The authors present their view that successful university education depends on having a strong connection between research and teaching. From a policy view this is founded on the opinion that at the university level students should have a curriculum based on an awareness of the current research. The authors then analyse the reality and see how in most cases research and teaching are funded and assessed by different bodies and that this results in a growing separation between the two aspects of a university. While they have looked at case studies from the UK, US and Australasia there is a clear UK bias in the analysis.
They look at how research and teaching can be brought together at the personal, departmental, institutional and national level. They find that at the personal level the connection is implied but that at the national level at least in the UK the current funding bias towards research through the RAE is pushing teaching and research further apart. One way they see of improving this connection is to strengthen subject specific pedagogy by developing scholarship and including this as a research outcome.
This book was written in 2001/02 and there was an expectation that the framework for the 2006/7 RAE (ultimately it was the 2008/9 RAE) would be altered to try and develop the nexus. The research councils have certainly changed the way they fund post-graduate education in the UK using the doctoral training centres in particular to strengthen interdisciplinary areas. So it would be interesting to see how the authors view the changes since 2001 and if they think that the situation has improved or deteriorated.