Challenges to christian higher education at a time of increasing emphasis on research

Brian Hemmings, Douglas Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Australia, both Christian and non-Christian higher education institutions (HEIs) have experienced a rapidly changing external environment that is becoming more performance-driven, particularly in relation to faculty research. Academics working in Australian Christian HEIs often feel pressure to keep pace with their counterparts in non-Christian HEIs. Without proactive steps by Christian HEIs and the faculty serving in that context, decreasing levels of government funding to support research may be targeted to non-Christian HEIs. The result of this pattern would potentially influence the ability of Christian HEIs to attract high-caliber staff and students. The focus of this article, a case study involving a large Australian Protestant Christian HEI, examines the process of moving from a teaching-led culture to one reflecting a strong nexus between teaching and research. The research methodology included observations made during site visits, reviews of relevant documents, individual semistructured interviews with eight faculty, and follow-up information obtained from the same participants. A thematic analysis, as outlined by Braun and Clarke (2006), identified the primary theme that emerged as that of the journey followed by the participants as the research and publication output of the institution was enhanced. The participants' personal standing within their institution was also increased during this process. Four related subthemes described in the paper included struggles, advances, barriers/blocks, and supports/backers-as part of the individual and institutional journey. Implications of the findings for higher education professionals within and beyond the research site are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalChristian Higher Education
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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