Chris Whitsel (North Dakota State University)
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- Room 214
- Saturday 12 October, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)
Authors:Maia Chankseliani (University of Oxford)
Dilbar Gimranova (KAZGUU University)
Ikboljon Qoraboyev (M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University)
Paper long abstract:
This study investigates the broad potential of higher education teaching and research to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals. There exist two conceptual dimensions to examining the role of teaching in higher education - the instrumental and the holistic/humanistic dimension. At the instrumental level, higher education institutions are expected to equip individuals with technical and soft skills and knowledge, and credentials enabling them to work in professions and occupations. At the humanistic level, universities can empower individuals, by supporting their holistic development, including their self-formation during the transformative years individuals spend in higher education. There are two conceptual dimensions to examining how research-based universities can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs - through the applied and the blue skies research. Evidently, these two domains intersect in multiple ways; the most prominent of which is research-informed teaching. Considering these two domains of higher education and the two dimensions within each domain, this study explores how academics in the Caucasus and Central Asia define the main challenges facing their local communities, their countries, and the global society. Further, the study examines how academics see the contributions of higher education institutions, as potentially significant development actors, to addressing the identified local, national, and global challenges. Open-ended online surveys were used to collect the narrative data from academics in Georgia and Kazakhstan.
Paper long abstract:
Today, universities compete directly with one another to improve their overall "quality" and attempt to improve their position as measured against sector standards. The benchmarking of confidence among university faculty in relation to the skills associated with research and teaching is, however, an underdeveloped and somewhat sensitive field. Not only is there a dearth of research on the topic of faculty self-efficacy, but it also seems that no genuine attempt has been made to investigate the relationship between self-efficacy and job satisfaction of university faculty. We explored the research and teaching self-efficacy and job satisfaction of 528 university faculty (46% female) from Azerbaijan and Turkey using a mixed methods approach. Results from the quantitative Study 1 showed that teaching self-efficacy was higher than research self-efficacy, and that levels of research self-efficacy varied according to career stage and qualifications, but not gender. Job satisfaction was highest for faculty members with Master's degrees. Teaching self-efficacy was the strongest predictor of job satisfaction. The results from qualitative Study 2 showed that contextual factors such as university climate and peer collegiality influenced self-efficacy and job satisfaction. Implications of the findings for university administrators and policy-makers were presented.
Author:Emma Sabzalieva (York University)
Paper long abstract:
At a time of intensifying processes of globalization, the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 heralded not only the creation and opening of borders but the rapid entry of new actors and ideas into this previously isolated part of the world. The effect of this major change has been particularly marked in Tajikistan, where, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the main source of funding and knowledge for researchers disappeared, resulting in rapid reductions in national budgets for research at the same time as access to networks became harder. The emigration of scientists as well as the disruptive effects of a civil war lasting from 1992 to 1997 exacerbated the negative consequences for Tajikistani science.
In circumstances like these, the potential role that international research collaborations can play in supporting knowledge production and in funding research increases significantly. Globally, the number of these collaborations has increased extremely rapidly in recent years. On the one hand, this points to the tremendous possibilities for researchers to not only be part of knowledge generation but to enhance the quality of knowledge through interconnectedness. On the other hand, while the ways in which knowledge is produced may have shifted, existing knowledge hierarchies have not flattened or as yet been significantly altered.
The combination of reliance on external funders to address ongoing resourcing gaps, political controls, and cultural understandings influenced by historical legacies about how and where research takes place make Tajikistan a unique setting through which to explore how researchers in politicized environments that constrain academic freedom negotiate their participation in international research collaborations.
Using a post-Western IR framework that gives agency to a greater range of actors and ideas at global and local levels, this paper draws on primary interviews with Tajikistani researchers to examine the challenges, opportunities and complexities they face in negotiating international research collaborations. Drawing from their perspectives and experiences, the paper offers recommendations to assist potential collaborators as well as policymakers consider how they can ethically and sustainably engage with researchers in Tajikistan, not only emphasizing the importance of equality in collaboration but in levelling the playing field that is currently set against researchers in Tajikistan.