Professor Andrea Nolan - Senior Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow

Keynote address - Developing research type attributes: a sectoral journey

Date: Monday 1, November
Time: 11:30am - 12:30pm - coffee served from 11:00am
Venue: Sir Llew Edwards Building (14), Room 116

The Scottish Higher Education environment is built on the belief that teaching and learning conducted within an environment of research and scholarship provide students with high quality learning opportunities. In recent years, tensions between research and teaching within universities have surfaced as higher education institutions have sought to increase their research focus and achievements as drivers of reputation, status and increased funding. Internationally the research teaching nexus has been a topic responsible for a large volume of articles, books and conferences, as commentators, researchers and practitioners debate the relationship, enshrined in the von Humboldt model of Universities. Reflecting this interest, the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee supported the pursuit of this subject area as a theme for further work, and agreed to focus on how research-teaching linkages could support the achievement of ‘research type’ graduate attributes, attributes that are considered vital for Scotland’s civic, cultural and economic prosperity in the future. Collectively the sector has learned and shared much on an institutional and disciplinary basis. Understandings of the relationship between research and teaching and its relevance to students varied amongst staff across disciplines, while lack of awareness amongst students not only of the links between research and teaching, but of the purpose of these linkages, was common. It is clear that universities require to be explicit in their commitment to embedding opportunities for students to engage in research type activities from the outset of their Higher Education experience, thus fostering research mindedness early. Staff must share this commitment with students so that they understand how research is integrated in to their learning and how this impacts on and supports their learning. The development of research type attributes must be structured appropriately, a challenging task in an increasingly modularised environment and universities must support staff to develop a full understanding of the processes of learning and teaching.