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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
Ireland’s first Technological University(TU) came into existence in January2019, mergingthree existinghigher education institutions. This work is set in the context of thisnew TU, and explores how teaching, learning and educational research can co-evolve to generate synergies supported by evidence-based practice of the core activity sets of the lecturer. In thedisciplinarydomain ofBusiness Education, theHead of Learning Development and Head ofResearch haveidentified thebenefits of aligningaspects oftheir work in supporting academic staff to plan and undertake structured inquiry into their teaching. This is predicated on our belief that the range of work involved in supporting teaching and research are not mutually exclusive. Having a clear vision, followed through with actions, that is underpinned by shared values and common grounds for intellectual commitment,wewishtotakeadvantage ofwhatworkingmoreclosely together onsharedinitiativescan bringforstaff andstudents.We shareanaimof: • exploringconsciouscontinuousresearching andteaching integration inBusinessEducation. • increasing evidence ofteaching excellence inBusinessEducation through evidence-based practice; • theremoval ofasilomentalityinthedisciplines; • creating synergistic approaches inteaching andresearching intheCollege; • supportingcollaborative andcollective thinkingandlearning; • buildingresearch capability fromteaching capability; • promotingandrecognising excellence withinteaching acrosstheCollege andraise theprofileofteaching asanevidence-based practice. Initial conversations focused on how integrating research and teaching can drive excellence and pedagogic innovation in practice. Ultimately, an exploration of concepts and practice of excellence in relation to teaching and research can ensure a qualitystudent learning experience. The importance of involvement of staff with strong pedagogical skills has been highlighted where strategic decisions related to teaching, learning and assessment are being made. Bringing business school theory to teaching practice, the work draws on theories of co-evolution existing within various fields such as sociology and biology (Thompson, 2005) and combines this with the synergy construct from the strategic management literature (e.g. Shaver, 2006). In combining these approaches, we are hoping a framework can be developed that can recognise and capture the interactions and complex underlying processes between teaching and research that ensures institutional fitness and also facilitates the respective heads of teaching and learning and research in integrating synergies into the process. This approach is not deterministic, but recognises that in co-evolutionary processes, traits and characteristics of participants change and ‘fitness’emerges. As progressing excellence and innovation in teaching and learning with staff involves seeking evidence-based methods to inform their teaching practice, a key challenge going forward is how to gather the right types of evidence to demonstrate teaching excellence. We would like to open a conversation with colleagues at the conference, discussing and building in multiple perspectives and other solutions from colleagues facing similar challenges in their institutions. This will continue to encourage new ideas and freshways of thinking about our work.
Donnelly, R., & McQuillan, D. (2020). Supporting academic synergies through co-evolution of teaching and research excellence from evidence-based practice. Research-led teaching: Defining and Celebrating a Tradition. University of Kent (Canterbury Campus), 26 February. https://research.kent.ac.uk/resledteach/conference-live-and-recordings/