Archive for 16 June 2009

Pension assets of universities, semi-State bodies transferred to reserve fund

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 16 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The transfer of pension assets from 14 universities and semi-State bodies to the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) will offset the State’s annual contribution of €1.5 billion to the fund, according to a Government Bill. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan can take the transfer of the assets as ‘satisfaction or part-satisfaction’ of the State contribution to the NPRF in the current year, says the Financial Measures (Miscellaneous Provisions) 2009 Bill published last week …” (more)

[Simon Carswell, Irish Times, 16 June]

How do examiners mark exams?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 16 June 2009 by Steve

UK“I wouldn’t want to claim that exams are as bad for the markers as they are for the sitters. But the Cambridge Tripos is still a big investment of time and hard work for the dons. It’s not just that you have to read each paper carefully (and I have spent more or less the whole of the last week on this, more than 12 hours a day). You have also to decide what principle of marking to adopt …” (more)

[Mary Beard, A don’s life, 15 June]

Choosing what to study

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Dr Sean Barrett (of the TCD Economics Department) also argued that students should not be constrained in their choice of subject; we should, he said, ‘let people do what they actually want to study.’ So if they all end up taking programmes in the arts and humanities, and nobody does science, then that’s fine. Restricting them in their choice is the same, he suggested, as an airline telling would-be passengers that they can’t fly to London, they must fly to Leeds-Bradford instead. The latter comparison is a good one, and helps to highlight the unreal nature of Sean Barrett’s point …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 15 June]

Education and business hand in hand

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Last week, the government created the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which will have responsibility for higher and further education policy. Nobody would disagree that our universities and colleges are as much about the cultural bedrock of our society as the competitiveness of the economy. So why bring them into a department whose core remit is Britain’s economic development? The simple answer is that the mission of the new department is to build Britain’s resources of skill, knowledge and creativity. These things drive our competitiveness directly, but also indirectly by reinforcing our cultural awareness, confidence and sense of our past and future …” (more)

[Peter Mandelson, Guardian, 16 June]

Study Finds Drinking by College Students on the Rise

Posted in Life with tags , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Despite university campaigns to discourage alcohol abuse, a new study shows that drinking-related activities among college students have increased over the last decade. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which used figures from government databases and national surveys, the number of alcohol-related deaths among 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005. Binge drinking, more formally titled ‘episodic drinking’, saw a 3-percent increase in the same time frame …” (more)

[Ashley C Killough, Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 June]

Student Coalition Forms to Back Open Access

Posted in research with tags , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Several student groups have issued a statement to jointly back the open access movement in which scholarly research is shared online and free. Some journals and researchers are moving to this model on their own, and others have been forced to do so by federal requirements. Some in Congress, with backing from publishers, are trying to end those requirements. The student statement argues for open access as the best way to share knowledge. ‘Scholarly knowledge is part of the common wealth of humanity,’ says the statement. ‘Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the scholarly literature, despite advances in communications technology …’” (more)

[Inside Higher Ed, 15 June]

Colleges join forces to help business start-ups

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and UCD have formed a new partnership with a group of Silicon Valley-based technology experts in a bid to boost the number of ‘spin-out’ companies from the two universities. This will be achieved through a combination of mentoring and venture capital investment. The partnership between the Innovation Alliance – a joint TCD/UCD research initiative – and the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ILTG) aims to create a Silicon Valley-like environment that will facilitate not just the commercialisation of research, but the creation of technology companies and jobs …” (more)

[Caroline Madden, Irish Times, 16 June]

Protests over raid at university

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

UK“Students in London are occupying a university building in protest against a raid by immigration authorities in which cleaners were detained. Students at the School of Oriental and African Studies have been angered by the raid and subsequent deportations. Five of the cleaners caught in the raid on Friday have already been removed from the UK, with three remaining in custody …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 15 June]