Functional Harmony in Higher Education.

Tim McLernon, David Hughes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper addresses the congruence of teaching and research in Higher Education. It highlights the conflict between research and teaching in Universities in the UK and discusses sources of this conflict such as funding, policy and impact on staff. The paper is based on the personal views, longstanding observation and experience of two academics working in two contrasting Universities, within the discipline area of the Built Environment. It also takes into account the views of a small sample of undergraduate students from the two different Universities; one an established redbrick University and one a ‘new’ University (formerly a Polytechnic). The survey suggests that, unlike the ‘Higher Education system’ students place little value on the research focus within a Department and are primarily concerned with teaching and the exchange value of the degree.The paper shows that institutions place a high priority on research and that research receives a much higher profile amongst the academic community whilst teaching is regarded as the poor relation. However undergraduate students, who are the major source of institutional funding, regard teaching as the prime function of a University and place less importance on research. The authors argue that for industry and commerce to thrive, graduates are required with the requisite knowledge, and a range of transferable and vocational skills. It is recognised that research is essential for advancing industrial development, but not at the expense of teaching. Research does not necessarily benefit the undergraduate student or enhance the teaching experience. The paper suggests that students are being short changed by the current university system and that there is some need for re-focusing the core objectives of UK Universities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-20
    JournalCEBE Transactions (online journal)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2005

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    • HE
    • Teaching and Research
    • Research.


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