An interesting new study:
This would not be unexpected. What’s interesting is that this actually contradicts previous research on the topic, in which there is typically no relationship found between research obligations and teaching performance:
The older studies tend to focus more on student evaluations, which may explain part of the difference. The newer one focuses on learning as measured by grades in that and future courses.
The newer study also focuses on just one institution, Northwestern. This may actually be a strength for the paper, as it may be possible to create an intervention study elsewhere. If there’s a school where the relationship has been shown to be null, then that school could adopt Northwestern’s practices and see if they can get a positive shift.
This also brings up the issue of adjunct pay, which is typically atrocious, and benefits, which are typically nonexistent. I imagine that a school could recruit teaching faculty much more effectively if they were willing to pay them what they’re worth. That’s the idea behind the Teaching Fellow positions in the UK, and one of the reasons the UK is so attractive to me right now.