Ulster University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 311-320
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0121
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
A research-teaching nexus (RTN) involves integrating research and teaching, with the benefits being increasingly recognised by universities. There exists a myriad of contextual factors that impact successful RTN integration. This is further complicated as many RTN models are theoretical, lacking empirical evidence, or practical pedagogic support tools (Clark and Hordosy, 2019; Healey et al., 2010; White and Irons, 2007; Boyer, 2002). Those models which are practical e.g., Connected Learning at UCL (Fung and Carnell, 2017), tend to be customised to the institution(s) where they are used. Consequently, this paper reports on how a study conducted at Ulster University helped to understand the perception and practice of Ulster academics, identifying limitations, challenges and conceptual misunderstandings. This led to the development of a RTN model bringing in a more applied framing of RTN, emphasising the opportunities for active and enquiry-based learning, benefits for students’ skills development, and practical suggestions for integration. This became the basis of the design and development of a customised digital toolkit, responding to the gap in RTN practical pedagogic support for academics (Ballentine, 2022). It provides more practical information, expanding primarily upon Healey’s types of RTN adopted institutionally (Ulster University, 2021), and customised by studying the literature, survey findings (from Ulster academics), and Ulster case studies. The toolkit identifies RTN Activities, organised along a spectrum of passive-to-active student engagement, the RTN Competencies that can be developed amongst students by engaging in these activities, and a series of RTN Checklists to inspire RTN decision making. This toolkit has been piloted with academics from a range of disciplines with positive feedback. Early findings confirm that, for even experienced academics, it has helped to clarify conceptual understanding and led to new ideas for strengthening research teaching integration. This research contributes to the knowledge base on RTNs, providing a practical RTN case study at a large university, which is of relevance to universities with vested interests in strengthening the impact of research teaching integration for both academics and students. 

[1] Ballentine, M.,et. al. (2022) Research-Teaching Nexus (RTN) Toolkit. Ulster University.
[2] Boyer, E. L. (2002) Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. Reinventing Undergraduate Education, Three Years After the Boyer Report. Stony Brook, NY.  
[3] Clark, T., & Hordosy, R. (2019) Undergraduate experiences of the research / teaching nexus across the whole student lifecycle. Teaching in Higher Education. 24(3). p.p. 412-427.
[4] Fung, D. and Carnell, B. (2017). UCL Connected Curriculum: Enhancing programmes of study. Second edition. University College London, UK.
[5] Healey, (2010) The research–teaching nexus: a case study of students' awareness, experiences and perceptions of research, Innovations in Education and Teaching International. 47(2). p.p. 235-246.
[6] Ulster University (2021) Research Teaching Nexus. Ulster's Student Learning Experience Principles. 
[7] White, S. and Irons, A. (2007) The research teaching nexus in the computing disciplines: a comparative survey. Proceedings of the Informatics Education Europe II Conference IEEII 2007.
Research teaching nexus, digital toolkit, higher education, survey, pedagogy  .