I recently completed a doctorate in Education at the University of Lincoln. (Where I also work, in the Centre for Educational Research and Development.) I looked at how the Educational Development unit fitted into the modern university, and suggested that what was actually happening (based on five case studies) was that they had developed into something that had more in common with a pre-industrial household, providing multiple services to a complex community, rather than the conventional service unit that they are sometimes portrayed as. The full thesis is available in the University’s research repository
Currently, with my colleague, Dr. Terence Karran I’m researching the extent of state and institutional protection for Academic Freedom in the United States of America. We’re considering 5 dimensions of academic freedom, the extent to which academics are free to teach what they wish to, the extent to which students are free to learn, the extent to which concepts of academic freedom protect the extra mural utterances of academics, the extent to which tenure is available to academics, and the extent to which there are opportunities for faculty to participate in institutional governance.
Another area of interest is the extent to which peer observation of on-line learning environments (such as Blackboard or Moodle course sites) can lead to mutually arrived conceptualisations of teaching quality, and thus may be a more acceptable to academics than, for example, externally imposed models of teaching. The rationale for this is that much of the pedagogical literature, focusses on the “how” of teaching, and, for many academics is thus divorced from the “what”, the disciplinary content that attracted them to the subject in the first place.