The effectiveness of the teaching-research nexus in facilitating student learning
The modern university may arguably be characterised by a steadfast belief in the mutually beneficial relationship between the teaching and research activities of its academics. Quantitative studies however have repeatedly demonstrated negative or zero correlation between the various teaching and research measures employed at the individual academic level. Very few investigations contributing to the teaching-research nexus debate have examined the student perspective. The present study therefore looked at the influence of the teaching-research nexus in facilitating student learning. The results of a survey and follow-up discussion groups conducted as part of the present investigation appear to indicate that there is limited benefit to the student at the tangible, tacit or global level of the teaching and research relationship. There is also no support for the premise that active research involvement of an academic is a requirement for good teaching. The central conclusion of the study is in fact that the teaching and research activities of academics should be treated as unrelated entities. Although it is necessary and beneficial to retain an effective teaching-research nexus at the institutional and departmental levels, students do not appear to benefit greatly from individual teaching staff involvement in research activities. At an individual level, research and teaching activities compete for limited time and resources with little benefit of the transference between these reported as evident by students.