The University of West London has put research prominently on its development agenda. Having been a teaching-oriented institution for quite some time and now making an effort to become also renowned for research exerts considerable pressure on UWL’s staff and staff development. Even though the School of Computing and Technology already fared well regarding research it faces new challenges.
Last Friday I organised a Research Day to discuss these issues amongst ourselves and with the Interim Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research & Enterprise). The main topic of the Research Day was to discuss how to reconcile teaching and research. As such an event was a bit overdue most of the day was spent on discussing problems and less on thinking about new research venues, as originally planned. It for sure was a very educational and enlightening event for me regarding such things as the current organisation culture, processes, and my colleagues self-conception. And I do not mean that in a negative way.
The main outcome of the Research Day is as simple as that: a better understanding of the status quo. Lots of issues are now on the table and can be addressed. It is also clearer now who wants to be more active in research but needs to be relieved from some teaching duties, e.g., by employment of additional personnel. A closer look at these issues and opportunities over the next weeks and further events like this one will help us develop and move to a new organisation culture where everyone is involved in scholarly activity.