Archive for 26 February 2009

French Government Backs Down Amid Protests Over Higher-Education Proposals

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“The French government has yielded to pressure following weeks of protests and disruptions at universities across the country and announced that a controversial decree governing the hiring and promotion of researchers engaged in teaching would be ‘entirely rewritten on the basis of discussions conducted by Valérie Pécresse [the higher-education minister] with the organizations in question.’ The statement, issued Wednesday evening by the office of Prime Minister François Fillon, followed Mr. Fillon’s meeting with the leaders of the Conference of University Presidents. The government also announced that university job cuts scheduled for 2010 and 2011 would not be carried out …” (more)

[Aisha Labi, Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 February]

Drunks lead university authorities to withdraw support for rag

Posted in Life with tags , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“Drunken and unruly students have led the senior management of a Galway university to redraw their support for the annual charity rag week. The event ‘will no longer form part of the university calendar’, NUI Galway (NUIG) senior management said in a statement, according to the Irish Times. ‘Unfortunately this week of charitable events has been overshadowed by a minority of students using this time as an opportunity for excessive drinking, leading ultimately to unsafe, unruly and anti-social behaviour,’ NUIG management said …” (more)

[UK Fundraising, 26 February]

California Legislation Would Tie College Executives’ Pay to Tuition

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“A California lawmaker is proposing to prohibit raises for executives at the state’s public colleges and universities in years that they raise tuition. The bill, announced yesterday, would apply to the University of California, California State University, and the state’s community-college system. It would cap executive compensation for presidents, chancellors, vice chancellors, and general counsels at the three systems if they chose to raise mandatory student fees during the same fiscal year. The bill’s author, State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat, has been one of the most persistent critics of the University of California during the past few years …” (more)

[Josh Keller, Chronicle of Higher Education, 26 February]

In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth

Posted in teaching with tags , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“One idea that elite universities like Yale, sprawling public systems like Wisconsin and smaller private colleges like Lewis and Clark have shared for generations is that a traditional liberal arts education is, by definition, not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation. Rather, the critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop have a different purpose: They are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice. But in this new era of lengthening unemployment lines and shrinking university endowments, questions about the importance of the humanities in a complex and technologically demanding world have taken on new urgency …” (more)

[Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 24 February]

QUB: No Irish Need Apply

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“A shocking discovery made by The Gown in recent weeks has unearthed racial inequality on the part of QUB. The Management School, one of the university’s leading bodies, took the seemingly innocuous decision to advertise a bursary for their postgraduate programmes. However, said bursaries were for GB students only, that is, students from England, Scotland and Wales. Thus excluding students from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Europe. The Gown can confirm that QUB have since retraced their steps, and have made applications for the bursary open to all students. Meanwhile, the controversial GB clause has been amended on new advertisements detailing the bursary …” (more)

[The Gown, 26 February]

Foreign students leaving UK debts

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“Up to 70% of students from other European Union countries are failing to repay student loans they took out while at UK universities, the BBC has learnt. The Student Loans Company says 2,240 students should have begun repayments but 1,580 are not accounted for. A Spanish student said she had heard nothing five years after graduating. The government says the SLC is doing what it can to track people down. Take-up of the entitlement is growing fast, with 46,000 now having borrowed £130m …” (more)

[Andrew Bomford, BBC News, 26 February]

UCU says teaching excellence needs to be properly rewarded

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“UCU said today that teaching had to be properly recognised in our universities as new research revealed that academic staff think teaching should be important when it comes to promotions, but few believe it actually is. A full report from the Higher Education Academy (HEA) is expected later this year that will include the results of a study into higher education institutions’ policies for recognising teaching and how the policies are being implemented. Key findings from the survey include: over 90% of academic staff think that teaching should be important in promotions; most academics feel that the status of teaching is low in comparison with research …” (more)

[UCU, 25 February]