The teaching researcher: faculty attitudes towards the teaching and research roles

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    The teaching researcher: facultyattitudes towards the teaching andresearch rolesE. Alpaya & R. Verschoorba Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, SouthKensington, London, UKb Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UKPublished online: 13 Mar 2014.

    To cite this article: E. Alpay & R. Verschoor (2014) The teaching researcher: faculty attitudestowards the teaching and research roles, European Journal of Engineering Education, 39:4, 365-376,DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2014.895702

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  • European Journal of Engineering Education, 2014Vol. 39, No. 4, 365376, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03043797.2014.895702

    The teaching researcher: faculty attitudes towards the teachingand research roles

    E. Alpaya and R. Verschoorb

    aFaculty of Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington, London, UK; bImperial CollegeLondon, South Kensington, London, UK

    (Received 26 March 2013; accepted 11 February 2014)

    Results from a survey on faculty attitudes towards the teaching and research roles are presented. Atten-tion is given to: (i) the perceived value of teaching (and teaching achievements) relative to research, (ii)approaches for research and teaching integration, (iii) the satisfaction gained from typical work tasks, and(iv) the importance of various work-life factors. Factors such as academic freedom, an intellectual workenvironment, flexible work hours, inspirational colleagues, and work diversity are found to be highly val-ued. Support from peers and colleagues is also seen as a key in learning to manage the different academicroles. A relatively low value is attributed to teaching achievements. Likewise, there is often little utilisationof teaching opportunities to support research work (other than senior-year research projects). Female fac-ulty were found to give marginally a higher importance to teaching recognition and collaborative teachingopportunities. Based on the findings, general recommendations for supporting the teaching researcher arepresented.

    Keywords: teaching and research integration; faculty roles; gender differences

    1. Introduction

    Tensions between research and teaching in university have been widely reported, see e.g. Ramsdenand Moses (1992), Jenkins et al. (1998), Serow (2000), Jenkins and Healey (2005), Taylor (2007),and Lucas et al. (2008). In recent years, there has been a re-emergence of interest in the natureand practice of researchteaching integration, in part confounded by the increasing competitive-ness amongst universities for both research funding and high student satisfaction ratings (Alpay2012). Moreover, there are concerns of the growing dichotomy between the teaching and researchresponsibilities of academic staff. For example, whilst institutional and personal prestige mayrely on research output, there is an increasing demand for student training and skills developmentfor work and leadership in practical and global contexts. Indeed, students themselves often stressa desire for such development and for greater involvement in the research life of the institution(Zamorski 2002; Alpay et al. 2008; Jenkins et al. 2008). Thus, a strong need exists for improvedsynergy in the teaching and research realms of such institutions.

    Corresponding author. Email: e.alpay@surrey.ac.ukCurrent address: Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences,University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK.

    2014 SEFI

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  • 366 E. Alpay and R. Verschoor

    Previous work on research and teaching integration has considered the perspectives of students(Jenkins et al. 1998; Healey and Jenkins 2009), faculty (Ellen, Lindblom-Yianne, and Clement2007; Lucas et al. 2008), and academic institutions (Taylor 2007; Gull 2010). In general, suchstudies have led to insights on the approaches and antecedents for researchteaching integration,the benefits of such integration on graduate attributes and managerial and institutional approachesfor teachingresearch balance. However, tangential to the studies has been the specific facultymotivations for researchteaching integration and indeed an academic career overall. One notableexception has been the work of Rowland (2006) on the promotion of enquiry-based learning asthe key to capitalise on the academics love for their subject. Nevertheless, concern still remainsfor motivational drivers for teaching outside the immediate research interests of the academic.In a similar way, where practical methods are offered to help facilitate, support, and manage ateaching and research balance, the long-term incentives for such a balance are unclear given someof the inherent weaknesses for teaching in research-intensive universities (Alpay and Jones 2012).

