Should researchers be expected to teach???

As for my thoughts on how to change higher education I have many, but am not confident in many of them…

There is one staple of higher education that I often wonder if it is outdated, and that is the idea that professors should be researching and teaching.  There are some great professors out there that are great at balancing research and teaching responsibilities, but there are many that are terrible at it.  The reality is that professors are doing what any good employee does and focusing their energy on what they are being evaluated on.. and that is RESEARCH.  Therefor I do not question the professors that slack on teaching because they are busy with research, I question the system that pressures them to do this.

As for the fix to this problem…  Maybe we need more positions at universities that are responsible for teaching, and less responsible for research.  I picture a structure where professors are responsible for writing grants, being PIs, and focusing on research, and other professionals assist these PIs with research but are also responsible for teaching classes.  More importantly, the people teaching classes would be evaluated for their teaching responsibilities just as much and maybe even more, as their research. This would give those teaching classes more incentive to focus on teaching well, while still being knowledgeable of cutting edge research.

Category(s): Prep Future Prof

3 Responses to Should researchers be expected to teach???

  1. I didn’t even think about this point, but wow it’s an important one. I don’t see the problem with hiring faculty whose sole responsibility is research, and visa versa for teaching. Why must they do both?

  2. I think your point about the delicate balance between research and lecturing is very important and one that we see very regularly here on the Virginia Tech campus. I was in undergrad here, and I remember frequently hearing individuals putting the blame on professors who would slack on their lectures and say they are probably too busy researching. I understand this problem, however I don’t necessarily have a good solution. The balance between lecturing and researching is a delicate one, I agree.

  3. It’s frustrating as a student when you are paying thousands of dollars to be taught by someone who doesn’t want to be in the classroom. I think it’s a better idea to have some who are focused on research and some on teaching. Those focused on research could develop a better research lab, advise more students, and bring in more money. Those devoted to teaching would develop better students equipped to lead the world.

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