There are a number of reasons why teaching, learning, and research should be progressively integrated. First, as Ron Barnett (1997) argues, higher education needs to be inquiry-based so that students develop the skills needed to be able to cope with the complexity of a world which we cannot at any time fully understand. This suggests that students need to be involved in learning how to generate, evaluate, and transfer knowledge alongside researchers, a fact which brings them closer to the research activities of the university and helps them to see the importance of research and inquiry skills for their future careers. Second, the university would become a place where both faculty and students in their different ways get together to develop strategies, techniques, tools, and experience needed to address important and challenging issues of the world today. The third reason for integrating research, teaching, and learning rests on the nature of change and on how academia develops its capacity to cope with this global change. With the advance of science and technology, new knowledge and/or information emerges unexpectedly every day. In education, new teaching and learning methodologies are speedily developed, giving rise to controversies. To cope with this flow of information, collaborative research among teachers and between teachers and students in all disciplines is inevitable. Fourth, conflicts in values and cultural imbalances are an everyday occurence. Universities play a special role in working across borders to help in bridging cultures through research and cooperation. Faculty members and students should become familiar with the world and make themselves known to the world. Such an endeavor is fairly difficult because understanding culture or interpreting cultural differences could be a very challenging experience. This is due to the diversity and complexity of culture, as well as its constantly changing nature. To that end, universities need to provide their faculty and students with the proper exposure and opportunities so that they engage in joint research and ultimately come to terms with other cultures.
Excellence in higher education involves, among other things, creating opportunities where teachers and students at all levels participate in research and inquiry in an attempt to meet the learning needs of both the faculty and students as well as the needs of the society at large.
Dr. Assaad Eid,
Vice President, Sponsored Research and Development,
Notre Dame University - Louaize, Lebanon
Tel: +961-9-218950, ext. 2120.
Fax: +961-9- 224517