Promoting strategic scholarship in university teaching and learning: researching student attrition and retention at an Australian 'new generation' university

Danaher, Patrick Alan and Somasundaram, Jay and Bowser, Don (2004) Promoting strategic scholarship in university teaching and learning: researching student attrition and retention at an Australian 'new generation' university. In: Presentations at the Learning and Teaching, Widening Participation and Research and Development Units, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, 22 September 2004, Manchester, United Kingdom. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The approach to teaching and learning advocated in this paper is centred on the notion of ‘strategic scholarship’ (Danaher, 2004; Danaher, Harreveld, Luck & Nouwens, 2004). On the one hand, this notion eschews an ‘ivory tower’ construction of research disconnected from the lived experiences and practical concerns of individuals and groups. On the other hand, this notion resists the promotion of an anti-intellectual agenda that favours untheorised practice that fails to engage with the deeply embedded educational, political and sociocultural inequities confronting the world today. From this perspective, strategic scholarship can be seen as a crucial partner of ‘evidence-based practice’ (Centre for Evidence Based Social Services, n.d.) in assisting universities to be(come) potentially transformative ‘learning organisations’ (Farago & Skyrme, 1995). It is also a powerful counternarrative to the ‘research/teaching’ binary that causes many conscientious university teachers to believe that teaching remains less highly valued than research in universities. We illustrate this argument through a discussion of current constructions of student attrition and retention at an Australian ‘new generation’ university. Some of those constructions seek simple solutions to complex and diverse issues, such as the array of links among curriculum, pedagogy and assessment on the one hand and students’ (dis)engagements with a course or program on the other. The dilemmas attendant on developing a model of student attrition that addresses the distinctive characteristics of the university being discussed encapsulate the challenges and opportunities of promoting strategic scholarship in relation to this central concern of university teaching and learning. In particular, we explore those challenges and opportunities by means of three organising questions: • Which forms of evidence are available to stakeholders in student attrition and retention and how are they linked with practice? • Which concepts and research questions are helpful in understanding and engaging with student attrition and retention? • How can the evidence and the research findings be transformed into strategic scholarship around student attrition and retention? These research questions can be expressed also in terms of strategic issues confronting contemporary universities, ‘new generation’ and otherwise: • How do we engage our communities? • How do we scope and clarify our areas of inquiry? • How do we promote research, scholarship and evidence-based practice? On the basis of our responses to these questions and issues, we posit the empirical, methodological and theoretical benefits of a strategically scholarly approach to university teaching and learning. References Centre for Evidence Based Social Services. (n.d.). What is evidence-based practice? Exeter, UK: Author. Retrieved August 3, 2004, from: http://www.ex.ac.uk/cebss/evidence_based_practice.html Danaher, P. A. (2004, 2004, July 30). Research and professional practice. Invited paper presented at the librarians’ professional forum, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld. Danaher, P. A., Harreveld, R. E., Luck, J. T., & Nouwens, F. (2004, August). Strategic scholarship, evidence-based practice and Central Queensland University as a learning organisation: The Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development Centre’s response to the Central Queensland University review of strategic direction, academic and administrative structures and staffing profile. Rockhampton, Qld: Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development Centre, Division of Teaching and Learning Services, Central Queensland University. Farago, J., & Skyrme, D. J. (1995). The learning organization. Retrieved August 3, 2004, from: http: http://www.skyrme.com/insights/3lrnorg.htm\


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Paper presented at the Learning and Teaching, Widening Participation and Research and Development Units, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom. No copyright restrictions.
Depositing User: Assoc Prof Patrick Danaher
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:54
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: attrition, Australia, Central Queensland University, retention, strategic scholarship
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1951

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