Archive for 1 October 2009

Greens want education cuts revoked, reduction in TD numbers

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… The party wants a restoration of a pupil-teacher ratio of one-to-27 in primary schools, the maintenance of capitation grants to primary and secondary schools at September 2008 levels and the reinstatement of library and book grants to levels that operated a year ago. The Greens also want the system for third-level education maintained, with a commitment not to introduce third-level fees or loans or increase registration fees …” (more)

[Stephen Collins, Irish Times, 1 October]

Motherhood After Tenure: Time and Ambitions

Posted in Life with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

USA“This week I’m teaching Frankenstein in a lower-level women’s literature course. Among the host of meaty issues, we discuss the ways that Mary Shelley’s novel critiques the male scientist’s obsessive and isolating pursuit of knowledge at the expense of family/romantic/community ties. At the novel’s end, Victor Frankenstein counsels the explorer, Captain Walton, to ‘seek happiness in tranquility, and avoid ambition’. I was musing on this as I read Liz Stockwell’s excellent post yesterday in which she discussed the contrast between the obsessiveness of an absent-minded researcher and the time management skills of a successful multi-tasker …” (more)

[Aeron Haynie, Inside Higher Ed, 30 September]

Joyce estate settles copyright dispute with US academic

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The James Joyce Estate has agreed to pay $240,000 (€164,000) in legal costs incurred by an American academic following a long-running copyright dispute between the two sides. The settlement brings to an end a legal saga that pre-dates the publication in 2003 of a controversial biography of Joyce’s daughter, Lucia, written by Stanford University academic Carol Shloss …” (more)

[Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, Irish Times, 1 October]

Lecturers receive bar-code scanners to take register

Posted in teaching with tags on 1 October 2009 by Steve

UK“A lecturer has accused the University of Derby of turning academics into administrators by asking them to check in students with hand-held scanners to monitor attendance. Academics say that scanning bar codes on students’ ID cards, uploading the data and reporting absences will take at least ten minutes each lecture …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 1 October]

A bar too far? Drunkenness off duty won’t do

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

UK“It may not constitute a grave threat to academic freedom, but the freedom of academics to get drunk in their own time is being curtailed at Cardiff University. A new policy that warns against drunken behaviour out of hours has led to complaints that managers are trying to impose a teetotal lifestyle on staff. Cardiff’s policy on the use of alcohol and drugs says: ‘Individuals are reminded that they should not behave outside work in a way that might bring the university into disrepute and bring into question suitability for the particular role held’ …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 1 October]

David Irving address in NUIG cancelled due to ‘security concerns’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The proposed visit of the controversial historian David Irving to the NUI, Galway Literary & Debating Society has been cancelled. In a statement the Lit & Deb said the cancellation was ‘due to security concerns and restrictions imposed by the university authorities’. For the past number of months, the Lit & Deb has been liaising with Mr Irving, who is highly controversial over his views on the Third Reich and the Holocaust …” (more)

[Kernan Andrews, Galway Advertiser, 1 October]

Academy strikes back: the fight for ‘useless’ knowledge starts here

Posted in Life with tags on 1 October 2009 by Steve

UK“When I spoke recently on a panel organised for the new group of American Fulbright Scholars, I warned them not to mention their official title in public. In the UK, being a scholar is considered ‘a bit dodgy’; expect to be derided as outmoded, aloof, irrelevant. Politicians belittle bumbling boffins and self-indulgent bluestockings ensconced in libraries, surrounded by dusty books on the Ming dynasty or trilobites: what a waste of public money. Forget being a ‘curiosity-driven’ scholar; become a thoroughly modern ‘impact’ researcher, contributing to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation. Was I caricaturing British academic life? …” (more)

[Claire Fox, Times Higher Education, 1 October]

First classes

Posted in teaching with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“I dare say you’re wondering about the first classes I had in Ireland. To be quite honest with you, the first class on Monday proved to be a huge disappointment. ‘Approaches to historical research’ turned out to be a class comparable to ‘Introduction to historical science’ we had in our very first year at university. They are basically dedicating an hour a week to the several types of sources one could possibly need to write a dissertation. Hmm, I must say, I was NOT aware of the fact that Irish undergrads never handle primary sources while doing research :s …” (more)

[A Trinity Tale, 30 September]

Because we’re worth it

Posted in research with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

UK“As director of the National Fairground Archive at the University of Sheffield library, my day-to-day job involves building up the collections, researching and highlighting the archive’s holdings to the academic and public communities that it serves. So far, so uncontroversial. But another responsibility – income generation – is seen by many of my colleagues in the wider archival community as problematic …” (more)

[Vanessa Toulmin, Times Higher Education, 1 October]

Projecting the sweet smell of research

Posted in research with tags , , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A €7.2m research centre that opens today at NUI Galway will study how sugars control what goes on inside our cells. Ireland could become a global ‘centre of excellence’ for research into glycosciences, also known as the ‘sugar code’, according to the leader of a new international cluster spearheaded by NUI Galway (NUIG). The cluster, co-ordinated by Prof Lokesh Joshi of NUIG, is offering 17 research posts as part of a €7.2 million programme backed by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 1 October]

V-C calls for united front to fend off funding axe

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 1 October 2009 by Steve

UK“Universities have been accused of acting like ‘turkeys fighting over who will get it at Christmas’ when they should be putting up a united front against funding cuts. Addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton this week, Malcolm McVicar, vice-chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said the sector was ‘divided internally’. He said: ‘It weakens itself by competition from within. The last thing universities should be saying is “leave us alone and hit those other buggers” …'” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 1 October]