    In understanding personal motivational drivers, attention also needs to be given to in-groupvariations, such as academic rank and gender. Attitudes towards teaching and research are likelyto change with work experience and be influenced by the cultural and institutional expectationsassociated with the individuals academic standing or career stage. Likewise, social and culturalinfluences may lead to different male and female attitudes, perspectives and experiences of engi-neering and subsequently the academic role in engineering; see the discussions of Sagebiel andDahmen (2006). Indeed, such influences may lead to the various reported gender inequalities inacademic careers and outcomes (Probert 2005; Barnard et al. 2012; Dobson 2012; Duch et al.2012). Although much has been reported on gender differences in academic job satisfaction (see,e.g. the review of Sabharwal and Corley 2009), to date, little has been published on gender dif-ferences in, for example, the drivers for researchteaching integration and the relative value ofteaching- and research-related academic achievements and accolades.

    Recently, the current authors have undertaken a UK Higher Education funded project titledPractices and Approaches for the Integration of Teaching and Research. The aim of the study wasto identify and disseminate practices that help faculty manage and integrate their research andteaching roles. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, case studies, and a nationalonline survey. The survey particularly focussed on a broad range of faculty attitudes towards theteaching and research roles, such as:

    (1) the perceived value of teaching (and teaching achievements) relative to research,(2) general approaches for research and teaching integration,(3) the satisfaction gained from common teaching and research activities, and(4) the importance of various work-life factors.

    The survey also enabled exploration of any differences in perspectives based on, e.g. years ofemployment and gender, thus providing a general insight into the experiences of being a teachingresearcher. This paper will focus on data collected from the national survey.

    2. Methodology

    2.1. Overall research design

    The overall project involved a combination of surveys, semi-structured interviews, and case stud-ies. Several scientists and engineers (Table 1) were initially consulted to explore their views onteachingresearch links and issues, and to enable formulating relevant questions for both thesurvey and in-depth case studies. For the case studies, Science, Technology, Engineering andMathematics (STEM) academics from across the UK were selected based on their achievements

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    Table 1. Overview of consultation team.

    Position/role (number of people) Affiliation

    Senior academic staff across STEM universities (13) Universities of Aston, Loughborough, Liverpool,Northumbria and Imperial College London

    Education consultants (3) Engineering EducationAcademic and curriculum advisors (2) Higher Education AcademyPrincipal concept engineer (1) Industry (Shell)Educational development lecturers and equivalent (4) Imperial College, Kings College, Newcastle

    University

    in both teaching and research (Verschoor and Alpay 2011). As mentioned above, the online sur-vey was designed to obtain complementary data on a broad range of faculty attitudes towardsthe teaching and research roles. The data were collected from a wide pool of academics (seebelow).

    2.2. Participants

    Although the target audience of this study was faculty in research-intensive universities, datacollection was from a broad range of institutions to reflect individual examples of teaching andresearch excellence across the Higher Education sector. Specifically, a wide network of HigherEducation Institutions was established through contacts within three UK university groups: theRussell group, i.e. an association of 24 public research universities; the Million+ group, com-prising 22 post-1992 universities of former College or Polytechnic (i.e. teaching-only) standing;and the 1994 group comprising 11 relatively small research universities. Data collection was fromfaculty across the STEM sector.

    2.3. Questionnaire

    A summary of the survey questions is given in Table 2. These were a mix of closed and openquestions, the former typically requiring a response on a 7-point Likert scale. Two questionswere adapted from previously published surveys, i.e. Questions 8 and 9 on practices for/theperceived value of teaching and research integration. Questions exploring the specific value andenjoyment of academic roles and achievements (i.e. Questions 11, 13, and 15) were designedto focus on equivalent teaching- and research-related matters (e.g. a teaching publication and aresearch publication), thus enabling an internal reference for gauging the relative value of each.The questionnaire was transcribed into SurveyMonkey for online administration and piloted onthree academic colleagues.

    2.4. Procedure

    Several routes were used for the electronic circulation of the questionnaire web link to faculty:(i) the utilisation of faculty email databases held by centralised offices within institutions, such asEducational Development Centres, offices of the Dean/Principal of Education; (ii) the utilisationof a network of colleagues established through the consultation team (Table 1) with requestsfor on-forwarding of the questionnaire; (iii) the use of existing education networks through, e.g.the Higher Education Academy, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and theStaff and Educational Development Association; (iv) conference promotion, i.e. the Society forResearch in Higher Education annual conference (2012); and (v) direct email collation of a random

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  • 368 E. Alpay and R. Verschoor

    Table 2. Summary of survey questions.

    Background: 1. Institution; 2. STEM discipline; 3. Gender; 4. Academic rank; 5. Years of teaching experience; 6. Timededicated to research work; and 7. Who do you teach?

