Nurturing the research spirit: The ivory tower and the teaching-research nexus in developing early career research

Year: 2006

Author: Baker, Bill

Type of paper: Refereed paper

After 17 years as a school music educator I feel that I am only now commencing my career as a researcher. Whilst teaching I completed my postgraduate studies out of a sense of personal curiosity and a professional desire for challenge, but also with a view to possibly entering the tertiary sector at some stage in the future. The catalyst for that change came as my role became increasingly that of an administrator and human resource manager - labels that removed me further from the areas of teaching, scholarship and inquiry. In my first year in the tertiary environment starting the research journey has however proven to be more complex than I thought, and I have entered an environment in which my previous perceptions of the 'ivory tower' have been seriously challenged. The need to get "runs on the board" with articles and conferences before applying for grants, the need to generate data in order to do either, and the pressure to "teach more" whilst developing a research profile contribute to this complexity. In this paper I will explore some of the ways in which I have sought to solve this dilemma through optimising the teaching-research nexus.