up the number of students involved in ‘high impact activities.’

    In the presentation, which will be interactive, we will argue why the task now is ‘reinvent’ the formal and the informal curriculum to ensure that all undergraduate students in all higher education institutions learn through some form of research or inquiry. This argument will be made in the context of the international research evidence of the student experience of research (e.g. Baxter Magolda, 2001; Brew, 2006).

    Collectively we will then consider various initiatives by curricula teams, departments and institutions to ‘mainstream’ undergraduate research for all students; present suggestions as to how the curricula at course team and institutional levels needs to be further reshaped to meet this agenda; analyse how institutional and national teaching and research policies should support this agenda; and then consider the implications for the international pedagogic research and educational development agendas.


    • Baxter Magolda M. B. (2001) Making Their Own Way: Narratives for Transforming Higher Education to Promote Self-Development. Sterling , VA : Stylus
    • Brew, A (2006) Research and teaching: beyond the divide. London : PalgraveMacmillan
    • Elton, L (2005) Scholarship and the research and teaching nexus, in: R. Barnett (Ed.)Reshaping the university: new relationships between research, scholarship and teaching,108-118. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press
    • Hodge, D, Pasquesi, K, and Hirsh, M (2007) From convocation to capstone: developing the student as scholar, Keynote address, Association of American Colleges and Universities Network for Academic Renewal Conference, April 19-21, Long Beach, California
    • Rammell, B (2006) Innovations: Exploring Research-Based Learning, University of Warwick Conference 25 October 2006. 

    Alan Jenkins is Professor Emeritus, Oxford Brookes University; Reinvention Fellow for the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research: University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University; Consultant for the (UK) Higher Education Academy; and Advisor to QAA Scotland on the Teaching-Research Enhancement theme.

    He long taught and researched geography and contemporary China studies, in higher education. He was a founding editor of the international Journal of Geography in Higher Education. He then became an educational developer/researcher on higher education at Oxford Brookes University. Now Professor Emeritus at Brookes he is also a Reinvention Fellow for the Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research at Oxford Brookes and Warwick Universities, Consultant on Teaching/Research Relations for the (UK) Higher Education Academy and advisor to QAA Scotland on the Teaching/Research Enhancement theme. His current main area of expertise is on the relations between teaching and discipline based research – and in particular adapting and mainstreaming US undergraduate research to other contexts for all/many students. He has given workshops and done consultancies on this issue to institutions in the UK, Australasia, Canada, United States and Europe. With colleagues at Oxford Brookes he has researched undergraduate and postgraduate views of academic staffs’ research and the academic staff experiences of teaching/research relations in Built Environment disciplines. He is currently researching how institutional and department cultures shape teaching/research relations He is lead author of (2003) Re-shaping Higher Education: Linking Teaching and Research  Routledge Falmer/SEDA.

    Mick Healey is Professor of Geography and Director of the Centre for Active Learning, a HEFCE-funded Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Gloucestershire, UK.

    In 2000 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. In 2004 the Royal Geographical Society conferred on him the Taylor and Francis Award for ‘contributions to the promotion of learning and teaching in higher education’. In 2007 he was made one of the first Senior Fellows of the HE Academy.

    Mick is an experienced presenter. Since 1995 he has given over 300 educational presentations in Australasia, Europe, North America and SE Asia . He has written and edited over 100 papers, chapters, books and guides on various aspects of teaching and learning in higher education.

    He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education and Journal on Excellence in College Teaching. He is Senior Advisor to The Higher Education Academy’s Subject Centre for Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. He has also been an Accreditor and a member of the HE Academy’s Council and was a founding Board Member of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

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