Re: Robin Hill's query

Devi Jankowicz (
Thu, 28 Aug 97 22:16:10 +0100

The following

>Also, within our own
>department, we/I have begun to de-emphasise use of the word
>"research" and instead emphasise the concept of "inquiry." I think
>the staff themselves feel happier with that too. Some of that
>"inquiry" might just blossom into peer reviewed publication, in which
>case we'll have a celebration, and pat people on the back.

seems a very sane approach to an issue which has IMHO been mishandled in
the UK. The trick will be to ensure the institution lives up to its
promise to reward for in-house as well as externally refereed publication
in practice; while the same kind words were stated here in the UK, the
level of competition got to be so that, regardless of what the official
policy documents say, only the latter "counts" in practice.

A distinction I personally find useful within our own system is a
threefold one:
research-aware - research-active - research-productive
That enables me to press for the legitimisation of colleagues who see
themselves largely as teachers and educators: to be good at that, they
need to be the first, i.e., up-to-date in their materials.
It also enables me to encourage colleagues who are doing the second to
publish, whether internally or externally, since if one _is_ to engage in
research in order to further knowledge, one only does this as a function
of the extent to which others are aware of the results of this labour. (A
particularly important argument for a constructvist, I like to think.)
And it enables me to encourage colleagues doing the third to consider the
status of their outlets, and if they _wish_ to do the conventional thing,
to choose the better-known refereed outlets.

Overriding all this is the tricky organisational task of getting my
department and university to give equal value and status to those who
wish mainly to teach: to legitimise, and build such legitimacy into the
reward system. It's part of my role to do the former, incidentally, as
Reader in the department, while being powerless about the latter. But
jeez, it's a tricky task, for all the reasons which Robin and Harry have


Devi Jankowicz