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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Balance between Research and Teaching


Faculty have many responsibilities that include teaching, volunteer work, and research. A paper by Dan Worrell (2009), talks about the differences between teaching and research in universities. He indicates that research universities have an advantage in the market but may not be focused on the more important aspects of teaching. The focus is based primarily in the way schools are ranked by outside organizations but this may not be the best use of professor's time. 

According to the authors, U.S. News and World Report, BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal often rank schools based upon their research capabilities. This creates emphasis to engage professors in research to move their rankings upward. These rankings naturally have influence on student choice and other financial benefits. 

As professors engage more in research they have reduced teaching loads and higher levels of autonomy. Their research activities are often rewarded within universities with higher salaries and greater prestige. The more times a university is published the higher its overall ranking in the public. When research is significant the research reaps additional benefits but does cost students.

There are two issues that should be considered.  These issues include teaching as an important track to faculty development and research that is considered most important to society. Teaching should be the primary goal of the university with research being an augmentation to that teaching to further the body of knowledge in a particular subject area. 

The author further moves on to discuss the concept that a considerable percentage of research is not focused on what matters to society. Some of research should lean toward societal problems and the potential solutions to those problems. Research should be practical and applied in nature to help the greatest amount of people. 

There is a balance to be played between research and teaching. It would seem that all teachers should be engaged in some level of research but should not forget the primary goal of widening student’s perspectives. This is likely the most difficult aspect of managing a university through the varying political and economic pressures they face. Teaching and scholarship go together but should do so at appropriate levels. Teaching tracks should be rewarded as an important alternative to research.

Worrell, D. (2009). Assessing business scholarship: the difficulties in moving beyond the rigor-relevance paradigm trap. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8 (1).

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