Archive for 8 January 2009

Laptops in class

Posted in teaching with tags on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“In the Law School in Trinity, the proportion of my students using laptops in class has increased year by year, though they have not yet reached the levels attained in US law schools, where the vast majority of students have laptops in class. Whether this is too much of a good thing, however, is now a serious matter for debate: are benefits of the technology outweighed by the capacity for distraction (taking notes vs updating facebook)? The University of Chicago School of Law has turned off wireless internet access in class, Harvard Law School has considered banning laptops in class, various individual law professors have actually done so or negotiated them away, and there is even law review article on the issue …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 8 January]

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Welsh university turns Spielberg the colour purple

Posted in Legal issues on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“The University of Lampeter in Wales has been forced to apologise to film director Steven Spielberg for using a picture of him to promote a scriptwriting course without his permission. The case underlines the pitfalls of overethusiastic marketing by universities and colleges. Tucked away in the hills of mid-Wales, Lampeter, one of the UK’s smallest universities, nevertheless found itself on the radar of lawyers representing the interests of the world-renowned director of Jurassic Park, ET, The Color Purple and Saving Private Ryan, who nipped in the bud any chance of the university basking in his reflected glory. In this instance, the offending article was an A4 course brochure designed for circulation at writing festivals to promote the university’s creative and script-writing masters course …” (more)

[Anthea Lipsett and Donald MacLeod, Guardian, 8 January]

Programme for Research

Posted in research with tags , on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“Today – Thursday, January 8 – the Irish Government announced the Fifth Cycle of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). Well, when I say ‘announced’, I mean they published a statement declaring that the new cycle of PRTLI would now get under way, in the form of as press release that was put on the website of the Department of Education and Science some time this morning. There was no media event of any kind, and indeed no statement was made to the programme’s clients at all. However, I absolutely must not be churlish, the great thing is that the Programme is back under way; some of us had feared that this might not happen. So all credit to the Government and to the Minister; this has been a good news day, and we have precious few of these …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 8 January]

€300m for cutting-edge research

Posted in research with tags , on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“The Minister for Education has granted €300m for the latest phase of a programme designed to stimulate cutting-edge research in third level institutions. Announcing details of cycle five of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes, Batt O’Keeffe said the level of funding signalled the Government’s determination to continue ‘to prioritise investment in developing a knowledge economy’. The funding will be targeted at developing buildings and other infrastructure for research. A special focus will be placed on the development of facilities to be shared by third level bodies …” (more)

[RTE News, 8 January]

Academics fear PhD quality is slipping

Posted in teaching on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“Concerns that PhD standards are under threat have been raised by academics. A vox pop of Times Higher Education readers found that although most of those questioned believed that the standard of scholarship required to obtain a PhD remained high, many spoke out about threats to the future of the prestigious qualification as a mark of original research …” (more)

[Phil Baty, THE, 8 January]

Love could be the death of women’s life in research

Posted in Life on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“Female scientists may be forced into a situation where they have to choose between having children and having a career as researchers are increasingly required to move from country to country to prosper, according to a report. Universities UK (UUK) warns that for many women scientists married or partnered to men who are also researchers, the modern requirement of mobility, both within the European Union and further afield, is bringing their careers to a premature end. ‘These couples represent a significant proportion of the talent pool for scientific research,’ the UUK says in its report on researcher mobility …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 8 January]

Practise what you preach

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 8 January 2009 by Steve

“Writing in 1963, Sir Eric Ashby, then master of Clare College, Cambridge, observed that ‘all over the country, these groups of scholars, who would not make a decision about the shape of a leaf or the derivation of a word … without painstakingly assembling the evidence, make decisions about admission policy, size of universities, staff-student ratios, content of courses and similar issues based on dubious assumptions, scrappy data and mere hunch’. As a profession, higher education is not alone in avoiding self-analysis, but because its raison d’etre is, in large part, to help others forge an evidence-based path, such inadequacy would seem to be particularly incongruous …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 8 January]