Archive for September, 2009

Academic Workloads

Posted in Life with tags on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“I’ve been watching a debate hot up on the THE website in response to an article about academic workloads. The research for the article suggests that academics’ working hours (in the UK, where the study was done) have remained fairly stable over the past few decades, averaging about 55 hours per week. What has changed is the proportion of administrative duties that academics undertake (up now to just over 30% of their workload) …” (more)

[Summa cum laude, 30 September]


Funding for research announced

Posted in research with tags , , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Funding of almost €1 million to attract world-class researchers to Ireland was today announced by Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan. Launching the 2008 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Annual Report, Mr Lenihan said the funding would be used to attract researchers through SFI’s Walton Visitor Programme. By directly supporting 2,812 researchers and collaborating with over 300 companies, SFI is playing a key role in the Irish economy and in the Government’s strategy to build a Smart Economy, Mr Lenihan said …” (more)

[Irish Times, 30 September]

Why academic tenure is in the national interest

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Consider the following scenario – a gifted Irish undergraduate becomes inspired by a subject like vascular biology and its potential in alleviating human suffering. He asks for an appointment to see the professor who most interested him in the subject and expresses interest in doing graduate work. The professor welcomes the proposal, but explains that he, the professor, can be summarily dismissed at any moment without cause. In fact, there is no way he can guarantee that he will be in office in 5 minutes …” (more)

[Seán Ó Nualláin, University Blog on Academic Tenure in Ireland, 30 September]

Student-Advisor Matching and Early Career Publishing Success for Economics PhDs

Posted in teaching with tags on 30 September 2009 by Steve

USA“Abstract: We examine a unique data set containing information on a PhD recipient’s dissertation advisor, graduate program, and early career publishing success. Regressions controlling for the ranking of both the student’s graduate program and dissertation advisor confirm that, all else equal, students working with prominent advisors are significantly more likely to publish in their early careers, especially in top 36 journals, than students working with less prominent advisors …” (more)

[Martin Ryan, Geary Behavioural Economics Blog, 30 September]

800 construction jobs for NUIG

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“NUIG is to create 800 construction jobs in the coming months, as part of a €100 million expansion to the university, which will see the construction of three new buildings. An Taoiseach Brian Cowen successfully performed the sod turning ceremony on the first of the three buildings, the €40 million state-of-the-art engineering building, on his visit to the city last Friday. The building, which will be the largest of its type in Ireland on completion, is being built on the North Campus of the Corrib-side university. As well as the Engineering building, the university is constructing two research buildings at a cost of €25 million each …” (more)

[Colin Bartley, Galway Independent, 30 September]

Forward Into the Cloud

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

USA“While a number of colleges and universities devote resources to keep campus e-mail grounded on their own servers, they are finding it difficult to coax students out of the cloud. Students are increasingly arriving at college already managing multiple e-mail addresses with ‘cloud’-based e-mail services – such as Gmail and Hotmail – which are hosted remotely by third-party companies. These students are often reluctant to use the e-mail client provided to them by their institution. ‘We did a survey several years ago, and the overwhelming majority of incoming students said they had between three and four e-mail accounts’, said Beth Ann Bergsmark, director for academic information technology services at Georgetown University …” (more)

[Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, 30 September]

Curbing College Gambling

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

USA“… Several studies cited in the report suggest that between 3 and 11 percent of American college students have serious problems with gambling that could result in academic, financial or mental health problems. A 2003 study found that 42 percent of college students had gambled during the previous year. The report calls on colleges and universities to create campus-wide committees to formulate and oversee gambling policies, restricting on-campus gambling and making sure campus policies are in line with local, state and federal gambling laws. It suggests that institutions regard gambling as a mental health disorder and adopt accommodations for students recovering from gambling problems. In all, there are 10 recommendations aimed at reframing how institutions tackle gambling issues …” (more)

[Jennifer Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, 30 September]

Hiring Outside the Academy

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

USA“… It was at this point that I thought that perhaps in some areas the pools could be expanded by broadening the experience requirement to include work outside higher education. Search committees were at first nervous about this. How, for instance, do you assess the credentials of a candidate with little or no higher education experience compared to those with it, even, or especially when the former has more experience in the area of responsibility itself? What we found was that by encouraging non-traditional candidates to apply in operational areas such as finance, human resources, technology, government and public relations and even advancement, we started getting applications from creative people who otherwise wouldn’t have been interested, or if interested, would have had no way to engage us …” (more)

[Charles R Middleton, Inside Higher Ed, 30 September]

IFUT releases policy document on Government’s employment policy for Higher Education

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“IFUT has released an important policy document on the Government’s employment policy for Higher Education. The main points of the IFUT policy are: The Government’s Employment Policy for the Higher Education Sector is Illegal; The Government’s Policy is Politically Stupid …” (more)

[IFUT Blog, 4 September]

The cuts, the cuts – cleaning up

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“So what’s in store for us next? Well, a report in Times Higher Education tells us that staff in Sheffield University are now having to clean their offices themselves; or rather, the normal cleaning service now happens only every two to three weeks. The whole issue was made public by the British academics’ trade union, the University and College Union. The actual circular was also published by Sheffield University on its website. It appears that the university is seeking to make savings on cleaning services and is encouraging staff to assist in various ways, including emptying their own bins …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 29 September]

Shortsighted approach to education spending

Posted in research with tags , , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Craig Barrett of Intel deserves credit for highlighting the fact that investment in research and education gives a very good return for the resources involved and is more important than investment in banks. Yet we have Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe, his government colleagues and indeed many politicians of the main opposition parties who want to restrict access to education by charging fees and cutting expenditure on research …” (more)

[Anthony Leavy, Irish Examiner, 30 September]

Law scholars object to minister’s ‘selfish’ charge

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

Scotland“A claim made by Kenny MacAskill, Scotland’s Justice Secretary, that law schools north of the border are putting their interests above those of their students has been dismissed as ‘ill-informed’ by Scottish academics. Minutes from a meeting between Mr MacAskill and the Law Society of Scotland, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that just one in four law graduates in the country find a job in the profession …” (more)

[Hannah Fearn, Times Higher Education, 30 September]

Table of table of tables

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 30 September 2009 by Steve

UK“A composite university league table derived from the four domestic league tables has been prepared by THE …” (more)

[Registrarism, 29 September]

SIPTU vote in favour of strike action

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“UCD’s branch of SIPTU has voted in favour of industrial strike action in the row over compulsory redundancies. The ballot, which was passed by a margin of 88 per cent to 12 per cent, is in protest against UCD’s proposal to introduce compulsory redundancies for staff in the university. Scheduling of the strike action is yet to be finalised and Senior Lecturer in the UCD School of Sociology and President of SIPTU’s Education division, Dr Kieran Allen, said the timing of such action ‘depends on management’. Dr Allen stated that the action is a result of ‘a threat from management to change a statute without consulting us’ …” (more)

[Bridget Fitzsimons, University Observer, 29 September]

Protest? Yes, of course! Censor? No, absolutely not!!

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , , , , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Free Education for Everyone (FEE) is a grassroots group of students and staff in various third level institutions which has been set up to fight the re-introduction of fees while campaigning for genuinely free education for all. According to their About Us page: ‘FEE activists have organised protests, occupations and blockades across the country over the past number of months.’ For example, in February of this year, their protests against former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern’s arrival at NUI Galway led to the cancellation of a public interview with him – and I thoroughly disapproved of this at the time …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 29 September]

Keeping it Fresh

Posted in Life with tags , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Record levels of society membership don’t tell the whole story of declining student participation in extra-curricular activity. Balancing the need for a healthy social life with a reasonable academic effort in a college environment is never easy. A vibrant social atmosphere and a tough academic workload never make easy bedfellows. Since beginning the arduous process of semesterisation and modularisation in 2005, UCD has seen this particular marriage hit rocky times, as the academic duties of a conveyor belt of exams and continuous assessment impact on the free time students find on their hands, and their ability to engage in extra-curricular activities …” (more)

[Gavan Reilly, University Observer, 29 September]

Students put in motorway services

Posted in Life with tags , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

UK“Hundreds of new students at a Leicestershire university have been put in hotels due to a room shortage. About 300 people have been put in non-university buildings including budget hotels at a service station on the M1. Families of the affected students complained the situation was both inconvenient and insecure …” (more)

[BBC News, 29 September]

UCD students plan Bertie Blockade

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Student campaign group, Free Education for Everyone (FEE) is planning to planning to stage a blockade of Bertie Ahern’s appearance at a debate on the Lisbon Treaty, tonight at 7pm in UCD’s O’Reilly Hall. Following a blockade of Brian Lenihan by the group last September, Martin Mansergh, Mary Hannafin and Conor Lenihan were forced to pull out of other scheduled appearances at the college …” (more)

[FEE, 29 September]

Stanford Scholar Wins Settlement From Joyce Estate

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

USA“In a key win for literary scholars who work with the estates of authors, the estate of James Joyce has agreed to give $240,000 in legal fees to Carol Shloss, who in a 2007 settlement, ending years of litigation, won the right to use certain materials in her biography of Joyce’s daughter. Schloss was assisted in her legal fight by the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society’s Fair Use Project …” (more)

[Inside Higher Ed, 29 September]

EU student exchange programme outdated, says founder

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 29 September 2009 by Steve

EU“The EU needs to upgrade its 22-year old student exchange programme and move towards more cutting-edge educational policies, one of its founders told this website. Established in the late 1980s, the Erasmus programme has seen some 2 million students spend a semester in another European country and get their studies recognised back home. The European Commission proposal initially met resistance in France, Germany and the UK, who were unwilling to spend money on a community-funded student exchange programme in parallel to their existing national schemes …” (more)

[Valentina Pop, EU Observer, 15 September]