What else do your lecturers do?

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Southampton Univeristy supposedly provides a research led education in all of it’s academic units (or schools as they used to be called). Indeed; it touts this quite loudly in its 2011 prospectus when it says:

You will be taught by academics working at the forefront of their fields and learn about world-leading research as it takes place…

The university has today produced a short video covering just some of the research that goes on at the university, who the university works with and just one or two of our “spin-off” companies. This is embedded below, and is available on YouTube, just in case you didn’t already know what you’re lecturers are doing when they are not teaching…

This being the case, how many of you really feel that you’re getting this up-to-date, fascinating research focus in your day-to-day courses? Are your lecturers giving you an insight into the modern academic world or do you get the feeling that you aren’t getting what you’ve paid for?

As an aside, I think it’s nice to see the university as an institution attempting some science communication, though I suspect this kind of rigid, almost “marketing style” of outreach appears rather laboured and doesn’t invoke the joy of actually doing the science all that well.

Sources

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Discussion5 Comments

  1. avatar

    The cutting edge research going on at Southampton isn’t just scientific. Of course, concrete results and flashy equipment look much more exciting than journal papers, books and ideas but it’s there, and it’s equally impressive.

    Benjamin Brooks
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    Very true Ellie,
    Indeed included in the video is the Archaeology dept. (last time I checked that was still a humanities subject). That said I see what you’re saying, and it is a shame that the less “show-ey” research has been largely missed out.
    Ben

    Ellie
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    Arch is one of those subjects, perhaps like Geography, that bridges the science/humanities gap quite well. Linguistics too, is very scientific – and Soton is amazing for linguistics research, people working with Chomsky etc… we never hear about that, which is a huge shame. In regards to the post below, I think research and students needs to stop being seen as separate entities – Oxbridge ties the two together fantastically which makes the process of study more rewarding and useful for everyone. It’s a shame Southampton doesn’t do that more at undergrad level. If nothing else, I think if lecturers are interested in their field to the point of doing research on it, that would come across if they teach about it, and enthusiasm would be infectious… I can dream!

  2. avatar

    It’s fantastic that our lecturers and tutors are doing this world-class research: it obviously boosts the university’s reputation, and attracts investment too. However, staff are often so busy researching, that they barely have time to teach – hence minimal contact hours for Humanities students.

    During the application process, I was well aware that Southampton was a “leading research university”, but I didn’t know what this actually meant. If I ran an open day for Humanities students, the first thing I’d say would be: “Your lecturers are far too busy to teach you, so you’ll actually be paying thousands of pounds for a reading list.” I guess my point is that Southampton needs to be honest with prospective undergraduates.

    The issue is connected to the whole value-for-money debate. ‘Tuition fees’ implies teaching – Hums students should have increased contact hours in future. The university needs to build additional lecture theatres, hire staff purely for teaching purposes, or reduce its student intake. Or they could be really honest and rename the payments ‘research fees’.

  3. avatar

    I think this video is fantastic. I have read other points made below and I can see why students feel their lecturers don’t have time to teach because of all their research.
    But in biological sciences, our lecturers don’t just take a day off because they want to do their research more. They’re awarded a lectureship and that’s their job, they have to do both their research and teaching which is why its a fantastic and unique learning experience. They actually do come in and tell us what they have just discovered, or what they are researching now.
    It’s great to have this and I’m glad my school does it so well..

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