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[Long]

I have been working in a very well known university in India. I am a faculty member in the department of Computer Science. My appointment to the university is somewhat temporary given the condition I have to finish my PhD within x-years (Please ignore x for the time). If I can not finish my PhD within this duration, I have to leave the job and/or PhD.

Given the following conditions, you could see that it is difficult.

  1. This is one of the premier and oldest university in India which is very well known for its quality teaching.
  2. The university also expects top quality research for acceptance of the PhD thesis.
  3. All the faculties of the same level as mine, are one of the back-bone of the department(s) of the university.
  4. All the faculties must contribute towards institutional development in addition to quality teaching and research/PhD.

I can understand that this is a good sign that we can learn teaching/research with time. However, for me it seems very tough. I have been planning for a full-time PhD somewhere abroad with a stipend. However, I am tensed about future opportunities post PhD.

I understand that PhD students are given some amount of teaching load as a part of stipend policy. But, this academic teaching load is really incomparable and is too high.

Considering above facts, how to manage these two things together?

[Short]

Can academic teaching and quality research go hand-in-hand given a time-bound on job?

P.S. I belong to computer science and mathematics community and an independent scholar. Research is my passion.

[Edits]

  1. There are two different courses (full course) assigned each with a student strength of 100 (approx.).

  2. The courses involve labs as well.

  3. So, in every 1.5 day, you could assume to have a class for which you need to plan your day properly (such as preparing materials, teaching slides, assignments, lab assignments, surprise tests if any, and few other things)

The point of writing I have been planning for a full-time PhD somewhere abroad with a stipend. is to get advises from experienced persons here on Academia.SE on whether should I go for it or not.

  • I asked a similar question sometime ago. academia.stackexchange.com/questions/14997/… – Shion Aug 11 '16 at 22:08
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    It really depends a lot on what exactly your department expects from you when you teach a class. If you have a team of TAs that is one thing. If you have 200 students, no help and are expected to grade weekly homework and be available at all times to answer their questions individually it is another. – Lembik Aug 12 '16 at 5:49
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    What is the question here? If it's "is it possible to teach and do research at the same time", then the answer is "of course, everyone does it". If you feel that your teaching load is too high, then you should at least tell us how many classes you have and how large they are. If it's "how do I manage my schedule dividing time between teaching and research", then it's a different question. – Federico Poloni Aug 12 '16 at 7:36
  • I have been planning for a full-time PhD somewhere abroad with a stipend. What does this sentence have anything to do with the rest of this question? – scaaahu Aug 12 '16 at 8:28
  • A better question would be "can quality academic teaching go hand in hand with research?" It is often the teaching that is seen as a nuisance, not the research. – rubenvb Aug 12 '16 at 9:34
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Sure, this is exactly what is expected of tenure track faculty at research intensive universities in the US. It is a lot easier when you have a little teaching experience and a little research experience before diving into the "deep" end, but there is no reason teaching and research cannot go together. In the US a PhD student might be expect to teach a single class in both the fall and spring semesters while a tenure track faculty might be expected to teach 3 classes each semester.

  • There was a suggested edit trying to clarify your last sentence. But it was not clear to me whether your intended meaning was "in fall and spring semesters combined" or "each", so I expanded it to include both. Please feel free to trim down or delete to fit your intention. – Tom Church Aug 11 '16 at 23:38
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    @TomChurch thanks. The focus of my answer is that at a lot of schools TT faculty are expected to teach a lot and still get research done. – StrongBad Aug 11 '16 at 23:51
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    In the US I feel it is common to have a team of TAs and so the number of hours of work outside of lectures and setting homework and exams is limited. This often isn't the case in other countries. – Lembik Aug 12 '16 at 5:51
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    @Lembik That really depends on the school and the class. In some countries, there is often no graded homework. – Kimball Aug 12 '16 at 8:08
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    @theindigamer I don't have hard numbers, but they are not that uncommon: higheredprofessor.com/2015/05/11/… – StrongBad Aug 12 '16 at 15:04
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It can, and should. This does not always happen because researchers may have forgotten how hard it was to get the basics right. In a way researcers who publish things a lot should be the best explainers, in theory. In practice some fields do a lot of obfurscation in their papers so they do not know how to put explanations out simply.

In fact teaching helps you as a researcher, sometimes at the expense of students. It makes you much more aware of where your skills are lacking and where you might have hidden misunderstanding. But you can only ever appreciate this if you can accept this fact. Also thinking about the simple explanations works towards making better publications. Having a wall to bounce your ideas against surely can not be bad thing.

  • I don't see why researchers should have a leg up when it comes to explaining things. The stew pot of effective teaching has many ingredients: creativity, an engaging, dynamic presence, an ability to relate to students, sound instructional design, the ability to write a fair and objective tests, creating assignments that reinforce course concepts, etc. There may be some overlap between this skill set and that of researchers, but I'm not sure I agree that "researchers who publish things a lot should be the best explainers, in theory." – J.R. Aug 11 '16 at 22:12
  • I'd tend to agree with @J.R. that "researcher" is surely not the right tag for people best qualified to explain anything. At the very least, let's revise that to "scholar"? Not all people doing research are reasonable scholars... nor do all scholars have communication skills... nor do all effective communicators necessarily know any high-end stuff to communicate. – paul garrett Aug 11 '16 at 22:23
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    @J.R. Publications should include explanations of why things were made, how you came to this and what foundation was used. How can i trust a researchers who can not explain themselves to be relevant. Wheter or not this translates to good teaching is another thing. Ok so a individual researcher may rely on collaboration to get things done. But this works in teaching too, i know atleast one university teacher that outsources lectures, and instead designs exercises very well. – joojaa Aug 11 '16 at 22:39
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    Indeed, not-high-end teaching is wildly different from high-end. The relevant skill-sets are wildly different, and the level of relevant scholarship is wildly different. Baby-sitting and crowd-control on one end, explanation of current cutting-edge research on the other. And the in-between is in many regards even more amorphous in terms of optimizing skill-sets and goals. – paul garrett Aug 11 '16 at 22:49
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    @joojaa - While publications do contain explanations and rationale, I still think there's a big difference between explaining research in a publication and explaining concepts to students. Journal articles and textbooks are not exactly written in the same style – one is geared toward experts while the other caters to novices. I think there are much stronger links between research and advising than between research and teaching, and I've known more than a few accomplished researchers who were mediocre in the classroom at best. – J.R. Aug 12 '16 at 14:25
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It isn't necessary that being good at one can infer the same in the other. I've noticed quite s few examples of this sort. But, teaching can truly attribute to research and vice versa as long as they are on the same track.

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    Yes they both could be. But consider that you teaching a subject x which is completely orthogonal to the research you are doing. I find it difficult to focus on whether to focus on research or teaching in such cases. – Coder Aug 13 '16 at 6:08
  • @Coder: I absolutely agree. That's why stated the line as long as they are are on the same track – Ébe Isaac Aug 13 '16 at 6:44

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