It Really is Black and White When You Look At It Like That: A Study of the Teaching-Research Nexus

  • Professor Sylvia Edwards, QUT, Australia
  • Prof Peter O'Shea, Australia
  • Patricia Cretchley, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Bhuva Narayan, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Despite optimistic claims about the research-teaching nexus, Australian academics still face tension between research and teaching. The teaching and research priorities, beliefs and behaviours of 70 Professorial and Associate Professorial academics in Science, Information Technology and Engineering were examined in this study. The academics from 4 faculties in 3 Australian universities, were asked to rank 16 research activities and 16 matched learning and teaching (L&T) activities from each of three perspectives: job satisfaction, leadership behaviour, and perceptions of professional importance. The findings, which were remarkably consistent across the three universities, were unequivocally in favour of Research. The only L&T activity that was ranked consistently well was “Improving student satisfaction ratings for Teaching”. The data demonstrates that Australian government and university initiatives to raise the status of L&T activity are not impacting significantly on Australia’s future leaders of university learning.