Universities more concerned about research than teaching

Universities more concerned about research than teaching

University lecturers are more concerned about their own research than teaching, says the British minister for Universities and Science. He calls for a change.

Minister Joseph Johnson wants universities to put teaching back at the forefront, writes The Telegraph. For there are “inspiring academics” that go the extra mile, but also “institutions and individual academics that take a different approach. This goes along the lines of ‘I don’t want to have to set and mark much by way of essays and assignments which would be a distraction from my research.” And students, says this type of academic, don’t want to be hassled either: “You don’t want to do coursework that would distract you from partying: so we’ll award you the degree as the hoped-for job ticket in return for compliance with minimal academic requirements and due receipt of fees’.”

That is not the contract the Governement wants taxpayers to underwrite, Johson says. He notes that universities see their reputation, international standing and marginal funding as being principally determined by scholarly output, and thinks that teaching has therefore been subordinated. Some universities, says the minister, think that they are primarily here for research. “But I would love to see this country develop far more of a reputation for outstanding teaching and to take the focus of highly bureaucratised research which is becoming an ogre that feeds of itself.”

“Universities regard students as necessary nuisances to secure research”

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor at the University of Buckingham, shares the ministers concerns. Universities, says Seldon, regard students as “necessary nuisances to secure research funding but are failing young people when it comes to looking after their wellbeing.”

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