    8. Please rate your level of agreement with the following statements (1 = not at all and 5 = to a great extent); (adaptedfrom Ramsden and Moses (1992)) [5-point Likert scale]

    (i) My research is enhanced by my undergraduate teaching; (ii) Having to teach something helps me clarify my ideas inmy research work on it; (iii) I share ideas from my research with my undergraduate students; (iv) Doing goodresearch enhances my undergraduate teaching; and (v) I feel I have something to learn from my undergraduatestudents in my research

    9. Which of the following approaches do you use in your teaching to undergraduate students? (1 = never and5 = always); (adapted from Jenkins and Healey (2005)) [5-point Likert scale]

    (i) Students read, discuss, and write research papers (or equivalent information); (ii) Students learn through researchwork, e.g. carry out enquiry-based activities; (iii) Students are made aware of research in the area of study, e.g.through anecdotes or examples; and (iv) Students are taught how to do research and what the research processinvolves

    10. Can you give any other example(s) how you use research in your undergraduate teaching or vice versa?11. How important are the following aspects to your work life? (1 = no importance and 7 = great importance):(i) Academic freedom; (ii) flexible working hours; (iii) diversity of work; (iv) sabbatical leave/secondment

    opportunities; (v) intellectual work environment; (vi) inspirational colleagues; (vii) personal developmentopportunities; (viii) advancement within organisation; (ix) integration/combination of teaching and research; (x)involvement in UG student development/learning; (xi) involvement in PG/research student development andlearning; (xii) collaborative (team) teaching opportunities in own institute or with other academic institutions; (xiii)collaborative research opportunities in own institute or with other academic institutions; (xiv) UG studentprojects/assignments/events in collaboration with employers/industry; and (xv) research projects in collaborationwith employers/industry

    12. Has industry played a role in your work motivation? If so, please explain how13. How much do you enjoy the following aspects of your academic position? (1 = dislike and 7 = enjoy):(i) Preparation of courses (e.g. reading, developing materials); (ii) delivery of courses (e.g. tutorials, lectures); (iii)

    assessment of courses (e.g. providing feedback, marking exams and reports); (iv) interaction with UG students (e.g.supervising projects, facilitating practical courses); (v) research preparation (e.g. applying for funding, writingproject proposals); (vi) undertaking research (e.g. implementing plan, collecting data; data analysis); (vii)dissemination of research (e.g. writing reports, publications, presentations); and (viii) research student supervision(e.g. discussing projects; providing input and feedback)

    14. Indicate your ideal and actual research/teaching work balance (ignoring any major administrative responsibilities)[see also Figure 1]

    15. For the achievements that are applicable to you, please indicate their value to you (1 = low value and 7 = highvalue) [see Table 5 for the list of achievements]

    16. In learning to manage your different academics roles, please rate the usefulness of the following (if relevant):(1 = not at all and 7 = very much) [see Table 6 for a list of support factors]

    cross-section of institutions and faculty (especially for those not accessed through other routes).In reality, the approach led to the sampling of faculty across 62 institutions, with an estimatedsample population size of 7000.

    The cover note to the questionnaire summarised the motivation for the study and ensuredanonymity. The note also stated that the questionnaire was relevant to faculty who are involvedin both teaching and research. Approximately, four weeks were provided for questionnairecompletion and where possible, a reminder request was sent one week prior to the close date. Allresponse data were collected on a single spreadsheet within SPSS.

    3. Results and discussion

    3.1. Demographics

    A response rate of 411 was achieved across 62 institutions. Although this is a relatively lowsample rate (6%), representation was consistent with national average estimations for the STEMsubjects. For example, the STEM discipline of the respondents was recorded as 40.6% science,

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  • European Journal of Engineering Education 369

    6.3% technology, 41.8% engineering, and 11.2% mathematics, with a gender split of 71.5% maleand 28.5% female.

    Approximately, 65% of the respondents were from 21 leading (and research-intensive) STEMuniversities, i.e. the Russell group universities (consisting of 23 STEM universities in total). Themale representation from Russell and non-Russell group universities was recorded as 75% and65%, respectively.

    As mentioned above, the survey was aimed at research-active staff across a range of institutions.In Figure 1, the reported distributions of ideal vs. actual work balance (for both Russell andnon-Russell group universities) are shown. No statistically significant gender differences in themean scores of distribution were indicated. Mean scores of 3.1 and 4.2 (7-point scale) wererecorded for the ideal and actual scales, respectively, for Russell group respondents, and 3.4and 4.9 for the non-Russell group respondents (p < .01). Interestingly, for both categories ofinstitution, junior and senior faculties were found to aspire to a similar ideal work balance, butthe former (namely full professorial level faculty) reported lower actual teaching loads (data notshown). The trends indicate a general desire by most faculty to reduce teaching load.

    A summary of teaching experience and teaching activity of the respondents is given below:

    Academic rank: 25.5% lecturer; 41.6% senior lecturer/reader; 23.6% professor; and 9.2% other(e.g. teaching or research fellow).

    Years of teaching: 23.4% 05 years; 20.7% 610 years; and 56.0% 11 years or longer. Percentage of time (during a typical teaching term/semester) spent on research-related activ-

    ities: 32.6% reported up to 20%; 29.7% 2040%; 26.0% 4060%; 6.8% 6080%; and 4.9%80% or more.

    Student year group taught (multiple years possible): 62.5% first-year undergraduates; 59.1%second-year undergraduates; 62.8% third-year undergraduates; 55.7% fourth-year undergrad-uates; and 73.5% MA/MSc/postgraduate students.

    3.2. Research and teaching integration

    In total, 76.9% of the participants responded favourably to the question doing good researchenhances my undergraduate teaching, i.e. responded as occasionally (23.5%), often (35.4%),or to a great extent (18.0%). In comparison, only 45.0% of participants responded favourably tothe question my research is enhanced by my undergraduate teaching, i.e. 25.7% occasionally,13.5% often, and 5.8% to a great extent. There were no significant differences in response basedon gender, STEM discipline, or Russell group categorisations. However, participants with a longerwork experience and/or higher academic rank responded more favourably to both questions. Forexample, for the first question, mean scores were recorded as 3.2 and 3.8 (5-point scale) forlecturers and professors, respectively; for the second question as 2.4 and 2.7 (for both questions,p < .01 (two-tailed): independent t-test).

    When asked about general teaching approaches for student engagement in research (see Ques-tion 9 in Table 2), awareness-level approaches, such as the use of research anecdotes or examplesin the classroom, featured most strongly. Specifically, 61.1% of the participants reported that suchmethods were either frequently (45.6%) or always (15.5%) used, and 29.6% as occasion-ally used. In comparison, approaches involving the reading, discussion, or writing of researchpapers were relatively uncommon (i.e. 44.8% of participants reported this as rarely or never,and 35.1% as occasionally), as was learning through research work and similar enquiry-basedactivity (i.e. 23.5% as rarely or never, and 35.1% as occasionally). There were no significantdifferences in response based on gender, work experience, academic rank, or Russell group cate-gorisations. However, participants within the science discipline indicated higher levels of student

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  • 370 E. Alpay and R. Verschoor

    Figure 1. Ideal (a) and actual (b) research-teaching work balance for Russell and non-Russell Group universities.

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  • European Journal of Engineering Education 371

    research engagement than those in the engineering discipline, i.e. typical mean score differencesof 0.3-0.5 (p < .01) for each of the items of Question 9 (Table 2).

    A number of respondents commented on the effective use of students in research work, such asthe development of methods for testing hypotheses and undertaking initial literature reviews. Thiswas especially so for students in the senior years of study. Likewise, other respondents mentionedregular (annual) lectures on the discussion of current Nobel Prizes and other topical breakthroughtechnologies and discoveries. Interestingly, a high proportion of respondents reported tuitionin research methodology (i.e. 30.9% as occasionally, 31.5% as frequently, and 11.9% asalways). Some methods for engaging students in research methodology were reported as amini-conference simulation with student poster displays and the writing of grant proposals.

    Other examples of the use of research in undergraduate teaching (see Question 10 in Table 2)led to the following response categories (in descending popularity):

    the use of research data and research papers in classroom problems, the teaching of material that the lecturer would like to learn for their own research, i.e. learning

    through teaching, students as subjects of research, e.g. computer science education, user interface design, and the use of open-ended problems as a means of explorative research and research-idea generation.

