Keynotes

Reframing the relationship between research and education

“How can we ensure that when students come to us, they individually and collectively leave us with confidence and hope and with the skills and attributes that they need to really make a difference in the world, whether they go into research, academia or society? Traditionally, we’ve talked about higher learning in terms of rigour and stretch and we’ve praised narrow specialisms. But with the huge challenges the world faces today, we need a much more interconnected and nuanced set of relationships and practices around research, education, development and engagement.

‘Teachers are not second-class scholars’

I set up a framework called the Connected Curriculum, where, at the core is the principle that we need to empower students to develop their capacity to investigate and deal with the unexpected. We should draw on scholarly values and evidence to make decisions. We should review job roles to ensure that all expertise is fully recognised. We should reward scholars for their contributions to knowledge and practice, recognising the particular contexts of individuals and teams. There are profound connections between reframing the relationship between research and education, and rewarding and promoting colleagues in our universities. To do this, we have to challenge fundamental assumptions: Teachers are not second-class scholars and research is nothing without extending knowledge, skills and practices through education.”

Dilly Fung, Pro-Director Education at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of ‘A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education’

The Ghent Model

“Last year, we drastically changed the way we evaluate our academics, which resulted in ‘the Ghent Model’. The previous model was based on metrics thinking and had a high administrative burden, which caused a lot of stress. The new model is focused less on control and more on academic freedom and responsibility. After all, academics did not become academics because they like to fill in forms, but because they want to do research.

‘It is crucial to have academic leadership at all levels’

The main idea of the Ghent Model is: those who perform well, will be promoted. That takes away a lot of competition and rewards collaboration. Academics don’t have to hand in an exhaustive list of output but can list their most significant achievements. I’ve learned that in order to introduce a new evaluation model, you need a clear vision and broad stakeholder consultation. It is crucial to have academic leadership at all levels: not just in the executive board, but also at the faculty and department levels. Most importantly, communicate your plans – at all levels.”

Recognition & Rewards

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