Archive for May, 2009

Under-strain universities told to clear all debts within year

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , , , , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has told Ireland’s top universities that current debts are ‘unacceptable’ and has put pressure on them to wipe out all arrears within a year. Colleges in the red include UCC and UCD with debts in excess of €15m, while Trinity College Dublin is also under strain from growing deficits. A spokesman for the HEA said, ‘under the Universities Act, the universities are not meant to run into debt. It simply is not acceptable. They are obliged to give it more priority than they are at the moment.’ However, General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) Mike Jennings has hit out at the HEA saying ‘it is completely unrealistic to expect this’ …” (more)

[Jennifer Bray, Sunday Tribune, 31 May]

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TCD-UCD ‘innovation alliance’ expected to cost over €1bn

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A joint venture between Trinity College (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) is likely to have a price tag of more than €1bn over a period of 10 years. The alliance between the two universities, which was launched last March, was accompanied by claims that it could lead to the establishment of 300 new ‘high-value’ companies over 10 years, creating up to 30,000 jobs by 2018. According to a draft version of UCD’s strategic plan to 2014, obtained by the Sunday Tribune, the cost of realising the UCD/TCD ‘innovation alliance’ project is set at €650m over 10 years. But it could also involve significant extra investment from the private sector during that time …” (more)

[John Downes, Sunday Tribune, 31 May]

Ministry recruits 2,000 foreign scholars

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 31 May 2009 by Steve

china“In a bold move to rapidly expand research capacity of its universities, China’s Ministry of Education is helping underwrite the costs of recruiting and retaining 2,000 foreign experts. About 70 select universities, as well as 211 schools that comprise an elite 100+ universities, can apply to the ministry’s university section with proposals to expand key research positions. Where approved, interviewing is already underway with candidates so far drawn heavily from the US and Europe. Although scholars with Chinese background may have an advantage, China is recruiting from all nationalities in an effort not unlike the academic ‘raids’ conducted earlier by Western universities wanting to assemble potential Nobel Prize winners …” (more)

[John Richard Schrock, University World News, 31 May]

Out of puff or more protests to come?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

France“After four months of fighting the government’s higher education and research reforms, meantime disrupting universities and bringing lecturers, researchers and students out on strike and onto the streets, the national protest movement appears to have run out of steam. Even the most radical universities, including the Sorbonne, have voted to re-open. But activists say the closures and blockages are on hold so students can prepare for their examinations, and action will resume until demands are met. The immediate priority is for universities to organise catch-up courses and the examinations themselves so students do not waste a year or graduate with ‘devalued’ diplomas …” (more)

[Jane Marshall, University World News, 31 May]

Re-assessing the professions

Posted in teaching with tags , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… For decades all over Ireland, ambitious parents were anxious that their children would become lawyers, accountants, architects, surveyors, doctors or vets. These were the career choices that would secure a social rank, lots of income, independence and sophistication. This was the life to aspire to. And for decades the CAO points have reflected that, attaching a premium to programmes of study that opened up the gates to these careers. By contrast, you could launch yourself on a trajectory towards being an engineer, a research chemist, even a senior manager in industry on the back of much lower points; these latter career choices often seemed insecure and poorly paid to the same ambitious parents …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 30 May]

Research identifies problem-drinkers on campus

Posted in Life with tags , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

USA“Binge-drinking by university students is a problem in many countries but new US research US has highlighted the characteristics of those most at risk of alcohol-related injuries. The findings by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers suggest that university managers who want to minimise the incidence of alcohol-related injuries should focus on a relatively small group of students …” (more)

[University World News, 31 May]

Research expectations being set

Posted in research with tags , , on 31 May 2009 by Steve

New Zealand“Slack academics will be in the spotlight under research standards being developed at Canterbury University. Vice-chancellor Rod Carr said the university aimed to set minimum research output levels for academics. Those not performing could not reasonably expect to continue their work at the university, he said. ‘Academic staff who consistently fail to produce a minimum of, say, four pieces of quality assured research outputs in a three-year period cannot be assured of continuing support of the university,’ Carr said in a report to the university council yesterday …” (more)

[Rebecca Todd, The Press, 28 May]