Next to teaching, research is one of the core activities at SMU. The Institution strives to excel in research undertakings at national and regional levels. The strategic aims are, thus to:
- Develop a dynamic research culture at SMU that reflects both the strategic aims of the Institution and the needs at national and regional levels with the purpose of augmenting the quality and quantity of research outputs;
- Create a condition in which research and teaching are integrated; and curricular provisions at SMU are informed and enriched by research in order to contribute to the relevance and quality of education;
- Develop research skills of students so that they can enhance their caliber to the highest attainable level possible and become qualified and employable personnel with the required skills demanded by industry, business, academy, and government;
- Encourage problem-solving research programs and activities geared towards addressing community concerns and contributing to sustainable development in the country and region;
- Link problem – solving research undertakings and findings with industries so that the researches contribute to the development of the country;
- Engage in research projects that could generate income through such activities as grant applications and collaborative undertakings;
- Encourage and promote interdisciplinary research, and strengthen regional, national and international research collaborations;
- Where possible, enhance SMU’s contribution to the transfer of knowledge from academia to the private and public sectors as well as to the commercialization of research with the major purpose of wealth-creation; and
- Provide research and knowledge-sharing platforms in the form of conferences, workshops, symposia and public lectures.
Core Values of Research
Research represents the knowledge base from which professional learning springs; it encompasses a range of activities. The values described below represent a consensus about the purpose of research within a setting for professional learning. The core values of SMU’s Research Strategy are:
- Relevant and applied: To be credible, research should address the concerns of society and seek to enhance researcher and student knowledge and capacity to respond to regional, national and institutional needs.
- Student-centered: (research-led or research-oriented or research-based or research-informed. On top of the development of appropriate technologies for various economic sectors of the country, research and development work is undertaken at St. Mary’s University in order to enhance the education of students and graduates by supporting and assisting career services.
- Academic credibility: Research and development work should be robust, rigorous and transparent. Methodological stances and concerns should be made explicit. Research should be undertaken by those with relevant experience, academic standing and capability.
- Supporting practitioner enquiry: Practitioners’ capacity to make sense of students’ career progression and guidance can be enhanced by supporting the development of practitioner research skills.
- Accessible: Research evidence should be made readily available to all those who need it. Reports in the public domain should be intelligible to practitioners, students, graduates, employers, policy makers, and other stakeholders. It follows that the development of dissemination strategies should be sought.
- Consensus building: The agenda for research work should be reached following consultation and dialogue with stakeholders.
- Partnership: St. Mary’s University welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with organizations having objectives and purposes compatible with its objectives.
- Inter-disciplinary approach: The University recognizes that relevant and valuable research work is undertaken across the disciplines with active participation of researchers in all fields. Such work should not only inform the University research agenda, but also effective working relationships should be established, where practicable, in order to ensure that there is enough awareness about what is being done elsewhere.
- Independent: Parallel to providing solutions to national issues through generating appropriate technologies for wider community usage, the research work at SMU should also aim at informing and supporting students and graduates in acquiring knowledge as opposed to maximizing any profit-making. Commercial outcomes may, however, be developed as a result of information put into the public domain.
- Problem-solving and community services: SMU research will be directed to the identification of problems affecting the development of the country. Accordingly, research outcomes will be used to enhance the wellbeing of communities in different regions of the country.
- Research Ethics: Research in SMU should value and consider all ethical issues.
Based on the SWOT analysis and the subsequent deliberations held with pertinent bodies, the following strategic issues have been identified:
Strategic Issue One: Creating a conducive research environment at SMU
Strategic Issue Two: Upgrading the research skill of the academic staff and students
Strategic Issue Three: Creating teaching-research link at institution level
Strategic Issue Four: Developing and strengthening the research management and support system
Strategic Issue Five: Developing a scheme for research funding and income maximization through research
Strategic Issue Six: Encouraging collaborative research
Strategic Issue Seven: Enhancing SMU’s research profile and dissemination of research findings