Archive for 5 June 2009

Protecting Academic Freedom – UNESCO

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 5 June 2009 by Steve

International“The June 2009 edition of the British Journal of Education Studies (BJES) focuses specifically on academic freedom, and to mark the publication of this special edition of the journal, the Society for Educational Studies hosted a special seminar on ‘Understanding Academic Freedom’ at the Rothermere American Institute, at the University of Oxford on 20th May, at which the contributors to the special edition, addressed the question ‘How is academic freedom understood in the 21st Century?’ …” (more)

[Watchdog on Higher Education in Ireland, 4 June]

Bologna: an excuse not to be competitive?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 5 June 2009 by Steve

Spain“… On this topic, are we not still talking about Bologna because we are scared to be associated with the L word, Lisbon? After all Bologna forms part of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, no matter how much bad press the latter has acquired. Similar to other parts of this strategy, it is a case of ‘too little, too late’. We Europeans should have invested twice as much in our higher-education system in order to retain our position on (or even near) the front line. It is almost as if we have decided not to compete with the US and Asia. Lisbon tells us we should invest in research and this is indeed important, but as universities we should not allow ourselves to be bullied by companies and the media demeaning quality research because it can’t be easily digested …” (more)

[Bernard Ramanantsoa and Carlos Losada, Educaweb, 6 June]

A bonus for higher level maths

Posted in teaching with tags on 5 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – Students taking higher level mathematics in the Leaving Certificate should be awarded bonus points for their efforts simply because mathematics is the most important subject in terms of accuracy. Maths is essential in teaching students how to work down through a process without making a single mistake …” (more)

[Diarmuid O’Brien, Irish Times, 5 June]

10 University-Press Directors Back Free Access to Scholarly Articles

Posted in research with tags on 5 June 2009 by Steve

USA“In a move that puts them at odds with the official stance of the Association of American University Presses, a group of university-press directors yesterday issued a position statement that endorses ‘the free access to scientific, technical, and medical journal articles no later than 12 months after publication’. The statement was signed by the directors of a group of small and medium-size presses, including Penn State University, Rockefeller University Press, the University of Michigan Press, and the University Press of New England …” (more)

[Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4 June]

Denham questions quality of teaching at universities with high drop-out rates

Posted in teaching with tags , on 5 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The universities secretary, John Denham, has triggered a huge row today by claiming that the ‘quality of teaching and the student experience’ is behind the low participation rates at some universities. Denham’s comments came in a letter to the funding council HEFCE asking it to looking into new figures which today show that, on some measures, widening participation is going into decline, and there is a creeping increase in drop-outs. His concern is that there is too wide a variation between the performance of different universities and he wants the Quality and Assurance Agency (QAA) to look into it …” (more)

[Polly Curtis, Mortarboard, 4 June]

Laptop fever

Posted in Life with tags , on 5 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Recently a student came to my office with a request. As he sat down he opened his briefcase and took out a small laptop, placed it on the table and booted it up. And as he asked his question and listened to my answer, he was typing away energetically on the keyboard. I don’t know what he was writing: maybe he was taking down what I was saying, maybe he was composing his latest entry on Twitter, maybe he was playing Sudoku – who knows? I was quite intrigued, but said nothing …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 5 June]

Students’ campaigns take some ugly turns

Posted in teaching with tags , on 5 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Lecturers are facing a wave of student activism over teaching quality, which academic leaders have likened to ‘bullying’. Student campaigners at the University of Central Lancashire have posted examples of bad feedback online. At the University of Bolton, students have left anonymous cards in staff pigeonholes, giving them marks out of ten for performance. And at Manchester Metropolitan University, students are texting its students’ union to inform it when classes are cancelled or lecturers are late. The University and College Union is unhappy about the campaigns, and it has likened the scorecards at Bolton to ‘hate mail’ …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 4 June]

Being a humble servant to business will be a disaster for everyone

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 5 June 2009 by Steve

UK“By insisting our universities’ sole role is to fire the economy, we have lost sight of their more civilising purpose. For some time now, the fundamental aims of a university education have been in jeopardy; and, in this time of financial crisis, the betrayal of those aims needs to be addressed. The threat comes from a Government that closed the Department for Education, and from a supine Higher Education Funding Council for England and Universities UK, who see their role as managing government priorities rather than representing, within those priorities, the realities of education. Behind all this lies the mantra that universities are a form of ‘business’. That way disaster lies …” (more)

[Thomas Docherty, Times Higher Education, 4 June]

Symposium Countdown

Posted in teaching with tags on 5 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Yes, it is hard to believe, but the 7th Galway Symposium on Higher Education is almost upon us. In just one week’s time we will be immersed in debate and discussion around the themes of ‘Curriculum and Assessment in Higher Education’. For those of you who just can’t wait to see what’s in store, click here for the full symposium programme …” (more)

[Summa cum laude, 4 June]