Archive for November, 2008

Migrants ‘put off third-level education’

Posted in teaching with tags on 30 November 2008 by Steve

“Migrants are being prevented from fully accessing third-level education because of lack of information, high fees and their previous qualifications not being recognised by Irish colleges. These are the main barriers highlighted in research carried out among 160 migrants from 21 countries and college officials, and employers …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Examiner, 29 November]


Lifeblood of research is funds, TCD event shows

Posted in research with tags , , on 29 November 2008 by Steve

“The camera never lies, and it showed clearly that Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe was under pressure. This view was confirmed by a digital blood pressure device located nearby. The cause of his strain was not persistent questioning by journalists, however. Rather, the Minister had unwisely strayed too close to health-monitoring equipment installed at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. He was at the Gallery yesterday morning to launch Transformations: how Research is Changing Ireland, an event and publication marking the 10th anniversary of the Higher Education Authority (HEA)-managed research funding scheme, the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 28 November]

Today’s Fire in NUI Maynooth

Posted in Life with tags on 29 November 2008 by Steve

“One of the things I like about NUI Maynooth is that it’s the kind of place where very little excitement ever happens. You get the odd evacuation because some muppet with a JCB has hit a gas main but nothing ever blows up. Life as a member of staff or a student in NUIM is generally a pleasant, peaceful, and uneventful affair. Today however was a little more dramatic ….” (more)

[Bart Busschots, 28 November]

Money still talks for pupils hoping to study at Trinity

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“Grind and fee-paying schools continue to dominate the league of feeder schools to the third level sector, the latest figures reveal. They confirm that money still talks when it comes to going to university, re-igniting the debate about how wealthier parents can buy advantage by selecting schools with more resources. The latest figures from the Leaving Certificate class of 2008 show just where Trinity College is getting its latest batch of undergraduates …” (more)

[Fergus Black, Independent, 27 November]

DCU plans cutting edge indoor facility

Posted in Life with tags on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“A 10,000-seater, fully enclosed GAA stadium, equipped with cutting-edge technology, is just part of a bold new €15m development DCU authorities are looking to construct in St Clare’s on Dublin’s northside. It is envisaged the centre — which is subject to planning approval –will include a running track, transparent roof and technology that would place the centre as a world leader in the area of sports performance analysis …” (more)

[Donnchadh Boyle, Independent, 27 November]

Professor reinstated via appeal court

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“A university that suspended a professor on the basis of ‘extremely weak’ allegations of racism has been forced to reinstate him by the Court of Appeal. Robert Watson, professor of financial management at Durham Business School, was suspended in December 2007 following accusations that he had harassed staff and made racist comments. Professor Watson said he had simply been trying to raise concerns about Tony Antoniou, former dean of Durham Business School, whose PhD was found to contain plagiarism and who was sacked from his post earlier this year. Following what are claimed to have been complaints about Professor Watson’s behaviour, Durham took the decision to investigate the validity of Professor Watson’s own PhD, contacting libraries and consulting public databases …” (more)

[Rebecca Attwood, Times Higher Education, 27 November]

Watchdog wants BNP to be denied right to teach

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“Members of the British National Party (BNP) working in universities should not be allowed direct contact with students, the higher education equality watchdog has said. Several higher education staff were among BNP members whose details were recently leaked on the internet. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), said this week that while ‘primacy of freedom of speech is fundamental’, universities had legal obligations to promote good race relations on campus. ‘It is hard to see how institutions can reconcile their duty to promote good race relations with staff being members of the BNP. Institutions may therefore consider that it is inappropriate for BNP members to have teaching and/or pastoral care responsibilities, or other direct contact with students,’ she said …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 27 November]

Is education a luxury or a right?

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“I watched with admiration as students protested recently about plans to bring in fees for third level schools, I wasn’t pleased because of their motivation, but rather the fact that we got them out on the streets en mass. For a long time students have seemed to morph into a different creature, they had cars and better gadgets than me (there is an element of jealousy in this post!), they went on more foreign holidays than I did too, and seemed to have more disposable income. I accept that the bit I don’t see is that most of them balance education with a working life …” (more)

[Karl Deeter, Irish Mortgage Brokers Blog, 27 November]

Which university/college files most research patents?

Posted in research with tags on 28 November 2008 by Steve

“Apparently, it’s NUI Galway. Or at least, it is for patent applications. They told me they filed 30 patent applications last year, beating UCD’s 28, TCD’s 24, DCU’s 24 and DIT’s 6 …” (more)

[YourTechStuff, 26 November]

IBM collaborates with Irish universities to solve complex business issues

Posted in research with tags , on 25 November 2008 by Steve

“Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan TD today announced that IBM is establishing an exascale stream computing research ‘collaboratory’ in Dublin and the creation of 40 new jobs at IBM and local Universities. It is supported by the Government through IDA Ireland. An IBM collaboratory is a laboratory where IBM Researchers co-locate with a university, government, or commercial partner to share skills and resources to achieve a common research goal. A collaboratory allows IBM Researchers the opportunity to pursue research outside IBM’s labs and existing business units, by working with other institutions around the world that have different expertise, environments or access to partners …” (more)

[Finfacts, 24 November]

UCC lauded for move on stem-cell research

Posted in research with tags , on 25 November 2008 by Steve

“A British expert on medical ethics last night congratulated University College Cork (UCC) for its “admirable move” in approving the use of embryonic stem-cell research at the campus. Speaking at a debate on stem-cell research at UCC last night, Baroness Mary Warnock said scientists had an absolute duty to ‘proceed on this path of human compassion’. Ms Warnock chaired a landmark government committee in the 1980s that established British law on fertility treatment and embryo research …” (more)

