Both research and teaching are at the core of what a university is about. From a faculty member's point of view, however, a clear distinction emerges: research gets you recognition from your peers from across the globe, while teaching gets you recognition from your students. Let's face it: whatever we do, we want peer recognition more than anything else (which explains why Oscars are more coveted than Film Critics' Awards).
The reward systems reinforce this bias towards research. Think of academic status markers -- promotions, awards, fellowships at elite academies, conference invitations, &c, &c -- they all use research output as the primary -- if not the only -- yardstick.
These not-particularly-original thoughts were triggered by Satya's post: Are students drawn to universities because of their teaching or their research programs. It also spurred me to collect a bunch of links that came my way through Google Reader and put them up here:
Scott Jaschik's article in IHE -- The Mystery of Faculty Priorities -- summarizes a recent paper by Dahlia K. Remler and Elda Pema: Why Do Institutions of Higher Education Reward Research While Selling Education?
A response to Jaschik's piece from Libby Gruner at Mama PhD: Why I do Research
Tomorrow's Professor Blog: Ten simple rules to combine research and teaching
Dr. Redfield's Research Lab: Researchers as teachers.
Incoherent Ponderer: On teaching.
Paul Gray and David Drew in Tomorrow's Professor Blog: What they didn't teach you at graduate school.