A multi-faceted profile
My thanks to Diane Peters for the wonderful article
“Courting Conflict” (November 2012 issue).
Comprehensively researched with multiple perspectives,
the story provided of Constance Backhouse as a pioneer
Canadian feminist legal academic is an important one
for all. I especially appreciated how Professor Backhouse’s
direct approach to sexism in the workplace and gender
equity overall is celebrated and given merit by the writer.
So often women are encouraged to be more “diplomatic”
and less assertive when dealing with issues of gender
equity by colleagues and academic leaders, for fear that
they might be labelled aggressive. Going at equity work
“square on” seems like a good idea to me.
11 12 $4.50 / 4, 50 UA AU
Are university teaching and research
linked? No one really knows
La recherche et l’enseignement sont-ils reliés? Personne ne le sait
Spécialiste de l’histoire juridique,
Constance Backhouse ne craint pas
Bring it on
Legal history scholar Constance Backhouse
rarely shies away from controversy
M. Lynn Aylward
Dr. Aylward is an associate professor in the school of education at Acadia University.
Teaching well takes time
in the ongoing debate about whether good
teachers should also be researchers, we need to
think seriously about the time stress under
which faculty work (“The teaching-only stream,”
November issue). Hours spent teaching are not
available for research, and hours spent writing
papers, applying for grants and the like are
clearly not available for thinking about and
improving one’s teaching.
I think I am a pretty good teacher, but I
would be a better teacher and teach more to the
“state of the art” of pedagogy if I could liberate
some time from research. Maybe teaching professors don’t get the same respect as research-centred colleagues. But that is as much the fault
of our institutions, which always reward research
achievement and offer, at best, lukewarm support to great teachers.
’Twas ever thus, and despite years of agonizing about pedagogy, our universities have yet to
adequately reward teaching for the noble and
difficult enterprise that it is.
4 / www.universityaffairs.ca / December 2012
As an active researcher, I can say that my
teaching has definitely informed my research,
but I am not sure I could say that my research
has benefited my teaching. Furthermore, I absolutely reject the notion that a PhD-trained professor without any current research cannot keep
abreast of the latest developments. I read tons of
papers outside of my own field in the interests
of keeping abreast of disciplines that I have to
teach but which are not my major research area.
Anyone who has been trained in research ought
to be able to do the same.
When I see the challenges faced by this generation of undergraduates, I am convinced that
universities need great teachers more than ever.
Some of those teachers should be unencumbered
by the chores of publishing, grant writing and
graduate student supervision in order to devote
more time – that rarest commodity – to teaching.
Dr. Park is an associate professor in the department of biology
and with the Centre for Forest Interdisciplinary Research at the
University of Winnipeg.
Teaching vs. instruction
there is a great difference between instruction
and teaching, the latter implying education of the
whole person, irrespective of the subject we are
engaged in with our students. Instruction, no matter how scholarly the content, often proves educationally destructive: lack of understanding in
depth, fear of failure (which is part of true learning) and the psychological problems that result.
Those of us engaged directly in youth education must never cease studying, and this is what
is required as distinct from research, which is a
narrower aspect pedagogically. We need to impart
to our students an enthusiasm for learning (not
necessarily achieved by “one lump” concentrated
research) and fearlessness in the face of failure.
Einstein, among many famous mathematicians
and scientists, is a good example of an enthusiastic learner.
The professor is a lifelong learner who keeps
up with new ideas and findings on a regular
basis, who is constructively critical, and who
imparts that attitude to our students. Maybe a