Archive for February, 2009

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]

Morrissey to be celebrated by Irish University

Posted in research with tags on 26 February 2009 by Steve

“The University of Limerick is to hold a two-day symposium to celebrate the career of Morrissey. The event, entitled The Songs That Saved Your Life (Again), will include the premiere of the documentary, Passions Just Like Mine. The film, which has been directed by Kerri Koch, tells the story of the former Smiths star’s Latino fan base. There will also be an open discussion about the significance of Morrissey as a cultural icon …” (more)

[Jason Gregory, Gigwise, 26 February]

No Lobbying Needed

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

“In the province of Munster a campaign organised by Youth Defence is under way to highlight opposition and calling a halt to Human Embryo Research at University College Cork. A lobby of the University, the local politicians, the government party seems necessary. However, this is not needed. Our University presidents, our local TD, our government know full well of what is involved … Young people attending UCC is now not an option. Parents are not funding such a university. Catholics will oppose this. We are not pushovers. Our politicians have met pro-family activists time and time again. Our constitution protects the traditional family and children. Irish taxes will not go to the funding of embryo research in UCC. Let us all call on University College Cork to change its decision.” (more)

[Thought and Action, 25 February]

Tánaiste defends €24m research spend

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

“Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has defended a €24 million investment in scientific research, saying it would help create jobs and build a ‘smart economy’ for Ireland. The Government was committed to this investment and would support research despite the economic difficulties, Ms Coughlan said yesterday. She was speaking at the launch in Dublin of five new ‘strategic research clusters’ that will build links between academic scientists and private sector companies. ‘With this kind of research we can attract and sustain employment,’ she said. Funding for the clusters comes via Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). When asked whether the money might have been better spent in public services, she defended the investment …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 26 February]

Oz elite damn review as a ‘road map to mediocrity’

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

“After six weeks spent digesting Australia’s most comprehensive review of higher education in recent times, the country’s elite universities have branded it a ‘road map to mediocrity’. The Review of Australian Higher Education, chaired by Denise Bradley, former vice-chancellor of the University of South Australia, recommended a radical overhaul of the sector, including a massive expansion in student numbers. Its significance to Australian higher education has been likened to the impact in the UK of Lord Dearing’s review in 1997, but now the Group of Eight, which represents Australia’s most prestigious research-led institutions, has criticised its findings. The group met Julia Gillard, Minister of Education, to discuss its concerns. It said the recommendations of the review risked setting students up for a fall and wasting public money …” (more)

[John Gill, Times Higher Education, 26 February]

MPs attack top universities for failing to open doors to poorest students

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

“Leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, are failing to shed their elitist image, according to a report by MPs which reveals that a £400m drive to encourage people from the poorest backgrounds to go to university has resulted in only a marginal increase in applications. Universities, schools and the government are all blamed for failing to tackle the bias in applications, which means that more than twice the proportion of the richest school leavers go to university compared with those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. A Commons public accounts committee report published today – which has been instantly disputed by ministers – claims the government has failed to track what universities have done with £392m in grants to universities since 2001 to open access to people from different backgrounds …” (more)

[Polly Curtis, Guardian, 26 February]

NUIG withdraws its support for rag week because of ‘unruly behaviour’

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

“NUI Galway says a ‘series of unfortunate incidents’ influenced its decision to withdraw its support for the university’s annual rag week. The event ‘will no longer form part of the university calendar’, NUI Galway (NUIG) senior management said in a statement yesterday. ‘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. ‘NUIG does not condone this behaviour and treats such breaches of conduct very seriously,’ it said, and it apologised to Galway city residents who had experienced ‘disruption or distress’ this week. It is understood there have been 42 arrests …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 26 February]