Archive for 15 January 2009

Be careful who you get into bed with …

Posted in Legal issues, teaching with tags on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“… to quote an academic colleague on quality management of collaborative provision (his hanging preposition, not mine!). I attended a really engaging presentation from Kathleen Kwan of Mills and Reeve to the Quality Practitioners Group of the Academic Registrars Council on due diligence for collaborative provision in higher education with some useful general principles and some helpful items to consider …” (more)

[Ellie Clewlow, Intersecting sets, 15 January]

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Universities accept record number of students

Posted in teaching with tags , on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“Record numbers of students took up places on undergraduate courses in the UK last year, according to final figures released today by the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). In 2008, the number of fulltime students accepted on to courses rose by 10.4% – 43,197 more than the previous year – to a total of 456,627. This included 14,184 nursing and midwifery applicants who applied through UCAS for the first time. Excluding these students, the number of acceptances rose by 7%. The figures show a rise in overseas students taking degrees in British universities – up 5.6% overall, with Romania (140.5%), Bulgaria (109.4%), Singapore (32.2%) and China (21%) seeing the biggest increases in student numbers. Male undergraduates rose 7.9% in 2008 to 204,695, while the number of female students increased by 12.6% on last year to 251,932. But the biggest rise was seen in mature students …” (more)

[Anthea Lipsett, Guardian, 15 January]

Controversial historian David Irving to speak at NUIG?

Posted in Life with tags on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“David Irving, the highly controversial British historian who spent three years in an Austrian prison under Holocaust Denial Legislation, may be speaking at NUI, Galway’s Literary and Debating Society in March. ‘The Lit and Deb’, as the society is popularly known, has been in correspondence with Mr Irving and he has indicated that he wants to visit NUIG and speak in a debate about his theories. However, given the nature of Mr Irving’s views, the society will be putting the decision of whether or not to accept him as their guest, to a vote of society members, preceded by an open debate …” (more)

[Kernan Andrews, Galway Advertiser, 15 January]

HR report on staff stress dismissed as ‘valueless’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“When a report on staff stress levels by human-resource managers warns of a plethora of problems including ‘friction and anger’ between colleagues, managers might be expected to take the ‘urgent action’ called for. But when the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds was confronted with such findings, its director responded by circulating a critique of the report, warning that it would be ‘extremely dangerous’ to act on them. The study, carried out last year by the university under Health and Safety Executive guidelines, raised concerns about staff workloads, said support from managers had to improve and reported ‘unachievable deadlines and unrealistic time pressures’. Gary Rawnsley, the institute’s director, responded by attaching a damning analysis of the report when he circulated it to staff …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, THE, 15 January]

Steering QR cash to elite could be a ‘mistake’

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“Research funding should be spread across a much wider range of universities than just the traditional research elite, an exclusive analysis suggests. The study by a leading economist tests the findings of the recent research assessment exercise on where the best work is being produced. Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick echoed the RAE’s findings that truly world-class research is far from being the preserve of a small elite of large research universities. It is being produced by a broad range of universities and less-feted departments, he said. Admitting surprise at his findings – which were based on his own discipline, economics – he said that the results suggested that the modern obsession with ‘top’ departments should be rethought …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 15 January]

You know what I really hate …?

Posted in Life with tags , on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“‘Grade-grubbing students’ and ‘awkward departmental cocktail parties’ are among dozens of academic bugbears exposed in a revealing list published online. It may be meant as a bit of fun, but the list by academics on the social networking site Facebook also lays bare the betes noires of long-suffering lecturers. The targets for their frustration and ridicule include their students, peers, managers and institutions, as well as the world of higher education in general. Students, unsurprisingly, are given a hard time, from the ‘annoying, know-it-all grad student’ to those who send text messages during classes and those who come to lectures when they are ill. Also on the list are ‘students with a crush’ and ‘ultra-religious students’ …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 15 January]

Nurture all-round talents

Posted in teaching with tags on 15 January 2009 by Steve

“Talent management is the hot theme on the corporate agenda, addressing how to recruit, retain and develop the talent an organisation needs to ensure a successful future. But what is it that organisations are looking for? There are lots of buzzwords in the corporate vocabulary – ‘emotional intelligence’, ‘complex teams’, even ‘talent management’ – that are touted as requiring new skill sets, but if you look behind the terms, not much is new. Organisations need people who can communicate effectively, who can solve problems and spawn new ideas and who can work collaboratively with different people all around the world. These elements underpin successful individuals in organisations. People can learn the finer points of their work and their market as they move up and around an organisation. The basis of who they are, how they think and how they relate to others is a more fundamental form of development – it is the development of the individual as a person. While this continues throughout our working lives, the best opportunity for developing these foundations is at university …” (more)

[Eddie Blass, THE, 15 January]