Ulster University has recognised the importance of a research-teaching nexus (RTN) and has specified the integration of research and teaching as a key principle. Some key benefits of an RTN are listed in Table 1.1 in the Toolkit.
A toolkit has been developed with the aim of helping to inspire and guide academics on the use of an RTN in-line with Ulster’s Strategy, including as defined within the Student Learning Experience Principles. The toolkit provides practical pedagogic support to academic staff members, across the different faculties.
“It is really important that as a university we strengthen the integration of research and teaching not only to sustain our disciplines but also to excite and prepare our students for the longer term challenges after they graduate
Professor Liam Maguire, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research
Benefits of undergraduate research-teaching nexus
Benefits of undergraduate research-teaching nexus adapted from an online article from the University of Oregon’s Office for the Vice President of Research and Innovation (accessed via web, Nov 2021).
- Development of skills such as thinking analytically, question critically, and respond to inquiry
- Strengthens undergraduate education
- Provides additional outlets for teaching, research and to serve
- Fosters a community of scholars that is essential to the intellectual health of the university
- Increased student persistence
- Increased interest and preparedness for postgraduate study
- Higher gains in research skills such as gathering and analysing data, and speaking effectively
- Gains in professional and personal development
- Increasing student retention, and opening career pathways, for minority and underrepresented populations
There is a particular emphasis within the toolkit on the use of more active, inquiry-based approaches to student learning in an RTN.
Inquiry-based learning is a student-centred pedagogical approach that enables learners to ask questions, investigate problems and synthesise knowledge, and form evidence-based conclusions, whilst also collaborating with others such as their peers and professional researchers (Attard et al, 2021; Melville, 2015).
Such an approach requires the use of specific learning activities to engage students with “profession-specific knowledge and practices” (Spernes and Afdal, 2021).