Research and Teaching: Friends or Foes?
| Peter Klein |
Administrators at every research university know the mantra, repeated endlessly to parents, funders, and overseers: cutting-edge research and top-notch (undergraduate) teaching go hand-in-hand. But there is surprisingly little work, theoretical or empirical, investigating the relationship. Here is an edited transcript of a discussion between economists Jim Gwartney (Florida State), Dirk Mateer (Penn State), Rich Vedder (Ohio U), and Russ Sobel (West Virginia) about the relationship between research and teaching. They were asked (1) is research needed for good teaching, and (2) can research activity harm teaching?
Higher education has two key missions: transferring existing knowledge to students, and discovering new knowledge. While the two functions are not mutually exclusive, there is a growing awareness that trade-offs exist between them. Does an emphasis on research detract from undergraduate education? Are too much time and money spent on research rather than teaching? Is career advancement (such as tenure) too dependent on research, a la “publish or perish?”
We asked four noted university-based economists to discuss those issues. . . .