    3.3. Important and enjoyable aspects of work

    Mean scores on the importance of different aspects of the academic work-life are summarised inTable 3. Academic freedom, an intellectual work environment, flexible work hours, inspirationalcolleagues, and work diversity are indicated as high in importance. Sabbatical (secondment)leave and collaborative teaching opportunities (with both academic colleagues and industry) areindicated as relatively low in importance. The combination of teaching and research appears as arelatively neutral score. For female respondents, collaborative research opportunities also featuredparticularly high in importance. For Russell and non-Russell group categorisations, the overalltrend in Table 3 is unchanged. However, respondents in the latter group generally reported higherscores in areas related to collaborative teaching and research, personal development opportunitiesand, interestingly, teaching and research integration. Given the higher teaching loads and teachingfocus of such colleagues, perhaps a greater onus exists for the efficient role integration throughboth researchteaching task integration and collaborative opportunities.

    Mean scores (in descending order) on the enjoyment of typical tasks in academic work-lifeare summarised in Table 4. Items in italics indicate teaching-related roles. With the exception ofresearch preparation (e.g. funding applications), overall research-related activities are reported asmore enjoyable than teaching-related activities. However, the satisfaction gained from interactionswith undergraduate students is comparable (albeit still less) to that gained from research students.The assessment of coursework is considered as the least enjoyable activity by this cohort. Therewere no significant differences in response based on background categorisations.

    For a range of academic achievements, mean scores of their perceived value are summarised inTable 5. Where possible, the data are displayed to demonstrate the value of comparable achieve-ments in teaching and research.Although student success and good student feedback are importantto faculty, other teaching achievements, including publication and recognition through prizes andawards, are reported as of a relatively low value. Teaching-related funding and publication arereported as of a least value amongst the list of typical achievements, contrary to comparableresearch activities. Not surprisingly, a higher value is given to the external rather than internalrecognition of research, whereas greater weighting is given to the internal recognition of teaching.Other valued achievements were reported as:

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  • 372 E. Alpay and R. Verschoor

    the development and progression of postgraduate students, industrial relevance/transfer of research work, international collaborations, consultancy work, recognition and reward for administrative responsibilities, salary increase; successful public engagement, and the use of ones research work in lectures (teaching) by others.

    The general trends in Table 5 are consistent amongst the male and female respondents. However,in all teaching-related categories, the mean scores of the female participants were higher thanthose of the male participants. Similarly, professorial level faculty reported a marginally highervalue in international research recognition (mean score difference of 0.7, p < .01) and (similarly)reputation as a successful researcher (mean score difference of 0.6, p < .01).

    Fifty-three per cent of the respondents reported that industry had played a role in their workmotivation (53% for both Russell and non-Russell group respondents; 55% and 47% for maleand female respondents, respectively). As expected, most reasons for such motivation relatedto research direction (e.g. defining research needs, new ideas and challenges) and funding (e.g.project funding, studentships, and consultancy work). A few respondents commented on teachingmotivation benefits through student industry visits and the identification of real-world problemsand cases.

    Table 3. Important aspects of work-life.

    Overall mean Russell Non-Russellscore (std. dev.) Male Female group group

    Academic freedom 6.3 (1.1) 6.4 6.1Intellectual work environment 6.2 (1.0)Flexible working hours 5.9 (1.3)Inspirational colleagues 5.9 (1.1)Diversity of work 5.8 (1.1)PG student development/learning 5.7 (1.3)Collaborative research opportunities 5.7 (1.4) 5.7 6.0UG student development/learning 5.2 (1.6)Personal development opportunities 5.0 (1.0) 4.9 5.4Industry research collaboration 5.0 (1.9) 4.8 5.3Advancement within organisation 4.8 (1.6)Research-teaching integration 4.8 (1.6) 4.6 5.2Industry-teaching collaboration 4.7 (1.8) 4.5 5.0Academic team teaching 4.1 (1.3) 3.9 4.5 3.8 4.6Sabbatical/secondment 4.0 (1.9)

    Notes: Means scores (7-point scale) are shown for the entire sample and for male/female and Russell group categorisations.Category data are only shown for mean-score differences that are statistically significant at the 1% probability level.

    Table 4. Task enjoyment [mean score (7-point scale); standard deviation].

