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Exploring Links between Research and Teaching in Higher Education


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A presentation by Professor Simon Haslett, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales. The presentation is part of the HEA Research Seminar/Webinar Series, 11th June 2013, at The Higher Education Academy, York. This seminar examines the ways in which research and teaching may be linked in academic practice in Higher Education. It seeks to unravel the various linkages through scholarship, research (both subject-based and pedagogic) and curriculum. The presentation draws upon the presenters’ recent experience as a leader in learning and teaching in Wales, including the activity and contribution of the Research-Teaching Nexus Action Set, and the current challenges to forging and maintaining research-teaching links in Higher Education. He also provides examples of research-teaching links from his own professional practice.

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Exploring Links between Research and Teaching in Higher Education

  1. 1. Exploring Links between Research and Teaching in Higher Education Professor Simon Haslett Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Presented 11th June 2013 Higher Education Academy, York
  2. 2. Contents 1. Context and resources 2. Exploring research-teaching links 3. An institutional case study 4. An individual approach
  3. 3. ence 2004
  4. 4. utional_strategies.pdf 2005
  5. 5. search_April07.pdf 2007
  6. 6. DevelopingUndergraduate_Final.pdf 2009
  7. 7. 2010 esRandTNexusENGLISH_Jun10.pdf
  8. 8. The R-T Nexus Action Set • Higher Education Academy Welsh Institutional Group set up the Research-Teaching (R-T) Nexus Action Set in February 2009 at Newport. • Representatives from Welsh HEIs at biannual meetings. • Gregynog Conference (Sept 2009) • Swansea Meeting (March 2010) • Publication of book (June 2010) • Undergraduate Research Workshop, Carmarthen (Sept 2010) • R-T Practice workshop, Aberystwyth (Feb 2011) • 2nd Gregynog Conference (Sept 2011) Action Set Blog
  9. 9. Future shape of the HE sector in Wales? Each "region [in Wales] should have research intensive (in which we will increasingly focus our QR funding in support of sustainable excellence and relevance to Welsh Assembly Government objectives) and strong community/widening access focused provision“ (HEFCW, Dec 2010). Does this vision imply that each region would comprise one research intensive and one access (teaching?) focused institution?
  10. 10. Exploring R-T Links • Professional practice – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) – Pedagogic Research (PedR) – Research-informed Teaching (RiT) • Curriculum and student learning – Research-Teaching Nexus (R-T Nexus) – Research-Teaching Complex (R-T Complex) – Undergraduate Research
  11. 11. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Scholarship is keeping up-to-date through, including, academic reading, attending workshops and conferences, training, and perhaps dissemination (writing, speaking, training, mentoring). • individually-focused scholarship for personal use; • internally-focused scholarship for local (e.g. departmental, institutional) use; • externally-focused scholarship, such as defined by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, 2005, p. 34) as “the creation, development and maintenance of the intellectual infrastructure of subjects and disciplines”; and • research for external dissemination at conferences and in publications (i.e. pedagogic research). Where does your SoTL sit? (from Haslett, 2009, based on Ashwin and Trigwell, 2004; RAE, 2005)
  12. 12. SoTL and PedR • Why do/would you do it? – Strategic e.g. research-informed teaching – Contractual e.g. teaching-led research – Personal professional updating/reflection and career – Disseminate examples of practice • What do/would you research? – Generic issues e.g. student engagement – Case studies e.g. examples of teaching • How do/would you do it? – Individually or collaboratively? – Funding for research and publication e.g. grants? – Output types e.g. books, articles, conferences? – Time and space to undertake research and writing?
  13. 13. Promoting SoTL and PedR • Encourage staff to become active members of communities of practice. • Participate in internal schemes e.g. L&T grants. • Seek Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) (map against Professional Standards) • Membership of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE): Annual Conference at Newport 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and again in 2013? • Membership of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL).
  14. 14. Research-informed Teaching “Systematic inquiry into the L & T process” (Jenkins et al., 2007) Which approaches are you most involved in? My view is slightly different.
  15. 15. Research-Teaching Nexus Source: modified from M. Healey & A. Jenkins (2009) Developing students as researchers. In: S. K. Haslett & H. Rowlands (eds) Linking research and teaching in Higher Education. University of Wales, Newport, pp. 7-11. How does your teaching map within the R-T Nexus?
  16. 16. From Haslett (2009) Newport CELT Journal, Vol. 2. The Research-Teaching Complex
  17. 17. Undergraduate Research Stuart Hampton-Reeves and I hatched the idea over breakfast in January 2010. Coordinated by a Steering Group. • 2011 University of Central Lancashire (170 student delegates) • 2012 Warwick University (250 students) • 2013 University of Plymouth (15-16 April) • 2014 University of Nottingham (14-15 April) • 2015 University of Winchester
