Archive for 22 January 2009

Looking into the abyss …

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“It would be hard to exaggerate the potential catastrophe now facing the university sector in Ireland. Last week the Irish Independent reported that one university had a ’shortfall’ – presumably a deficit – of €16m in its current spending. In the case of another university, it is claimed (unconfirmed by the university) that it has issued a redundancy notice to a member of the academic staff. When the university heads recently were questioned by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Joint Committee on Education and Science, most indicated that in the current year they would be recording a deficit, in some cases a substantial one …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 January]


Obama exploits academe to staff his White House

Posted in Life with tags on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“President Barack Obama’s White House will have enough academics among its top appointees to teach a full curriculum. President Obama, who attended Harvard Law School, taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, while Joe Biden, the Vice-President, teaches the same subject at Widener University in Delaware. Principal aides include former university presidents, deans and professors of law, economics, public policy, even physics. ‘Many of Obama’s friends are drawn from the milieu in which he flourished as president of the Harvard Law Review,’ said Dan Markel, a professor of law at Florida State University who blogs about political matters …” (more)

[THE, 22 January]

Ideology alone is not enough to bar entry to US, judge says

Posted in Legal issues with tags on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“A court has reversed one of a series of decisions by the US Government to deny visas to international academics on ideological grounds. The ruling, which could establish a precedent, says that officials must give a specific reason for refusing a scholar the right to enter the US. It comes in the case of Adam Habib, a South African political scientist and critic of the war in Iraq who was prevented from accepting invitations to speak before several American scholarly organisations …” (more)

[Jon Marcus, THE, 22 January]

Everyone is talking the talk

Posted in teaching with tags on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“… Many institutions in Europe, particularly business schools, have accepted that English is the commercial lingua franca. Even the French, whose immortels in the Academie francaise devote hours to inventing French terms for Anglo-Saxon words such as ‘football’ and ‘software’ that creep into use, which they regard as tres beyond the pale. There is now a range of courses being taught in English across France to a cosmopolitan array of students drawn to the weather and lifestyle of places such as Grenoble. While UK business schools might be sniffy about the quality of the English skills of the lecturers in such institutions, they cannot hide from the fact that they pose serious competition. Even Switzerland now takes 23 per cent of its students from overseas, and there are 200 masters courses taught in English …” (more)

[Ann Mroz, THE, 22 January]

Research elite fear HEFCE may approach funding formula with a ‘straight bat’

Posted in research with tags , on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“The elite research-intensive universities are unlikely to be given any special protection against funding cuts when the formula for distributing more than £1.5 billion a year to support research is devised. After Times Higher Education went to press, the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England was due to meet to discuss the 2009-10 funding allocations, amid lobbying from leading research institutions to protect their share of research funding. Last month’s research assessment exercise, which will be used to determine research funding, found that ‘world-leading’ research was distributed widely throughout the sector. Without special protections built in to the RAE funding formula, there will be a much wider distribution of cash across the sector. It is predicted that the top eight universities could lose in excess of £100 million …” (more)

[Zoë Corbyn, THE, 22 January]

Fees do not harm access, says architect of policy

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 22 January 2009 by Steve

“Broadening participation in higher education is not primarily a university or even a sixth-form-level problem, but must be tackled before children reach the age of 16. That was the view put forth by Nick Barr, professor of public economics at the London School of Economics and one of the architects of student tuition fees in the UK. He told an audience of academics, politicians and policymakers that the key to improving university access could be summed up by the maxim: ‘It’s attainment, stupid.’ Speaking last week at a Times Higher Education-Higher Education Policy Institute seminar on the marketisation of the university sector, Professor Barr said: ‘Sociologists often say that fees harm access: they don’t, it’s all gone wrong a lot earlier, and if we try to fix access by worrying just about fees then we are putting our passion and our resources in the wrong place’ …” (more)

[John Gill, THE, 22 January]