Archive for 6 June 2009

Mandelson takes charge of universities

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 6 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The prime minister today scrapped the two-year-old Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and awarded all of its responsibilities to a new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills designed to help the UK out of recession. The new department, which will be headed by Lord Mandelson, puts universities at the heart of the government’s business policies, and will be opposed by some academics who believe higher education should be in a department dedicated to education and not commerce …” (more)

[Polly Curtis, Guardian, 5 June]

Govt’s silence on their plan to reintroduce third level fees is deafening in run up to election

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 6 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil and Green Ministers, TDs and election candidates have been careful to avoid the issue of how and when they intend to reintroduce third level fees during this election campaign. Their silence on the subject of their plan to reintroduce third level fees has been deafening. In the absence of any details from the Government we still don’t know how the system will work, when it will be introduced and who will have to pay the fees …” (more)

[Deirdre Clune TD, 5 June]

The New Student Excuse?

Posted in teaching with tags , on 6 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Most of us have had the experience of receiving e-mail with an attachment, trying to open the attachment, and finding a corrupted file that won’t open. That concept is at the root of a new Web site advertising itself (perhaps serious only in part) as the new way for students to get extra time to finish their assignments. offers a service – recently noted by several academic bloggers who have expressed concern – that sells students (for only $3.95, soon to go up to $5.95) intentionally corrupted files. Why buy a corrupted file? Here’s what the site says: ‘Step 1: After purchasing a file, rename the file e.g. Mike_Final-Paper. Step 2: E-mail the file to your professor along with your ‘here’s my assignment’ e-mail. Step 3: It will take your professor several hours if not days to notice your file is ‘unfortunately’ corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!!!’ …” (more)

[Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 5 June]

In praise of eccentrics

Posted in Life with tags , on 6 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… I remember one evening attending the main College dinner (’Commons’) and hearing one senior Fellow bemoan the fact that ‘these days, we no longer have any eccentrics.’ As the Fellow in question was considered by most to be a distinguished eccentric in his own right, and as the person he was saying this to was an even more notorious one, I could not in my mind agree that academic eccentricity was at risk …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 6 June]