Research-led teaching

Introduction

Research-led teaching is an integral part of the curriculum and as such is being considered across all working groups in the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme. 

The CFT Faculty and Specialist Leads are exploring ideas that will weave research-led teaching into all stages of the tertiary journey. This work is reflected in the Curriculum Framework consultation paper and is highlighted particularly in taumata (CF transformation principles) 3: Builds on our world-class research strengths and ambitions, expands opportunities and connections in research and enhances research-led teaching.

Background

Discussions on the definitions of research-led teaching and what this might look like in the future curriculum were initially developed by the CFT Taskforce Leads and the wider Taskforce.

In the design phase Jul – Dec 2021 these discussions were led by Dr Lisa Uperesa (Arts - Waipapa) with support from Dr Helen Ross (School of Graduate Studies).

Opportunities have been further developed as part of the recommendations on degree structure and learning and teaching delivery working groups and have been considered with regards the other hallmark elements of the CFT (notably Pūtoi Ako, Sustainability and Transdisciplinarity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Definitions

With respect to Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland’s commitment to the relationship of research to teaching, the following definitions have been used:

Research-led teaching: This term refers to a range of research related teaching activities, such as:

  • Research-driven: where students are taught research findings in their field of study
  • Research-oriented: where students learn research processes and methodologies
  • Research-tutored: where students learn through critique and wide-ranging discussion between themselves and staff who can draw upon a deep understanding of thinking and knowledge in their field (advanced skill)
  • Research-based learning: where students learn as researchers and develop research skills on actual projects led by academic staff (advance skill)

Research-informed teaching: The curriculum reflects latest thinking and knowledge in the field of study and staff can deliver curriculum designed by someone else or they are teaching an applied programme that doesn’t require many of the higher-level capabilities and skills associated with research.

Emerging ideas

A Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland experience by its nature is research-informed.  The research-led and research-informed teaching component of the CF explores how we can further weave research-led and research-informed teaching into all stages of the tertiary journey, including how we increase visibility and access and the ability for students to participate in imaginative and innovative programmes designed by leading researchers.  

The standing of the University as a public research-led institution including a high calibre of research staff from a diverse range of disciplines has repeatedly been highlighted as a strength and a major drawcard for students internationally and domestically. There is evidence (through rankings performance for example) that this perception is held externally. It is also recognised that opportunities to experience research (including in co-curricular activities) help enhance education and student experience. A key parallel concern of the CF is to increase the opportunities for students to engage in research, notably in postgraduate study and to pursue research to doctoral level.

This recognises the value of charting clear pathways for students who, having experienced outstanding research-led and research-informed teaching might wish to embark on research activities. The ideas that are being formulated in this space are also driven by the guiding principles of Taumata Teitei.

In particular, the following research and innovation principles: 

  • World-class research inspired by our place in Aotearoa and the Pacific 
  • A global powerhouse of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship 
  • Relevant, purposeful impactful research for our communities 
  • Ambitious research confronting humanity’s greatest challenges 
  • Nurturing, recruiting, and retaining outstanding research talent 
  • A research ecosystem characterised by collaboration, agility, simplicity, engagement, and empowerment. 

Phase 1 of the Curriculum Framework is currently open for consultation and gives the opportunity to feedback on the draft Taumata 3 (noted above) as well as on the Recommendations for Curriculum Structure. There are a number of Recommendations that support Research-led teaching. 

As noted, research-led teaching is an important consideration for a number of the CFT Specialist Areas. The following are some of the emerging recommendations being explored to deliver on the CF taumata that relate to research-led and research-informed teaching as well as their relationship to fostering a positive research culture amongst students including increased opportunities to experience and participate in research both in formal learning and in co-curricular activities.   

  • Increased visibility and access for undergraduate students to the University’s world-class researchers, their research and our research resources
  • More deliberately capture and support research related to pedagogical innovation and incorporate these into our teaching
  • Develop Vertically Integrated Project Model to including disciplinary and transdisciplinary VIPs  
  • Scaffolded skills development 
  • Design of space that enables students to interac with academic staff (using Tai Tonga campus as an expeplar)  
  • Pathways for students into LSRIs 

These ideas will continue to be explored and developed ahead of formal consulation July/Aug 2022. 

Get in touch

For general enquiry, email the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme at CFT@auckland.ac.nz