Building Research Capacity in New Universities During Times of Academic Drift: Lecturers Professional Profiles

Original Article


New universities on the European mainland were mostly teaching oriented until the start of this century. Current national and local management intends to better connect research and teaching through the increase in lecturers’ research capacity, often defined through their master’s degrees or PhDs. However, this strategy is complex due to the needed combination of didactical expertise, professional practise, and research competencies in lecturers’ professional profiles, which are not captured by the notion of formal degrees. This study considers the professional profiles of new lecturers through a thematic analysis and a correlation analysis of tasks and competencies in job openings (N = 126). The findings show that two professional profiles underpin the hiring of new lecturers: the teaching lecturer and the research-active lecturer. These profiles do not imply a better connection between research and teaching. To reach this goal, higher education policy should explicitly define lecturers’ professional profiles beyond their formal degrees.


higher education professional profile human resources institutional policy research-teaching-nexus vocational 


  1. Balogun, J. and Johnson, G. (2004) ‘Organizational restructuring and middle manager sensemaking’, Academy of Management Journal 47(4): 523–549.Google Scholar
  2. Boyce, M.E. (2003) ‘Organizational Learning is Essential to Achieving and Sustaining Change in Higher Education’, Innovative Higher Education 28(2): 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Briggs, S. (2005) ‘Changing roles and competencies of academics’, Active Learning in Higher Education 6(3): 256–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brodie, L., Bullen, F. and Gibbings, P. (2011) Developing an engineering research culture. Paper presented at the IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference; 4 April, Amman, Jordan.Google Scholar
  5. Christensen, S.H. and Erno-Kjolhede, E. (2011) ‘Academic drift in danish professional engineering education. Myth or reality? Opportunity or threat?’, European Journal of Engineering Education 36(3): 285–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Douglas, A.S. (2012) ‘Advice from the professors in a university Social Sciences department on the teaching-research nexus’, Teaching in Higher Education 18(4): 377–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ellis, V., McNicholl, J. and Pendry, A. (2012) ‘Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work in England’, Teaching and Teacher Education 28: 685–693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. European Commission (2017) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a renewed EU agenda for higher education. Retrieved from Brussels:
  9. Feather, D. (2010) ‘A whisper of academic identity: an HE in FE perspective’, Research in Post-Compulsory Education 15(2): 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grange, A., Herne, S., Casey, A. and Wordsworth, L. (2005) ‘Building research capacity’, Nursing Management 12(7): 32–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Griffioen, D.M.E. and De Jong, U. (2013) ‘Academic drift in Dutch non-university higher education evaluated: a staff perspective’, Higher Education Policy 26(2): 173–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griffioen, D.M.E. and De Jong, U. (2015) ‘implementing research in professional higher education: factors that influence lecturers’ perceptions’, Educational Management Administration and Leadership 43(4): 626–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Griffioen, D.M.E. and De Jong, U. (2017) ‘The influence of direct executive managers on lecturers’ perceptions on new organizational aims in times of academic drift’, International Journal of Leadership in Education 20(4): 451–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Griffioen, D.M.E., Ashwin, P., & Scholkmann, A. (in review). Societal steering mechanisms to ensure employable professionals through higher education.Google Scholar
  15. Hales, A. and Clarke, A. (2016) ‘So you want to be a teacher educator? The job advertisement as a construction of teacher education in Canada’, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 44(4): 320–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harwood, J. (2010) ‘Understanding academic drift: on the institutional dynamics of higher technical and professional education’, Minerva 48(4): 413–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hill, M.F. and Haigh, M.A. (2011) ‘Creating a culture of research in teaching education: learning research within communities of practice’, Studies in Higher Education 37(8): 971–988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jenkins, A. and Healey, M. (2005) Institutional strategies to link teaching and research, York: Higher Education Academy. Available on
  19. Joffe, H. and Yardley, L. (2004) ‘Content and thematic analysis’, in D. F. Marks and L. Yardley (eds.) Research methods for clinical and health psychology, London: Sage, pp. 56–68.Google Scholar
  20. Kljakovic, M. (2009) ‘Developing a teaching research culture for general practice registrars in Australia: a literature review’, Asia Pacific Family Medicine 8(6): 1–7.Google Scholar
  21. Koster, B., Brekelmans, M., Korthagen, F. and Wubbels, T. (2005) ‘Quality requirements for teacher educators’, Teaching and Teacher Education 21(2): 157–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Levine, R., Russ-Eft, D., Burling, A., Stephens, J. and Downey, J. (2013) ‘Evaluating health services research capacity building programs: implications for health services and human resource development’, Evaluation and Program Planning 37(1): 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ministerie van OC&W, and HBO-raad (2001) Convenant Lectoren en Kenniskringen in het hoger beroepsonderwijs, Den Haag: Ministerie van OC&W, and HBO-raad.Google Scholar
  24. Ministerie van OC&W, and HBO-raad (2004) Vernieuwd convenant lectoren en Kenniskringen in het hoger beroepsonderwijs, Den Haag: Ministerie van OC&W, and HBO-raad.Google Scholar
  25. Neave, G. (1978) ‘polytechnics: a policy drift?’, Studies in Higher Education 3(1): 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pidd, M (2005) ‘Perversity in public service performance measurement’, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management 54(5/6): 482–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pitt, R. and Mewburn, I. (2016) ‘Academic superheroes? A critical analysis of academic job descriptions’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 38(1): 88–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pratt, M., Margaritis, D. and Coy, D. (1999) ‘Developing a research culture in a university faculty’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 21(1): 43–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tigelaar, D.E.H., Dolmans, D.H.J.M., Wolfhagen, I.H.A.P. and Van der Vleuten, C.P.M. (2004) The development and validation of a framework for teaching competencies in higher education, Higher Education, 48, 253–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Trowler, P.R. and Wareham, T. (2008). Tribes, territories, research and teaching: enhancing the teaching research nexus, York: Higher Education Academy. Available on
  31. Van Thiel, S. and Leeuw, F.L. (2002) ‘The Performance Paradox in the Public Sector’, Public Performance and Management Review 25(3): 267–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Van Tholy, R. and Griffioen, D.M.E. (2017) ‘Professionaliseringswensen op onderzoek van docenten in het hbo’, Tijdschrift voor Hoger Onderwijs (2): 55–69.Google Scholar
  33. Visser‐Wijnveen, G.J., Van Driel, J.H., Van der Rijst, R.M., Verloop, N. and Visser, A. (2010) The ideal research‐teaching nexus in the eyes of academics: building profiles’, Higher Education Research and Development 29(2): 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vitae (2010) Researcher development framework, Cambridge: Vitae. Retrieved from Cambridge:
  35. Young, M. and Muller, J. (2014) Knowledge, expertise, and the professions, London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amsterdam University of Applied SciencesAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations