The Humboldtian ideal meets employability? University teachers and the teaching–research relationship in marketized higher education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines how university teachers in two Swedish higher education institutions grapple with the challenge of connecting research and teaching. With the increasing pressure in higher education to improve graduate employability, teaching is expected to include skills-oriented, vocational training which may (or may not) conflict with the more traditional Humboldtian ideal, in which teaching is built on research. Drawing on the rich bodies of literatures on employability and the teaching–research relationship, the authors find that university teachers practice the relationship in four ways: by using scientific articles in the curriculum; by teaching students a critical research attitude; by lecturing about their own research results; and by relying on the formal skills of fellow teachers. These practices of establishing a close connection between teaching and research are, this study suggests, met with resistance from colleagues, who are perceived to favor vocational training and emphasize employability; from students, who are also perceived to worry about employability; and finally from other policies that target partially conflicting objectives, including those for employability.


External organisations
  • Kristianstad University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • Employability, higher education, teaching practice, teaching–research relationship, university teachers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Issue number5
Early online date2020 Jan 17
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1
Publication categoryResearch