Archive for 25 June 2009

‘Myth’ of ivory tower under siege as survey shows industry links are strong

Posted in research with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The notion of the ivory tower is under threat as academics embrace links with industry as a central tenet of their profession – and not just in the hard sciences. The largest survey of academic engagement with business has found that knowledge exchange is now a major part of university life, with the social sciences having as strong a link with business as physics …” (more)

[Hannah Fearn, Times Higher Education, 25 June]

Blogging Presidents

Posted in Life with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A few weeks ago the Irish Times ran an article on this blog, and since then a number of people have written to me or spoken with me about it, in particular with these two questions: (i) has it been a good idea? – and (ii) how long can I keep doing this? The answer to the first question is, on balance, yes …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 June]

Outside looking in

Posted in teaching with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

UK“It is ‘a sham’, a system that is ‘too often abused’; it is ‘obsolete’ and serves only as ‘a fig leaf’: critics of the UK’s external examiner system have not minced their words. Last summer, when a series of allegations about declining standards in higher education hit the headlines, the spotlight turned on the singular role of the external examiner – a post that is ubiquitous in British universities but is found in few other countries …” (more)

[Rebecca Attwood, Times Higher Education, 25 June]

Report smacks of elitism but raises questions

Posted in teaching with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“‘Keep the underqualified out’ is the subtext of the very controversial proposal to restrict entry to university science courses to the top 20pc of Leaving Cert students. It smacks of elitism and the fact that it comes from the Royal Irish Academy – described on its website as “principal learned society in Ireland” – will confirm that view. But its discussion document raises very disturbing questions and challenges …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 24 June]

Well, what did you expect?

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The usual crabbiness of British higher education has moved up a notch. First, we have reports of an increase in student complaints making it to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, then we have Frank Furedi complaining about all this complaining, followed by aggrieved correspondents writing to Times Higher Education to complain about Furedi complaining about all this complaining. The great thing about this escalation is that all the parties can avoid taking seriously all the boring questions about what higher education is supposed to be achieving, for whom, on what terms and with what resources …” (more)

[Alan Ryan, Times Higher Education, 25 June]

Protests at university over languages cull

Posted in teaching with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The University of the West of England (UWE) will be hit by a demonstration on Wednesday 24 June as staff, students and external examiners protest outside an exam board meeting over cuts to language courses. The protestors, led by UCU, will be outside the Bolland Library on the Frenchay campus at 1pm. The university has announced that it has ceased recruitment to all specialist language degrees with immediate effect. The decision means that students who have already accepted unconditional offers for 2009 will no longer be able to follow their chosen course at UWE …” (more)

[UCU, 23 June]

Schools to rethink ‘i before e’

Posted in teaching with tags , on 25 June 2009 by Steve

UK“The spelling mantra ‘i before e except after c’ is no longer worth teaching, according to the government. Advice sent to teachers says there are too few words which follow the rule and recommends using more modern methods to teach spelling to schoolchildren. The document, entitled Support for Spelling, is being distributed to more than 13,000 primary schools …” (more)

[BBC News, 20 June]