The education–research nexus is omnipresent in academic professional life. How it is articulated depends on specific situations, contexts, and academic hierarchies. The Dutch Recognition and Reward Programme acts upon the nexus, but is understudied how academics in different positions play it out and deal with various contextual aspects.
In this study, Wittgenstein’s notion of language games is combined with Elias’ notion of human figurations to assess articulations and interdependencies in the nexus. We analyzed tensions and strategies in ten homogeneous focus group discussions with assistant, associate, and full professors across social sciences in The Netherlands. All academics identified tensions regarding the balancing of research and education and a systemic undervaluation of education. Their games differed however. Assistant professors experienced personal insecurities, whereas associate professors faced further differentiation of tasks, and full professors dealt with responsibilities concerning group performance and market-driven demands in both domains. In some figurations, research and education were balanced at team level. Paradoxically, all academics’ strategies tended to reproduce and strengthen patterns that exist at collective level, including tensions.
Kasja Weenink (MA), with an introduction on the relation with the Dutch Recognition and Reward programme by Dr. Alex Rushford (CWTS).
The study is part of a PhD-project on how people realize higher education quality, conducted by Kasja Weenink at the Institute for Science in Society (ISiS), Radboud University. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Noelle Aarts (ISiS) and Dr. Sandra Jacobs (Amsterdam School of Communications Research). Kasja is also affiliated with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, department of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.