[Olivia Kelleher, Irish Times, 25 November]

Batt O’Keefe opposed at Trinity over Education Cuts

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 24 November 2008 by Steve

“The recent visit to Trinity College by Minister for Education in the 26 counties Batt O’Keefe was opposed by students within the college. 150 students turned out, including Sinn Féin and Ógra activists to tell the minister that his plans to re-introduce third level students fees were not welcome in spite of draconian security measures that saw some students that had turned out to protest from other colleges around the city ejected from campus by college security …” (more)

[Ógra Sinn Féin blog, 24 November]

Petition to the PM

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 24 November 2008 by Steve

“I blogged a few weeks ago about the new immigration rules in the UK which will require universities to monitor the attendance of international students and report to the Border Agency so that they can keep track of people on student visas. Now it has been drawn to my attention that a Petition has been officially registered with Downing Street against this legislation as a breach of human rights …” (more)

[Summa cum laude, 24 November]

Women’s Lead in Doctoral Attainment Spreads to All Racial Categories, Report Says

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 24 November 2008 by Steve

“Last year, for the first time ever, women earned more doctorates than men in every racial and ethnic group, according to a new National Science Foundation paper offering selected findings from the federal government’s annual Survey of Earned Doctorates. The NSF typically releases the full results of the annual survey — sponsored by several federal agencies and conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago — at this time of year. This year, however, the process has been delayed so much that the release of the full report has been postponed until May or June 2009. The selected results that the NSF has chosen to release show that the number of doctorates granted by American institutions rose by 5.4 percent — to 48,079, the highest number ever reported — from 2006 to 2007 …” (more)

[Chronicle, 24 November]

Is small group teaching doomed?

Posted in teaching with tags , on 24 November 2008 by Steve

“In the university system in these islands, one of the basic points of consensus, at least in pedagogical terms, is that learning is most effective when teaching is conducted in small groups. This has had its most pure form in Oxford and Cambridge, where traditionally tutorials (or ’supervisions’ in Cambridge) were conducted on a one-to-one or maybe one-to-two basis; and while this Oxbridge system may be ideal, it is generally recognised as being unaffordable for most higher education institutions. However, small groups of somewhere between five and eight students provide an environment in which the interaction between tutor and student, and indeed between the students, can significantly enhance the learning experience. In fact, small group teaching at that level has become quite rare …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 November]

Caffeine buzz not worth a hill of beans

Posted in Life with tags , on 23 November 2008 by Steve

“Millions of people all over the world can’t face the day without a cup, but the benefits of coffee have been overstated. New research has found that caffeine has no stimulating effect on the brain and does not counteract sleepiness. It suggests drinkers who believe coffee provides a morning boost and makes them more alert are reversing withdrawal symptoms they have developed overnight through dependence on the substance. Jack James and Michael Keane of the psychology department at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), examined the effects of coffee by studying electrical activity in the brain. They say the findings call into question road safety policies that urge tired drivers to drink two cups of coffee to ensure alertness at the wheel …” (more)

[Jan Battles, Sunday Times, 23 November]

Hayes proposes graduate tax to fund third-level education

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 22 November 2008 by Steve

“The introduction of a graduate tax or levy as a means of funding third-level education instead of the return of college fees has been proposed by Fine Gael spokesman on education, Brian Hayes. In a speech to the Fine Gael national conference in Wexford last night, Mr Hayes outlined his plan whereby graduates would pay a contribution, deductible at source, for a number of years after they entered the labour force. One way of doing this would be through an extra PRSI charge. Mr Hayes said: ‘Paying a small proportion of your income over a period after you graduate, although difficult to sell, would in my view be a fairer solution to this issue.’ …” (more)

[Deaglán de Bréadún, Irish Times, 22 November]

150 TCD students protest against Batt O’Keeffe, SU President welcomes him!

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 22 November 2008 by Steve

“In the first Free Education for Everyone protest in Trinity, around 150 students turned up to send a clear message of opposition to fees to Batt O’Keeffe, the Minister for Education. However, in the second SU leader betrayal of the week, the Students’ Union President, Cathal Reilly welcomed O’Keeffe to the college with a handshake and a smile …” (more)

[IndyMedia Ireland, 22 November]

Bravo Trinity College Alumni!

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 22 November 2008 by Steve

“I attended graduate school at Trinity College, Dublin from 2005 – 2006 and never really had the sense that TCD was making an outreach of any sort to alumni. The prevailing feeling is that is what American universities did, not Irish ones – even though the Irish Government was starving their universities by making all undergraduate education free and not properly funding the universities’ budgets to be able to run current programs as well as up keep the buildings and grounds …” (more)

[Black Phoebe :: Ms. Jen, 18 November]

Students to discuss fees with Minister

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 21 November 2008 by Steve

“Student union leaders are to meet Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe to outline their opposition to the reintroduction of third-level fees. Trinity College Dublin students’ union president Cathal Reilly said yesterday he would meet the Minister and he hoped his counterparts from UCD and DCU would also be present. Mr Reilly spoke to the Minister as he arrived at Trinity College yesterday, amid loud protests from students, to announce a new PhD research programme in arts and humanities. About 100 students carried placards and shouted slogans against the reintroduction of third-level fees …” (more)

[Kitty Holland, Irish Times, 21 November]