Archive for 12 June 2009

Queen’s University ‘axing 150 academic staff’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 12 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Queen’s University in Belfast is planning to make 150 academic staff redundant. The BBC has claimed that the university has blamed a funding shortage and the poor performance of some of its staff for the cutbacks. The university has told staff it needs to make cutbacks because it expects Government funding to be reduced. However, the Department of Employment and Learning said funding for this financial year has been increased …” (more)

[Belfast Telegraph, 12 June]

Two New ‘Two Cultures’ in the Academy

Posted in Life with tags on 12 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Faced with the complexities of academic life today, it is easy to look back at CP Snow’s fifty-year-old ‘two cultures’ distinction between the arts and the sciences with a certain nostalgia. Back in Snow’s day, the difference was simply a matter of intellectual orientation that was readily traceable to the rise of specialist training on both sides of the divide. In contrast, nowadays academia is divided in ways that do not so neatly cut across disciplinary boundaries. Put bluntly, people are motivated quite differently to move in and around the precincts of higher education. And often these motives work at cross-purposes, resulting in a crisis of identity for the university. I want to highlight two current ‘two culture’ divides that are easily spotted in and around the university …” (more)

[Making the university safe for intellectual life in the 21st century, 10 June]

Ending the headwear discrimination

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 12 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“In a recent post I pointed out that Irish universities maintain a curious discrimination at graduation ceremonies, compelling female graduands to wear mortar boards while men are not required, or even allowed, to do so. Well, I am happy to report that on Thursday of this week DCU’s Academic Council has put an end to this practice, and from now on the wearing of mortar boards will be optional for all graduands, male and female …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 12 June]

Business Deans Say Co-Authorships Are Often Undeserved

Posted in research with tags on 12 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Eighty percent of the business deans who responded to a recent survey said that co-authors are sometimes ‘carried’ by a colleague on a published journal article, and most felt that faculty rewards are sometimes based on an undeserved publication record …” (more)

[Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, 11 June]

College research needs business input early – ISA

Posted in research with tags , on 12 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“University-based research needs to involve commercial input from a much earlier point in the process, Irish Software Association (ISA) chairman Seán Baker told a meeting of researchers and software executives this week. He also warned academic researchers that overvaluing intellectual property inhibited commercialisation. Dr Baker, a co-founder of Iona Technologies, called for closer collaboration between universities and industry, stressing the need to focus on commercially viable projects rather than ‘curiosity-based’ research …” (more)

[Ian Campbell, Irish Times, 12 June]

One book clubs together the ‘two cultures’

Posted in teaching with tags on 12 June 2009 by Steve

Scotland“They have taken place in pubs, living rooms and church halls, but now book groups are moving into a Scottish university’s halls of residence. Every new student enrolling at the University of St Andrews this autumn will be sent a novel during the summer and will be encouraged to discuss it with other freshers when they arrive on campus in September. The university is distributing Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a Man Booker-shortlisted work, to all 1,500 new undergraduates in an initiative to give students a common discussion topic and to focus their energies on broad intellectual debate rather than narrow academic study …” (more)

[Hannah Fearn, Times Higher Education, 11 June]