Constructing teaching and research relations from the top: an analysis of senior manager discourses on research-led teaching

Mayson, Susan; Schapper, Jan
October 2012
Higher Education (00181560);Oct2012, Vol. 64 Issue 4, p473
Academic Journal
To show how research and teaching, core academic activities are discursively shaped through policy discussion we critically identify and examine the institutional effects of senior academics' discourses on research-led teaching. The analysis sheds light on the interrelationship between university policy and the powerful and productive effects of senior management 'talk' in framing the object of policy, the relations between research and teaching. Our approach moves analysis of the teaching and research relationship beyond system-wide debates and challenges, to a detailed study of the effects of institutional ideology and attendant discourses. Our analysis of senior academic managers' interview data reveals that implicit in the call to construct a stronger alignment between teaching and research, is the valorisation of research at the expense of teaching and learning which is problematised and devalued. Our contention is that policy implementation based on these simplified assumptions may well strengthen university research outcomes but in doing so may prove unsuccessful in improving teaching and learning outcomes. The contribution of our analysis is that it surfaces complexities that underpin apparently instrumental and normative institutional policy prescriptions and in so doing contributes to a deeper understanding of the political and practical effects of senior managers' views on policy implementation.


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