Size does not matter for the arts 2

January 31, 2003

The white paper argues against the link between teaching and research while acknowledging that "scholarly activity" is necessary to sustain quality. Its "heavy" science model favours large centres with lots of researchers using the latest technology. A new band of 6* departments is to be created.

For my discipline, psychology, this means special status for some of the top 296, out of the 1,285 active researchers. Outside the big international players, most universities are being told to forget research and focus on teaching.

But can research disciplines be adequately taught by lecturers who get to read only articles produced by colleagues in the favoured elite departments? Is the heavy science model appropriate to all disciplines? Will academics be motivated in a role shorn of research?

Research is not necessarily about big bucks, does not always result in 5* outputs, can be valuable to the local and national economy without registering on the international Richter scale and must be available as a right and opportunity to all academics.

Tony Ward
University of the West Indies
Jamaica

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