    Undertaking research [6.3; 1.1] Interaction with UG students [5.6; 1.4]Research student supervision [6.0; 1.0] Preparation of courses [4.7; 1.5]Research dissemination [5.7; 1.2] Research preparation [3.8; 1.7]Delivery of courses [5.6; 1.2] Assessment of courses [3.2; 1.6]

    Note: Teaching tasks in italics.

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    Table 5. Value of achievements.

    Overall mean Russell Non-Russell OverallAchievement score (std. dev.) Male Female group group rank

    Research: institutional recognition (e.g. award,prize, letter)

    5.3 (1.7) 8

    Teaching: institutional recognition (e.g. as above) 4.3 (1.9) 4.1 4.8 11Research: national recognition (e.g. as above) 5.7 (1.6) 5.9 5.3 6aTeaching: national recognition (e.g. as above) 3.9 (1.9) 3.7 4.4 12Research: international recognition (e.g. as

    above)6.0 (1.6) 6.2 5.6 4

    Teaching: international recognition (e.g. asabove)

    3.8 (2.0) 3.6 4.3 13

    Research publications 6.2 (1.3) 6.4 5.7 2Teaching/learning-related publications 3.3 (1.8) 3.0 3.3 3.0 3.8 15Accomplishment of novel research work 6.5 (1.1) 6.6 6.1 1Successful intro. of a novel teaching initiative 5.0 (1.6) 10Reputation as an accomplished researcher 6.2 (1.4) 6.3 5.9 3Reputation as an outstanding/innovative teach 5.3 (1.6) 9Success in research funding 5.7 (1.6) 5.9 5.4 6bSuccess in funding for a teaching-related activity 3.4 (1.9) 3.3 3.9 3.2 3.8 14Excellent student feedback 5.8 (1.3) 5Student success in courses (e.g. grades) 5.6 (1.3) 7

    Notes: Mean scores (7-point scale) are shown for the entire sample and for male/female and Russell group categorisations. Categorydata are only shown for mean-score differences that are statistically significant at the 1% probability level.

    Table 6. Useful support for learning to manage the different academic roles [mean score (7-pointscale); standard deviation].

    Colleagues and peers Work experience(e.g. discussion, feedback, observations) [5.4; 1.4] in industry [4.1; 2.2]

    Other support staff [4.4; 1.7] Books/websites/guides [4.0; 1.9]Academic advisor/mentor [4.2; 1.8] Other work experience [4.0; 2.1]Work experience as post doc [4.2; 1.9] Workshops/training [3.5; 1.6]

    3.4. Learning to manage the different academic roles

    In learning how to manage different academic roles, mean scores (in descending order) on theusefulness of various support systems are summarised in Table 6 for the entire sample. Supportby colleagues and peers through, e.g. discussions, feedback, and observations, was indicated asmost useful. Surprisingly, the least useful support was reported to be through workshops andother equivalent training, this actually being perceived as less useful than information availablein books, guides, or websites. There were no statistically significant differences in responsebased on gender or academic rank categorisations. However, respondents from non-Russell groupuniversities gave a marginally higher value to work experience and books/websites/guides (i.e.mean scores approximately 0.3 higher than for the Russell group respondents, p < .01).

    4. Further discussion and recommendations

    The above results show that for a range of academic achievements, teaching accomplishmentsare perceived as relatively low in value. This is especially so for education-related publicationsand funding. Teaching motivation is indicated to arise from a genuine care of student pro-gression and the satisfaction gained from student interactions and course delivery. Indeed, the

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    satisfaction gained from interactions with undergraduate students is comparable to that gainedfrom research students. The role of student feedback is also indicated as an important motivator.Nevertheless, institutional (local) recognition of teaching quality is especially valued by somefaculty.

    Although teaching recognition, and tangible support for teaching and learning developments,are likely to promote a stronger teaching culture, in reality the perceived value of such recognitionis likely to be overshadowed by research aspirations. However, the data suggest two immediateareas of support that may help alleviate work pressures, namely a reduction in the burdens ofstudent assessment and research funding preparation. The former may involve the greater for-mal use of, e.g. teaching assistants and teaching-only staff. Indeed, many institutions are makingthe increasing use of such teaching support through the appointment of teaching-only staff (e.g.teaching fellows), with the added benefit of importing industrial know-how and/or specialisteducational expertise. In a similar way, funding application support could arise through spe-cialised technical support staff. A greater onus on collaborative research funding may also help toreduce the pressures on individual faculty performance, especially in the early years of employ-ment, and provide greater social motivation for this aspect of research. Both aspects of supportinvolve the greater operationalisation of teaching and research, thus shifting the responsibilityfor effectiveness further from the individual to the institution.

