Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

Weihenstephan Forum on Teaching and Research:
From Rivalry to Symbiosis

The days are long gone, when higher education constituted a finishing school for an academic elite. Today they form the foundation of a productive working-life for up to 40% of the population, making effective teaching skills more essential than ever before. Is this situation damaging to the arguably more valuable effort of university research? Too often, it seems that teaching and research must compete for limited time and spending.

Must this always be the case? We do not think so. By considering interactions between teaching and research, we wish to restore their relationship to one of mutual benefit. Which tools are available to achieve this? In this forum, we seek innovative ideas and structures to build a more constructive relationship within the realities of higher education.

The forum will handle this important topic in two phases:

A workshop held by Canadian researcher Dr. Janice Miller-Young will investigate Decoding the Disciplines – a technique for marrying research and teaching into a single endeavour:
Wednesday, 22.11.2017, 12:30-16:30 at GZW, TUM Weihenstephan

A podium discussion, open to the public:
Wednesday, 22.11.2017, 17:30 in the Dekanatsaal, TUM Weihenstephan

Podium Discussion


Dr. Janice Miller-Young, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Alberta, Canada


Prof. Dr. Nicola Breugst, TUM Entrepreneurship Research Institute
Prof. Dr. Harald Luksch, Dean of Studies Biology, TU München
Prof. Dr. Janice Miller-Young, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Alberta
Prof. Dr. Markus Reinke, Vice President Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf – Director of the Center for Research and Continuing Education


Dr. Annette Spiekermann, ProLehre | Medien und Didaktik


The unity of research and teaching is a core paradigm of most universities. But being a teacher and a researcher at the same time is not without problems: limited time resources need to be divided between both tasks. Might it therefore be best to separate teaching and research?

To do so carries its own risks: Teachers who do no research need to find other ways to keep up to date with the expertise required for teaching at university level. Research profits from teaching, as well: supervising theses generates direct research results. To prepare for and structure a topic for teaching improves your own understanding and discloses patterns, gaps and open ends, in other words new approaches for research. And the questions, ideas and insights of students and even their typical mistakes can be very stimulating.

If the unity of teaching and research is beneficial, how could the future of both look like? Which methods will be of profit, which structures need to be provided?

Prof. Dr. Janice Miller-Young, Canada, presents in a keynote “Decoding the Disciplines”, a method of mutual benefit for teaching and research. This method was developed to clear up typical comprehension problems of students through uncovering hidden assumptions of the teacher. Important scientific breakthroughs were prompted by uncovering hidden assumptions (though reached by other methods), for example our understanding of the quantum theory.

The current competition between teaching and research is not a natural law. Let us discuss.



Dr. Judit Tuschak, ProLehre | Medien und Didaktik, Technische Universität München

Prof. Dr. Niall Palfreyman, Didaktikmentor der Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf