Research and teaching at a research university

  • Serow R
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This paper examines tensions between the research and teaching components of the faculty role. It does so by reporting results from a case study of committed undergraduate teachers at a research university. Having agreed that research was the dominant element in the university's academic reward system, sample members were cross-classified along two dimensions: First, their own adaptation to the reward structure, as indicated by their five-year records of involvement in funded research; second, individuals' stated attitudes and beliefs toward the teaching and research roles. Although the 11 active researchers (ARs) within the sample reported somewhat more positive attitudes towards research than did the 18 lessactive researchers (LAs), we found considerable overlap across, and variation within, the two subsamples. Particularly noteworthy were the presence of a strong allegiance to the historic teaching mission of public universities among both groups and, among the LAs, an oppositional cadre of politically adept senior faculty who had achieved some success in preserving or expanding the place of undergraduate teaching in the reward systems of their departments and colleges. The paper concludes by considering the case study findings in light of both recent theoretical work on intrinsic motivation and the future of the teaching role.

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  • R.C. Serow

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