    A stronger teaching culture may also emerge through the common use of research-enablingstudent projects and coursework.Although, many faculty report the relatively low value of teachingto their research work, others indicate clear benefits in the use of undergraduate students forproductive research topic exploration and development. Wider dissemination of such practices isneeded, with perhaps particular focus on the approaches employed by teaching researchers withinteaching-focused institutions. As mentioned above, such faculty may have further incentives forresearchteaching integration and collaborative work as a means of accommodating for greaterteaching responsibilities and expectations.

    The perceived value of social support in the development and progression of the teachingresearcher is clearly indicated. This suggests a need for the explicit nurturing of a teachingcommunity to capitalise on, e.g. peer support and mentoring opportunities. In recent years, theformalisation of teacher training practices, with requirements in some cases of certification, hasled to some centralisation in workshop/training provisions. However, practice-based approaches,whereby the training is integrated into the work-life of the researcher and actively supported by apeer-based teaching community (e.g. mentors, teaching teams, teaching assistants, and teachingfellows) may provide a greater impact on both faculty motivation and development. The effective-ness of such support still requires strong leadership to ensure processes for teaching developmentand community support are set and followed, and indeed resources and practices reflect establishedand emerging engineering education scholarship.

    In summary, key recommendations arising from this study include:

    (1) The formal institutional recognition of teaching quality through widespread and regularawards.

    (2) The further operationalisation of teaching and research process, specifically to addressworkloads associated with student assessment and research funding preparation.

    (3) The wider dissemination of examples of research-enabling projects and coursework.(4) A greater understanding of the work practices of research-active faculty within teaching-

    focused institutions.(5) An evaluation of set-ups and processes to facilitate an effective teaching community

    that accommodates new teacher training, ongoing and tangible support, and educationalscholarship.

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  • European Journal of Engineering Education 375

    5. Conclusion

    A national UK survey of research-active faculty has explored attitudes towards the teaching andresearch roles. The perceived value of teaching achievements relative to research is demonstratedto be low. Likewise, whilst many faculty recognise the relevance of their research to teachingquality, there is relatively low utilisation of teaching opportunities to enhance/support researchdevelopment. Faculty on the whole report satisfaction from course delivery and student interaction,but feel especially burdened by assessment tasks. Indeed, assessment was on average reportedwith greater dislike than research funding preparation. The further operationalisation of teachingand research processes, and the facilitation of an effective teaching community, are possibleinstitution-level approaches for supporting the teaching researcher. The wider dissemination ofexamples of research-enabling student projects and coursework may also act as inspiration forgreater teachingresearch role consolidation.

    Funding

    This work was supported by the National HE STEM programme.

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    About the authors

    Esat Alpay is Director of Teaching Senior Lecturer in Chemical and Process and Engineering at the University of Surrey,UK. He received his BSc degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Surrey and his PhD from the Universityof Cambridge. He also holds an MA degree in the Psychology of Education from the Institute of Education (London).He has wide interests in the support and development of engineering students. He has received several national teachingawards, including the Times Higher Award for the course Research Skills Development and the HEA Teaching Award forhis work on Engineering Ethics.

    Rianne Verschoor is a Training officer at Meyn Food Processing Technology, Amsterdam. She is currently responsiblefor a wide range of training and coaching activities. She holds a BA degree in Business Adminstration from HogeschoolDiedenoort Wageningen, and an MA degree in the Psychology of Education from the Institute of Education (London).She was formerly a research officer at Imperial College London working on a UK Higher Education funded project titledPractices and Approaches for the Integration of Teaching and Research.

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    IntroductionMethodologyOverall research designParticipantsQuestionnaireProcedure

    Results and discussionDemographicsResearch and teaching integrationImportant and enjoyable aspects of workLearning to manage the different academic roles

    Further discussion and recommendationsConclusionFundingReferencesAbout the authors

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