Teaching-Research Integration

By Patrick Bijsmans & Sally Wyatt

The way in which our curricula are designed means that we are not always able to teach subjects that exactly fit our research expertise. Even though commitment to interdisciplinarity and PBL are very persuasive reasons for this, some of us may not find this situation ideal. On 26 January 2022 we hosted an online workshop aimed at exploring alternative ways in which research can benefit from teaching, going beyond the model of teaching our own research to a group of highly motivated, advanced students. The workshop was attended by twenty colleagues, who all enjoy teaching and shared many great ideas. We would like to thank the participants for their insightful and inspiring contributions. Below is a short summary of the do’s and don’ts that emerged from the workshop.


  • Re-read texts together with your students – different ways of reading, different insights
  • Keep a teaching diary to write down (and reflect on) what you have been learning from your students
  • Write that article (or book) that does not exist, but is needed for teaching. You can start small, for example, by preparing short texts on particular concepts or events or people for your own courses.
  • Bring in your own research where you can (including your published work)
  • Make your research more visible and tangible to students by discussing drafts of papers and ideas for research proposals
  • Teach courses on research skills and methods, as a way of refreshing or expanding your own methodological repertoire
  • Empower students by showing your own research struggles and process – invite them to ask critical questions about your work
  • Supervise literature exams, BA and MA theses, Marble or Premium and research internships. These are all are opportunities to link teaching and research
  • Find ways to cooperate with students rather than always stressing their individual work – but make sure to be transparent, acknowledge their work and make agreements on this beforehand
  • Explore research on teaching and learning relevant to your course and discuss it with your students
  • Use teaching to experiment with different forms of representation that you can use in sharing your research with different stakeholders
  • Create courses or parts of courses (modules) together with colleagues
  • Create space in courses and curricula for new (research-related) topics, which also resonates well with PBL principles
  • Enhance links with research groups, and ask research groups to contribute sources (datasets or corpora or collections) to skills and methods courses
  • Discuss you research interests with your students and with course coordinators, programme directors, and each other, especially when you have a full-time teaching position, and also have research interests


  • Don’t teach the same courses for a long time, don’t see a course as a personal possession – this will create space for you to learn new topics, literature, and approaches
  • Don’t ignore hierarchical relations with students
  • Don’t outsource your work to your students
  • Don’t suggest to students that their work is publishable, before it has been properly assessed
  • Don’t exploit students, don’t exploit yourself when it comes to co-authorship and acknowledging input in co-authoring with students
  • Don’t stray into ‘grey areas’ in discussions about co-authorship when publishing with students (e.g. thesis supervision process)
  • Don’t underestimate the time and effort needed to do research together with students

About the authors

Patrick Bijsmans is Associate Professor in Teaching & Learning European Studies and Associate Dean for Education at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. At the time of the workshop he still coordinated the staff professionalisation programme Continuing Professional Development. Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures and Associate Dean for Research at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.