Centres and research concentrations
Alan McKee, Associate Dean (Research and Development) in FASS, talks about our research
What is the range of the projects the faculty covers?
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS has a diverse range of research. We have people working in education, sociology, political science, studies in creative arts and writing, communications, cultural studies, linguistics and history. If you’re interested in it, there’s somebody researching it at FASS.
What is the FASS approach to research?
Out research is characterised by its interdisciplinary. Researchers from different backgrounds coming together to solve problems. So, for example, in one of our current projects, a team of historians, political scientists and journalism researchers is coming together to understand how countries around the world are dealing with climate change.
Why is this approach distinctive?
Different academic disciplines tend to have different ways of looking at things So, for example, historians look at the wider context of issues. Political scientists try to understand the institutions that lead to particular decisions. Journalism researchers want to work out how you can best communicate ideas to people. When a team of researchers like that gets together, it means that you can deal with the complexity and messiness of problems in the real world. If you’re doing research from within a single discipline, it runs the risk of being a bit one-dimensional.
How will the approach help society?
Interdisciplinary research is the way of the future. The idea that academics should sit in their own ghettos and not talk to each other about their different ways of seeing the world seems increasingly quaint. If we’re going to solve the real problems in the world, then we’re going to need this kind of sharing of perspectives and information, and UTS will continue to lead the way in doing this innovative and important, and often quite fun, research.
Over the last couple of years we’ve been really hard to focus our research and to develop research concentrations that really reflect where we’re truly excellent.
Two areas we’ve done this are STEM education and climate justice.
The focus largely on climate change is about how it’s impacting on the planet, but we are really concerned with how it impacts on people’s lives.
Particularly where there are issues of social justice coming into play and this is quite a distinctive thing that we do in FASS.
The future of work is obviously something that feeds into our teaching but it is also an area that we research and something that really informs everything that we do in FASS.
We have introduced the foreign correspondence kind of practice-based study tour.
This is something that is fairly unique to UTS, and it reflects I think a shift in what we’ve previously done in journalism.
But it also I think reflects I think a highly global industry and also UTS’ commitment to internationalisation, producing students who are not going to be just Australian journalists but Australian journalists in the world.
The idea is of relationship between alumni and faculty is really about networking, about sharing ideas, about cultural and social transformation.
That’s really what characterises our alumni I think.
Professor Mary Spongberg, our Dean, discusses research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences