Archive for April, 2009

Universities must not use RAE results to axe jobs warns UCU

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

UK“UCU today warned universities not to use the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results as an excuse to axe jobs or departments. The content of submissions made to the RAE is published today on the RAE 2008 website and the union has said it fears some universities will try to spin the results to justify axing jobs or departments. One hundred universities have already signalled their intention to make job cuts and UCU is currently in dispute with the employers’ organisation over its failure to agree to a national agreement that would ensure any institution looking to axe jobs would have to make the case clearly and transparently …” (more)

[UCU, 30 April]

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Top-earning academic asks staff for a free week’s work

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The country’s highest paid university head has suggested that staff work for a week for nothing to help the college through the current financial crisis. The move by University College Cork (UCC) president Dr Michael Murphy comes as university heads themselves consider a voluntary pay cut. The pay cut proposal is on the agenda for a meeting of the Irish Universities Association (IUA) today – but in return college bosses want discretion in relation to the recently announced embargo on filling posts …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 April]

FOI case could set precedent for universities

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

UK“Teaching materials used on a BSc degree in homoeopathy must be released to a campaigner against ‘pseudo-scientific’ courses, the Information Commissioner has ruled. The ruling will force the University of Central Lancashire to submit to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act by David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology at University College London, and could set a precedent for the sector. Professor Colquhoun, who is well known for a blog he writes attacking what he sees as phoney science, first submitted requests for the material to UCLAN in July 2006. The university refused to comply on the grounds that the material was commercially confidential and could be reasonably accessed by other means – namely, by enrolling on the course …” (more)

[Zoë Corbyn, Times Higher Education, 30 April]

How universities are run

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“It seems to me that one of the big debates that should take place, both in Ireland and elsewhere, over the next few years is what model of governance and management is most appropriate for higher education institutions. There are of course many different possible models, and many points of view amongst all the stakeholders. But one might say that on the opposite ends of the spectrum are, on the one side, those who would argue that universities are communities of scholars who should direct their own affairs by consensus, presided over by a primus inter pares with mainly ceremonial functions; and on the other side, those who argue that today’s universities are modern organisations that need to be led by a strong management responsible to corporate-style governing boards, with appropriate functions and powers delegated to a series of middle managers …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 30 April]

Call off the witch hunts

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

UK“All foreign students are now suspect in the current Salem-like xenophobic frenzy. We must stand firm. Many of us in higher education are engaged in debates about the Government’s recent moves to strengthen UK border controls for visitors and students, to weed out dubious higher education colleges, and to require academics and institutions to report overseas student attendance to the Home Office in the name of security and educational standards. After the police and security services arrested and detained 12 students in Manchester and Liverpool, not only the sector but UK society as a whole should be asking searching questions about policing, government policy, law and rights. Instead, we are confronted by a mainstream media content to deflect and distract with stories of possible plots, fake IDs, forged certificates and bogus colleges above fish-and-chip shops filled with “illegal” immigrants masquerading as overseas students, while civil liberties collapse quietly around us …” (more)

[Susan Edwards, Times Higher Education, 30 April]

Was there a student voice in Leuven?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 April 2009 by Steve

EU“The European Students’ Union (ESU) is clearly enjoying being a part of the Bologna Process. Claiming the legitimacy of representing 11 million students from 49 National student unions, the ESU is a stakeholder group directly involved in the Bologna Process and contributing position papers to the Leuven Meeting. Claims to representativeness though should be treated to with a note of caution and this applies even more to the unambiguous support which ESU gives to what it calls the Bologna Vision …” (more)

[GlobalHigherEd, 29 April]

A cure for illness and an early warning for onset of disease

Posted in research with tags on 30 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Stem-cell research, currently the hottest topic in biology, is developing at lightning speed. The latest branch of this research was born in 2006 when Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University demonstrated a technique that turns ordinary body cells into cells that closely resemble embryonic stem cells. The products of the new technique are called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Since Yamanaka’s breakthrough, milestone publications have appeared, developing the iPS cell technique and demonstrating its potential for medical therapy …” (more)

[William Reville, Irish Times, 30 April]