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HE ACADEMY CONFERENCE JULY 2006 The Scholarship of Teaching: how to build capacity in research on teaching & learning A Case Study Professor Caroline Gipps.

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Presentation on theme: "HE ACADEMY CONFERENCE JULY 2006 The Scholarship of Teaching: how to build capacity in research on teaching & learning A Case Study Professor Caroline Gipps."— Presentation transcript:

1 HE ACADEMY CONFERENCE JULY 2006 The Scholarship of Teaching: how to build capacity in research on teaching & learning A Case Study Professor Caroline Gipps Vice-Chancellor University of Wolverhampton

2 Phase One: The relationship between research and practice In the field of education we have been agonising about the impact of research on policy or practice for quite some time. How do research findings impact policy or practice (including teaching)?

3 Weiss (1980) uses the phrase knowledge creep and decision accretion to convey how research knowledge gets only slowly into policy deliberation and may begin to affect policy not by a single clear decision but through a more diffuse process or influence (or, as the ancients phrased it: scienta dependit in mores – knowledge works its ways into habits).

4 Phase Two: The early RAE – separation of research and teaching It is the RAE that has done much to drive the separation between teaching and research, it has devalued curriculum development and writing of text books, and relegated scholarship to an also ran activity.

5 Does it matter? Various review studies found no direct link: Ramsden and Moses saw little or no foundation for a belief in the existence of a positive causal relationship between effective undergraduate teaching and high levels of research activity (1992). Hattie and Marsh (1996) concluded that the common belief that research and teaching are inextricably entwined is an enduring myth. At best, research and teaching are very loosely coupled.

6 how they manage research to ensure that teaching at all levels benefits from staff involvement in research, including research into student learning It would be particularly attractive to require institutions to show, as part of their bids for research funding: Research activity may seriously damage your teaching

7 how any possible negative consequences of staff research, such as staff absences on sabbaticals, are minimised how effective synergies are developed between the institutions research and learning and teaching strategies. (Brown, 2002, p.31)

8 Phase Three: Research is good for teaching The counter argument is based on an assumption that research is good for teaching. The assumption still needs unpacking

9 Effective teachers must cultivate habits of self-critical reflection on what they teach and how they teach it; Best practice in teaching is increasingly based on research techniques such as student projects and group assignments. Not only teachers but also their students must be researchers. (Scott 2002)

10 The claim to be a university, the authority of an HE institution, rests on the intellectual capital and activity of its staff: all academic staff in a university must be actively engaged in research, scholarly reflection and knowledge production.

11 Phase Four: towards research informed teaching The Research Forum concluded that research and teaching are essential and intertwined characteristics of a university which can be advanced from two perspectives: -that of the students acquiring a higher education, and -that of the work of academic staff employed in higher education ……

12 …It is becoming clearer that those students who are not learning in an HE environment that is informed by research, and in which it is not possible to access research-related resources, are at a disadvantage compared to those who are…

13 research and teaching are essential and intertwined characteristics of a university (Higher Education Research Forum, 2004) less research-intensive institutions should be supported in developing a research-informed teaching environment (DfES, 2004 HEFCE Grant Letter)

14 For Example undertaking research, scholarship and/or consultancy type activities, either on their own or in groups being involved in research – related activities, such as running student research conferences and publishing student research journals

15 working with staff on research and consultancy projects collaborating with students in other institutions on inquiry-based learning projects ( Jenkins & Healey 2005)

16 My own list would include: teaching about ones research topic (specialist Masters level courses, electives) being up-to-date in the field, which drives the content of courses taking a research approach to teaching (finding out what students know, evaluating approaches and content)

17 using your teaching as a research area using research processes as part of the teaching/learning activity (I.e. getting students to do a piece of research) learning in a lively intellectual climate

18 The current HE Academy definition of the scholarship of teaching (Prosser, 2005) is: evidence-based critical reflection on practice aimed at improving practice

19 Teaching can be research-led in the sense that the curriculum is structured around subject content, and the content selected is directly based on the specialist research interests of teaching staff

20 Teaching can be research-oriented in the sense that the curriculum places as much emphasis on understanding the processes by which knowledge is produced as on learning the codified knowledge that has been achieved; careful attention is given to the teaching of inquiry skills and on acquiring a research ethos

21 Teaching can be research-based in the sense that the curriculum is largely designed around inquiry- based activities, rather than on the acquisition of subject content; the experiences of staff in processes of inquiry are highly integrated into the student learning activities

22 Teaching can be research-informed in the sense that it draws consciously on systematic inquiry into the teaching and learning process itself. ( Source Griffiths 2004: Jenkins 2005, p.13)

23 2001:TQEF money was used to fund research and innovation projects in-house. 20 – 30 projects a year with national dissemination. 2002:New post of Dean of Learning & Teaching appointed. A CASE STUDY: How the University of Wolverhampton has built capacity in the scholarship of teaching

24 2003:Learning and Teaching Research Network (LTRN) set up to: -provide a critical mass of researchers and postgraduate students to support and develop research in Learning and Teaching

25 -work closely with the Graduate School and HR to establish transparent career paths and staff development to readerships and professorships in Learning and Teaching -focus learning and teaching research towards pedagogical publications, evaluation and externally published outcomes

26 -generate income to support the development of pedagogical research and scholarship in Learning and Teaching Senior member of staff appointed to drive the LTRN

27 2004:First National Teaching Fellow – from this network 2004:Cross disciplinary Research clusters set up (Learning Technology and Pedagogic Research, Creating Positive Student Experiences, Learning Assessment and Teaching: Encouraging Engagement)

28 Dec 2004CETL awarded based on Student Experience, Retention and Achievement 2005:Reading and Writing Circles established Application to ESRC (with Keele and Birmingham) to run a seminar series on Social Diversity and Difference fails. University funds and organises itself.

29 2005:In house research projects emphasis moves to dissemination and publication via annual conference 2005:Link with Teesside University set up which includes a joint residential conference; joint work is being developed including hosting a student experience European network.

30 2005:Three National Teaching Fellowships awarded 2005:CETL and Graduate School jointly fund 6 projects for research to inform the curriculum

31 2006:ESRC funded project on Widening Participation (with Birmingham University) starts (led by Director of LTRN) 2006:New Learning & Teaching Strategy includes a commitment to pedagogical research, problem solving via research, the embedding of scholarship; and the development of student learning within a research- informed environment

32 IMPACT Since 2003 there have been 4 conferences held; 41 papers presented at conferences; 34 papers published; and the number of staff actively engaged in the LTRN has grown from 0 to 65

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