Archive for 12 February 2009

Corduroy in the streets: The professors’ protest

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“Roused by mounting popular foment and bristling at the government’s proposed education reforms, tens of thousands of French university professors and students, including as many as 50,000 in Paris, took to the streets across the country on Tuesday. Of France’s 83 public universities, only 15 were untouched by the protests. ‘The government has to hear this anger that is founded upon our experience, upon our desire to achieve success in our research programs, to achieve success for the students,’ Jean Fabbri, head of SNESUP, the national union of higher learning, told Le Parisien as he marched in Paris. ‘They must, finally, retract the contested texts and open negotiations that have never, never taken place’ …” (more)

[Scott Sayare, outside-inside, 12 February]

Students to get laptop trackers

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“Students in NI will soon be able to have a tracker installed in their laptops free of charge by the police. It follows a series of burglaries in which laptops were stolen in the Holylands area of Belfast, where many students live. If a computer is stolen, officers hope they will able to use the tracker to trace its movements remotely. A PSNI spokeswoman said the ‘green light to purchase the relevant software had been given’. A start date for the scheme is yet to be decided upon, however the spokeswoman said it would be ‘sometime in the near future’ …” (more)

[BBC News, 12 February]

McManus to fund NI scholarships

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“Higher education scholarships for over 250 disadvantaged students in Northern Ireland are to be funded by racing magnate JP McManus. The Limerick businessman has provided a fund of around €6m (£5.4m) to help high-flying A-Level pupils. The first bursaries will be awarded for those starting university in September and are worth £5,500 (€6,081) a year each. Northern Ireland’s Employment Minister Reg Empey said: ‘This new scholarship scheme will provide a financial boost to those who are currently planning their future studies and careers. The vision and practical support of people like JP McManus from the world of business shows that philanthropy can make a real difference …’” (more)

[RTÉ News, 12 February]


Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“Stupid question maybe, but if the Green Party are against the reintroduction of fees, surely they are in the best possible place to stop it happening? Not for the first, or thousandth, time, the Green Party are making public statements as though they’re not actually the ones sitting at the cabinet table. I have no idea why …” (more)

[Sharona’s Shambles, 12 February]

How Irish university duped top UK businesswoman into handing out its degrees

Posted in Legal issues with tags on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“A leading businesswoman has been embarrassed into handing back an honorary doctorship she was awarded by a bogus university. Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, agreed to be guest of honour at the ‘graduation ceremony’ for the Irish International University. But the institution, which hires rooms at Oxford for its degree events, is neither Irish nor a university. It encourages foreigners to spend thousands of pounds coming to Britain to study for worthless qualifications. Ms Chapman, who since 1998 has run Britain’s 73,000-strong association for managers, previously known as the British Institute of Management, was hoodwinked into handing out certificates at last year’s degree ceremony …” (more)

[Educon, 12 February]

He was a poor student and liked a drink, but Darwin turned out OK

Posted in Life with tags , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“Today (12 February), Christ’s College, Cambridge will unveil a sculpture of its most famous student, Charles Darwin. The statue resembles Darwin as he looked as a student rather than as the prematurely aged, bearded patriarch that is his usual image. Darwin would surely be astonished that his college is honouring him in this way. He was a genuinely modest and retiring man who loved the company of his family and a circle of scientific friends, and avoided publicity. The original outline of his theory of natural selection was read to the Linnean Society by someone else, and with relief he left it to Thomas Huxley and Joseph Hooker to defend On the Origin of Species against the criticism of Samuel Wilberforce at the meeting of the British Association in 1860. Darwin wrote to Hooker: ‘I would have soon as died as tried to answer the Bishop in such an assembly.’ Besides being by nature self-effacing, Darwin was a poor student. His father, Robert, was a successful and wealthy doctor in Shrewsbury; but as a younger son, Charles would have to earn his living …” (more)

[Stephen Halliday, THE, 12 February]

Winchester restates first principles with ‘generalist’ liberal arts degree

Posted in teaching with tags , on 12 February 2009 by Steve

“The University of Winchester is to launch a degree in the ‘liberal arts’, in what it describes as a ‘brave restatement’ of the core purpose of higher education. Although full details have yet to be revealed, the ‘generalist’ course will bring together elements from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and fine arts. The university said it wanted to offer students an alternative to the national norm of specialist, discipline-specific degrees – in what will be a first in England. Nigel Tubbs, professor of philosophical and educational thought at Winchester, is developing the course. He said: ‘In the UK, there are only a handful of undergraduate programmes that claim to offer anything like a liberal education. When students apply to university today, they know they must choose a discipline, but I don’t believe that is what every student wants’ …” (more)

[Rebecca Attwood, THE, 12 February]