  18. 18. Institutional Case Study University of Wales, Newport, CELT • Learning and Teaching Strategy 2007-2010 • “To establish a University-wide research cluster to lead development in pedagogy”. • Main function to assist staff in: – Devising pedagogic research projects; – Presenting papers at conferences; and – Writing and disseminating published outcomes.
  19. 19. Newport NEXUS Conferences Annual Learning and Teaching Conference June 2009 and 2010
  20. 20. Varied Conference Symposia For example: • Undergraduate Research • Research-informed Teaching • Community Education • ESDGC • International Scholarship • Linking Teaching and KT • Professional Development • Student Engagement • Technology Enhanced Learning • Hazard and Geoscience Research Delegates used #nexus2010 when tweeting
  21. 21. Published its own journal: • Teaching Practice • Learning Insights • Development and Innovation • Pedagogic Research • (Re)Views • Framework Issues
  22. 22. CELT Writing Retreat The Academic Writing Process – Inventing and research – Planning – Drafting – Revising – Editing – Submission – Peer review process – Revisions – Proof stage and publication
  23. 23. CELT Research Programmes • Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL); • Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC); • Flexible Learning in Employer and Community Scenarios (FLECS). Coordinators PhD Students Research Communities
  24. 24. Pedagogic Research ‘Expeditions’ (ExPedR) Legs 1 and 2 • Leg 1 Australia 2009 • Leg 2 Canada 2010 • 10 ‘expedition’ members • Attend HERDSA 2009 • Attend STLHE 2010 • Visit other HEIs • Disseminate best practice • Develop research links. Using #expedr2010 Blog - YouTube – NewportCELT Channel Developing International Networks
  25. 25. PGCert Developing Professional Practice in HE • 60 M-Level credits • HEA accredited • One year, part-time • Distance learning online (from Feb 2010) • Covers not only teaching but research • Assessment: teaching portfolio and action research project • Developed into an MA in HE.
  26. 26. An Individual Approach an example from my own curriculum practice • Bath Spa University Geography Department, set up in 1968-69. • 1994 started as Lecturer in Physical Geography. • Inherited courses, but adapted them and developed new courses. • Major contribution to biannual field course to Brittany, France.
  27. 27. Year 1 Field Skills • Geographical Skills • Training, equipment, numeracy, etc. • Campus-based, in lab class timetabled slot. • 90+ students • Collect survey data • Calculate and plot • Submit answers via Blackboard VLE. • Automated marking.
  28. 28. Year 1 Techniques • Landform Analysis • Geomorphological mapping exercise. • Blended learning using topographic maps and Google Earth. • Area is a staff research field site with some publications available. • Students learn about staff research.
  29. 29. Year 1 Techniques • Landform Analysis • Sedimentology exercise using microscopy. • Samples collected for staff research project. • Students can refer to publications. • Learn about staff research on ‘live’ samples.
  30. 30. NOT MUCH YESSOME SOME Year 1 analysis
  31. 31. Year 2 Field Research • The Brittany field course began in late 1970’s or early 1980’s, with good links with University of Brest, including some collaborative research. • 1998-2001: Funded staff to undertake and publish research to underpin teaching in Brittany. • The field course evolved over time: – Until 2001 was not an assessed course. – 2001-2004: part of a Yr 2 Geographical Research Methods module – emphasis on field skills. – After 2004: emphasis on preparation for Honours dissertation.
  32. 32. Coastal Geomorphology • Survey of gravel shoreline transect at Ru Vein, Baie d’Audierne. • Set up in 1997 with research in mind, but • used for assessed student field techniques, but • Later as an assessed student research exercise.
  33. 33. Developing Field Research Skills Beach Surveying
  34. 34. Gravel shoreline sedimentology
  35. 35. An analysis of wave-coast interaction in the Baie d’ Audierne by Becky, Corinne, Holly, Lizzie and Tom Photographs by H. Winlow
  36. 36. Average volume (cm3) of particles along transect of storm beach profile, Ru Vein. “Steps” Large rocks at start of “step”. Larger rocks at back of profile.
  37. 37. Position changes 1997-2007 c. 25 m retreat of the toe of the beach; c. 15 m retreat of the crest; Sediment volume loss, due to washover and littoral drift. (Haslett, 2008, Coastal Systems (2nd Ed). Routledge) 1996 2005
  38. 38. YES YESSOME SOME Year 2 analysis
  39. 39. Year 3 Dissertations Honours-level is learning at the cutting edge of the discipline • Individual projects • Linked to staff research where appropriate • Skills, methods, analysis, literature. • Present results at Departmental Student Conference (also BCUR?). • Sometimes publish, usually with staff.
  40. 40. YES SOMEYES YES Year 3 analysis
  41. 41. Research Content Continuum • Year 1: students frequently are an audience of research, but are trained in research skills. • Year 2: emphasis on research processes and problems with students as participants and audience (more skills training and methods). • Year 3: students are participants, undertaking their own research projects.
  42. 42. Evaluating Curriculum • Audit modules annually to ensure they are supported and informed by recent (within last three years) research and scholarship, both in terms of curriculum and teaching. • As a course team, to obtain an overview, map all module provision using the R-T Nexus grid and place in the context of the research content continuum.
  43. 43. Thank you For further information, please consult the references cited in the presentation, and: Join the HEA R-T Nexus Blog: Look at and comment on (in the blog) the case studies in: Linking research and teaching in Wales (2010) edited by Simon K Haslett WalesRandTNexusENGLISH_Jun10.pdf Register for the British Conference for Undergraduate Research: Strengthen Research-Teaching Links in your institutional strategies.