Archive for 16 February 2009

Autonomy for Irish Universities – Time to rethink the Strategy?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“There is now a wide-ranging review of the Irish University sector taking place at the behest and instigation of the current Minister for Education. Within its remit, proposals to amalgamate several colleges and Institutes of Technology (ITs) have been muted, along with the controversial policy to re-introduce fees for third level students. The last major overhaul of the University sector in Ireland commenced with the enactment of the Universities Act, 1997 and the abolition of University fees by a former Labour Minister for Education, Niamh Bhreathnach, the previous year. Various arguments for and against a major restructuring of University Governance have been circulated around Irish academia for the last couple of years, and in particular, during the economic boom that postdated the abolition of fees and the introduction of the legislative framework in 1997 …” (more)

[University Blog on Academic Tenure in Ireland, 16 February]

Student activism is back

Posted in Life with tags , , on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“Dormant for decades, activism is back in universities, with sit-ins on campuses across the country. Is it politics that moves them, or fears that they won’t get a job? It was celery soup, I believe, with tomato and potatoes in it. A very big pot. The students wanted to take delivery of it, because they had been soupless for the past three days while staging an ‘occupation’ of the law faculty in protest at Israel’s actions in Gaza. The law professor refused to let them, for reasons that were rather more vague but had something to do with health and safety. ‘I question your judgment!’ said one protester, a disdainful young man with sandy brown dreadlocks. ‘Well, I am a judge,’ said the law professor. And nobody even sniggered, except the security guards. For this was a serious business …” (more)

[Hugo Rifkind, Times, 16 February]

Court upholds university tuition fees in Baden-Württemberg

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“A court in Baden-Württemberg dealt a blow to public university students on Monday when it ruled that tuition fees of €500 per semester in the German state are lawful. The higher administrative court (VGH) in Mannheim concluded the fees are in line with basic guaranteed professional and educational freedoms. Economy minister Peter Frankenberg (CDU) commented that the decision backs the social sustainability of the fees …” (more)

[The Local, 16 Febrary]

Classes/Gaelic

Posted in teaching with tags , on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“Cork is beginning to feel more familiar and I feel more like I actually live/belong here, instead of constantly being a tourist. Classes are different here, much less structured, and they expect people to do the learning more on their own. Most of my classes are for visiting students, so those haven’t been hard to adjust too, and I like all three of those. I really like my Irish History class, and the music class I’m in is fun too, though I’ve missed three of those classes, one because I didn’t know they changed the room the class was in, one because the professor didn’t show up, and another because I was stranded in London … Gaelic is interesting, but not easy at all, pronunciation is what kills me. They standardized the spelling into the roman alphabet, but still pronounce things like they did with the non-roman spellings, so I have no idea how to pronounce something until I’ve heard it …” (more)

[True Story, I’m going to Ireland, 16 February]

Why Journalism shouldn’t be taught as a BA

Posted in teaching with tags on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“I posted here about Paul Bradshaw’s interesting video touching on the inflexibility of journalism education. I was surprised about this – until I started having more to do with journalism colleges. You’d think colleges and universities would be falling over themselves to offer what employers wanted. But it’s not quite so. Why should this be? I think there are several reasons: 1. Students pay for courses, not employers. It’s a very competitive education market, and colleges need to keep student numbers up. This means teaching what students enjoy and are interested in [nice layouts, cool web sites], rather than tough, boring things like, say, how to sub-edit rigorously …” (more)

[Freelance Unbound, 16 February]

UCD FEE launches three sabbatical SU election campaigns alongside referendum

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“With the government’s decision to introduce third level fees expected within two months, the student campaign against fees, Free Education for Everyone (FEE) is stepping up its campaign across the country. A crucial step is fighting to build genuine campaigning students’ unions capable of leading a mass movement to defeat the government’s threat. In UCD, FEE is standing a slate of three candidates for sabbatical office in the Students’ Union as well as running a referendum committing the union to serious action against fees. Explaining why FEE has taken this next step, Presidential candidate, Julian Brophy said: ‘We are facing an onslaught of attacks on education by this government. To defeat fees and cutbacks, we need campaigning democratic students’ unions that don’t just posture at being opposed to fees, but really try to organise a mass movement to force the government back.’…” (more)

[Free Education for Everyone, 16 February]

3,000 students take new aptitude test for medical school

Posted in teaching with tags on 16 February 2009 by Steve

“School-leavers hoping for a highly prized place in medical school crossed the first hurdle over the weekend with the sitting of the newly introduced aptitude test. About 3,000 students took the test in five centres around the country – Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford and Sligo. Their results will be combined with their Leaving Certificate score, in a new formula to determine entry to medicine and designed to take some of the heat out of the points race. The limited number of places available in medicine means that students have to achieve a minimum of 550-560 to have an chance of entry and many drive themselves towards a perfect 600 to be sure of a place. Under the new sliding scale system, students with a minimum of 480 Leaving Certificate points may have those combined with a score in the Health Professionals Admissions Test (HPAT) …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 16 February]