Archive for 11 June 2009

Threat of closure for university language departments

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 11 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Two more universities look set to close their languages departments just a week after a damning report highlighted the risks of language decline to British research and the economy. The University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol has already scrapped undergraduate recruitment to some language degrees and is now considering closing its department of languages, linguistics and area studies … Queen’s University Belfast is also looking to close its German department, despite investment in 2006, because student numbers are too low …” (more)

[Anthea Lipsett, Guardian, 11 June]

A very peculiar practice

Posted in research with tags on 11 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Such is the pressure to write that academics have no time to read the flood of published work. Academic publishing has always had its own economy and culture, but sector expansion and the intensified push for print have combined to make it a distinctly odd affair. In most subjects, it is a heavily producer-driven activity, generated more by writerly imperatives than by readerly requirements, even allowing for the idea of the communal pursuit of knowledge …” (more)

[John Corner, Times Higher Education, 11 June]

O’Malley hands over PD archive to UCD

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 11 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Former PD leader Des O’Malley described UCD’s Newman House on St Stephen’s Green as ‘a splendid place to have for a wake’, at the formal handing over the party archive to the university. Mr O’Malley said that while archives were important they did not tell the whole story and he told the academics present that they should not forget the oral tradition. ‘Cabinet papers are minimal and now with the Freedom of Information Act they are going to be less than minimal; they will be non-existent,’ he said …” (more)

[Stephen Collins, Irish Times, 11 June]

The Impending Demise of the University

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 11 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Last week I wrote a substantial essay for the Edge arguing that the universities are entering a period of crisis. I argued that is a widening gap between the model of learning offered by many big universities and the natural way that young people who have grown up digital best learn. The reaction on Twitter, mainly from students has been enormously positive. So far two academics have written critiques of my views at the Edge …” (more)

[Don Tapscott, Huffington Post, 11 June]

The Ministerial Portfolio: How the Comeback King triumphed

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 11 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Lord Mandelson will be representing universities in the Cabinet as the Government prepares to launch its review of top-up fees – but amid speculation that he is now Gordon Brown’s deputy in all but name, higher education may not be his first priority. The ‘comeback king’ of British politics, who has resigned twice from Cabinet posts, was awarded the titles of First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council in last week’s reshuffle, a much-expanded role. Nicknamed ‘The Prince of Darkness’ by satirical magazine Private Eye, he is one of seven unelected peers who are entitled to attend Cabinet …” (more)

[Rebecca Attwood, Times Higher Education, 11 June]

‘At my university “marriage” is just part of taking care of students’

Posted in Life with tags on 11 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Officially, ‘college marriage’ is just another part of my university’s pastoral system. Every fresher is assigned one or more ‘siblings’ and two ‘parents’ from the year above – one studying arts and one studying science. Your parents greet you when you arrive on your first day. They’re the ones who show you how to use the library, and how to avoid locking yourself out of your room wearing only a towel. I’m not sure if it’s an official part of university procedure, but it’s such an institution it might as well be …” (more)

[David Scripps, Independent, 11 June]