Reflecting on the Roles and Responsibilities of University Faculty and Management
Edited by Roger Sugden, Marcela Valania and James R. Wilson
Chapter 3: Balancing the core activities of universities: for a university that teaches
The question as to how to balance the core activities of the university can be taken as a simple technical question. In that case – and on the assumption that there are three core activities: teaching, research and service – balancing would mean something like doing one-third of each. One may perhaps wish to argue that everything a modern university does should be research-led, research-based or research-driven, in which case the balancing would be a matter of putting research first and making sure that the other activities follow proportionally. Or one might want to make the case that the university should first and foremost provide service – service to the community, service to society, or service to the economy, for example – in which case considerations of service should drive teaching and research. Yet this already shows that the question of balancing is actually never simply an arithmetical issue but leads us straight to the question of what the university is for. This is the question I will pursue in this chapter in order to develop a line of thinking that may help in engaging with the question of balancing in a more imaginative way.
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