Perhaps the most fundamental reason why teaching and research are viewed as competing rather than interrelated activities—and a key cause of why it’s so difficult to reunite these processes in faculty load assignments and evaluation systems—is that colleges and universities themselves are structured as though instruction and scholarship were utterly distinct enterprises.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
teaching vs. research debate
In Part 1, we examined several reasons why it’s important for universities to look at faculty work not in terms of the actions that are taken but rather in terms of the benefits that result. Of course, it’s one thing to say that changing how we view faculty roles can help promote research while advancing teaching; it’s another thing entirely to bring about such a massive change.
It’s an issue many colleges and universities are facing today: How do you expand research capacity while still preserving an institution’s traditional emphasis on effective teaching? How is it possible to improve your reputation in one of these areas without abandoning your reputation in the other? How can you expand your mission in an environment of increasingly strained budgets, greater competition among institutions (including public, private, for-profit, and virtual universities), and rigorous accountability? And how do you balance the expectation of so many legislatures and governing boards that you demonstrate student success with their simultaneous expectation that you obtain more and more external funding from sponsored research and the frequent pursuit of grants?
The argument persists: teaching and research are complementary—each in some synergistic way builds on and supports the other. Standing against the argument is an impressive, ever-growing array of studies that consistently fail to show any linkage between teaching effectiveness and research productivity. Because administrators have a vested interest in faculty being able to do both well, the two sides continue to exchange arguments and accusations in a debate that has grown old, tired, and terribly nonproductive.