Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Over at Abu Aardvark's site, there is a debate over the importance of research in an academic institution. I agree with Stacey that research is valuable even to scholars whose primary vocation is teaching. For one thing, submitting research for peer review and publication is the best way to ensure that you're keeping up with the latest developments in our field. Otherwise, it's too easy to fall out of touch, especially if you can't make it to conferences and the like. Furthermore, research is, at root, learning. The best way to learn about a field is to dive in and try to do something with all the raw information around us, much like we ask students to do on a regular basis. I know some administrations like to see them as part of a zero-sum game, but a top educational institution will recognize that research enhances educational possibilities, even if the institution's top priority is the latter.

UPDATE: I do like what John Penta has to say. While I don't think abandoning research in universities is desirable or even feasible, I know the sorts of situations he describes and worse, and am glad to see someone actually mad about it rather than just accepting it as their lot.


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