Archive for June, 2009

‘Free’ higher education: the quality dilemma

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

Ireland“Today’s Irish Times carries an opinion piece by a Gerard Horgan, described only as someone who ‘works in the education sector.’ The article, entitled ‘Free education can benefit all of society’, takes issue with the idea of the reintroduction of university tuition fees, principally on two grounds: that fees will hurt those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and that they will lead to increased indebtedness of students. I am sure this is a well-intentioned piece of writing, and as I have mentioned before, I am myself not hugely comfortable with the principle of tuition fees. But the arguments he uses here are weak and the analysis is incomplete …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 30 June]

Bad Writing Contest

Posted in Life with tags , on 30 June 2009 by Steve

USA“The results are in for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for 2009. The annual award – from the English department at San Jose State University – honors the worst opening sentences for imaginary novels. This year’s winner, David McKenzie, offered the following …” (more)

[Inside Higher Ed, 30 June]

Minister Kim Carr confronts dodgy science

Posted in research with tags , on 30 June 2009 by Steve

Australia“The Rudd government is considering a specialist independent body to deal with the hardest cases of scientific fraud, according to Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr. ‘We are considering a research integrity advisory board,’ said Senator Carr, who said he hoped the details could be settled before the next academic year. ‘We need to establish the legal framework … and the appropriate legal indemnity for the chair and panel members … and the specific revisions to the (Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research) to take into account any new review mechanism …’” (more)

[Bernard Lane, Australian Higher Education, 1 July]

Free education can benefit all of society

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

Ireland“I have been following the debate over the reintroduction of university fees and am sufficiently moved to write to you on this topic. There are two main issues with this move on behalf of the university authorities and the Government. Firstly, there is the concern about the impact such a policy would have on students from economically disadvantaged areas. The reintroduction of fees may discourage and prevent bright students from impoverished backgrounds from making an important contribution …” (more)

[Gerard Horgan, Irish Times, 30 June]

Developing rhetoric

Posted in Life with tags , on 30 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Anyway, the point of all this is that rhetoric – the art of persuasive speaking – is such an important skill in the academic environment. Few academics are trained in it, and if we’re honest not all of them do it well. Too often we believe that the intellectual cohesion of what we say should be enough, and that our skills in communicating it are of no great importance, or possibly even a sign that the academic pedigree of the content is deficient. I have never bought that: I believe that as lecturers we must be able to inspire, impress and entertain; these rhetorical devices help to engage the student and make the subject-matter memorable …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 29 June]

A Principal Component Analysis of 39 Scientific Impact Measures

Posted in research with tags on 30 June 2009 by Steve

USA“The impact of scientific publications has traditionally been expressed in terms of citation counts. However, scientific activity has moved online over the past decade. To better capture scientific impact in the digital era, a variety of new impact measures has been proposed on the basis of social network analysis and usage log data. Here we investigate how these new measures relate to each other, and how accurately and completely they express scientific impact …” (more)

[Scholarship 2.0, 29 June]

Public wages up 3.4% in year

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 29 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The number of people employed in the public sector has risen by 20,000 over the last three years, while average weekly earnings have jumped 12%, according to figures released today … All areas within the education sector rose by around 10%, except for third level where average earnings rose by 17.9% from €928.81 to €1,095.36 per week …” (more)

[Patrick Logue, Irish Times, 29 June]