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ERIC Number: EJ1070107
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Applied Research and the Transformation of College Education
Doughty, Howard A.
College Quarterly, v18 n1 Win 2015
Like everything else today, there is a changing pattern in education. Some obvious elements are education's social function, demographics, and technology. A fourth dimension is being added to function, audience, and technique, and that is research. Research is also being reorganized, and now it is becoming an issue in the colleges. When, for example, the United States Congress banned the use of federal funds for research in political science unless the project could be shown to enhance "homeland security" or to protect American economic interests abroad, it was deemed a short-lived but nonetheless frightening aberration. Now, however, it is commonplace to find that a condition for research funding is that a project must prove itself in terms of commercialization. Because it is largely funded by private sector companies, research is expected to provide a material payoff--such as a new product or process that will find its value in the economic marketplace. In the alternative, academic research intended mainly to satisfy intellectual curiosity or to advance purely theoretical knowledge without thought to profit finds it difficult to locate a sponsor. Since most colleges were never interested in either scholarly or practical research, the issue of corporate-sponsored versus independent academic inquiry rarely surfaced. Now, however, some colleges are understandably tempted by the prospect of financial investment from private firms, nongovernmental agencies and the increasingly fashionable public-private partnerships. So, targeted "applied" research has produced a flurry of activity. Since government funds have shriveled and student fees are reaching a breaking point, the advantages of industry funding are too attractive to ignore. Howard Doughty writes here that "The College Quarterly" is sensitive to the legitimate educational concerns that have arisen in response to the new ethical and academic ambiguities inherent in the current enthusiasm for applied research projects and also to the socially useful consequences that such projects may bring. Although the funding possibilities are important, a strong case can also be made for the educational value to students and the end product economic value of a student-centred research experience. In this article, Doughty indicates that "College Quarterly" hopes that engaged educators will be willing to share their experiences, submit examples of applied projects either as research papers in themselves or as commentary on the ways that applied research relates to the pattern of transformation reflected in the social function, demographics, and technology of college education.
Descriptors: Educational Research, Higher Education, Colleges, Postsecondary Education as a Field of Study, Research Methodology, Demography, Technology Uses in Education, Technological Advancement, Educational Change
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. 1750 Finch Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M2J 2X5, Canada. Tel: 416-491-5050; Fax: 905-479-4561; Web site: http://www.collegequarterly.ca
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A