The mission of the Institute of Technological and Educational Research (ITER) is to build a research culture that enables The Mico University College to undertake high quality research in areas of educational policy, development and management, with special reference to Jamaica and the Caribbean.
The vision of the Institute of Technological and Educational Research (ITER) is to:
- Be nationally and regionally recognized for research in educational and leadership analyses.
- Be a centre for theoretical and applied policy studies in teacher education and leadership studies.
- Provide policy advice to government and other institutions and stakeholders in the educational sector.
- Encourage high quality research and publication in recognized journals and for use in schools.
- Provide support for graduate teaching and research-based learning activities at the Mico.
ITER emerged in 2010 to initiate the necessary steps to make staff and students at The Mico become more research active. Its overall task involves building and sustaining a research culture at The Mico. Accepting that engagement in research and development activities determines the status, quality and relevance of higher educational institutions, ITER considers its core mission as that of motivating and training, re-invigorating and re-orienting, as well as enabling faculty, graduate students and partners towards research-driven goals. A specific mission is to serve as a central co-coordinating mechanism that excites the creative imagination, generates research and critical analysis and produces scholarly policy-based work that positively impacts the national educational situation.
To deliver on these objectives, the Institute would function as a team-centered, problem-solving vehicle to encourage and drive inter-disciplinary research interactions and collaboration. Thus, it aligns its mission to that of The Mico University College and Faculties and its Graduate School in complementary relationships to advance excellence through research, teaching, mentoring critical pedagogy and reflection.
In practice, it relies on platforms of individual initiatives, staff seminars and workshops, conferences and a clearly defined work plan to kick-start the creation of research outputs. Additionally, its practice is facilitated through linkages with research institutes and universities that have a strong tradition of outstanding research. ITER also senses the need to extend research around its established niches, break into new areas, and to pursue avenues that hold promise for commercialization.
Towards a Research University
Of course, apart from the mainstream international professional journals, the Institute envisages a variety of publication outlets, such as occasional papers, Mico-based journal(s) etc. Now, to build a research-driven university is a complex task, particularly in this resource constrained environment at Mico. Beyond money, it requires bundling the complementary assets and activities of Departments, Faculties and Administrators. Its scholars, teachers and students provide research services. But administrators must help protect, mature and enable its research institute and departments. They can do so by giving the providers of research services security, available resources and the possibility of collegiality and debate that make serious research possible. The Mico community is sensitive to all these requirements.
We also know that the research-led university relies on a first rate library with modern technological support. It needs a culture built on sensible division of labour among teaching, research and leadership functions in the university community. Equally, time is of fundamental importance in shaping a culture of research, learning and experimentation. So too, availability of appropriate incentive mechanisms. Nor can such a culture be built or sustained without respect for the idea of student-centeredness and the avoidance of bureaucratic obesity. Mastery of the tools and techniques of research methodology and scientific enquiry; ability to write sound proposals for research grants; and institutional capacity to cultivate a climate of social trust are essential for charting the strategic direction toward a viable research ethos. Considerable consensus is maturing around these considerations.
So, there are reasonable prospects of consolidating the collegial foundations to make the research-active university possible and enduring.
Strategy for the Research Enterprise
The major activities of the Institute are:
- Departmental research seminars.
- Occasional/working research papers.
- Refereed publications.
- Consultancies and policy oriented research.
- Commercialization of relevant research products.
- Teaching focused on research methodologies.
- Conferences, workshops, and outreach.
Institution Building Approach
Effective management of the Institute and indeed the idea of a research active University require appropriate context/culture, relevant structures, and purposeful processes. Thus, in order to grow the Institute and make the above framework operational, the following mechanisms will be employed:
- An Advisory Board.
- Associate Research Fellows from other Universities.
- Strategic linkages and partnerships with established local and foreign research centres and public and private sector organizations.
- A financial resource base via self-financing activities and external support.
- An appropriate internal administrative support infrastructure.