Archive for 4 October 2009

Students now hiring solicitors to fight charges of plagiarism

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Students facing disciplinary hearings on suspicion of plagiarism have started to hire solicitors to avoid being thrown out of college, a leading academic has said. According to Michael Laffan, associate professor of history in UCD, students who are caught writing essays with information gleaned from websites such as Wikipedia are increasingly arming themselves with legal experts which often results in college authorities letting them off …” (more)

[Jennifer Bray, Sunday Tribune, 4 October]

Blogmeister’s comment: I hope that none of the students referred to are identifiable from the article, otherwise Michael Laffan may soon be on the sharp end of some defamation claims as well … Seriously, I find it hard to believe that UCD don’t take proper legal advice (whether in-house or out-sourced) in such serious cases. They really shouldn’t complain when the students do likewise.

University of Limerick receives €6.7m in donations

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 4 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Even in times of hardship people’s generosity towards the University of Limerick seems to know no bounds. The latest figures submitted to the Companies Registration Office reveal that the University of Limerick Foundation, which promotes continued education and research at the university, received gifts and donations amounting to €6.7million last year. But in an even more challenging financial year, a spokesperson for the Foundation said they expect to achieve an even greater donor income, in the region of €8million, this year …” (more)

[Anne Sheridan, Limerick Leader, 3 October]


Posted in research with tags , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Tyler Cowen started an interesting discussion on the potential utility of Twitter. I am sceptical enough about its utility for people involved in academic research, but I am going to give it a try again particularly following Cowen’s eloquent defence …” (more)

[Liam Delaney, Geary Behavioural Economics Blog, 4 October]

Save California’s universities

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

USA“It may seem that the thousands of people who converged on the University of California Berkeley’s famous Sproul Plaza, home of the free speech movement, on 24 September were simply upset about money. Where has all the money gone? Who has taken it away? And perhaps there is no one to blame. The University of California finds itself with a shortfall of $1.15bn for the next two years, the result of an $813m cut in state funding and another $225m increase in costs for student enrolment …” (more)

[Judith Butler, Guardian, 4 October]

Alert to policy-makers over university rankings

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 4 October 2009 by Steve

USA“A warning by the influential Washington think-tank, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, that university rankings should be viewed with caution by decision-makers received little media attention in the US. Perhaps because the IHEP Issue Brief The Role and Relevance of Rankings in Higher Education Policymaking appears to state the obvious – policy-makers are not likely to be so rash as to act solely on rankings whose limitations are frequently acknowledged even by the people who compile them – only the online InsideHigherEd carried the briefest of stories …” (more)

[David Jobbins, University World News, 4 October]

Brussels guessing game over science adviser

Posted in research with tags , , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

EU“One of the first major appointments by the newly re-appointed President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, will be that of a chief scientific adviser – a post that has not existed before. The adviser and his or her office will form part of a major review of the way scientific advice is developed and communicated to the Commission, but it is not yet clear what authority the new post will carry or who candidates for the job might be. Barroso announced he would make the appointment during last month’s hearings at the European Parliament, into his bid for a second five-year term as president. Although the Commission is increasingly active in the scientific research field, it lacks a single authority able to deliver proactive expert advice throughout the EU decision-taking process …” (more)

[Alan Osborn, University World News, 4 October]

In search of the next Stephen Hawking

Posted in research with tags , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

UK“Without fanfare or ceremony, the most celebrated scientist in the country, Stephen Hawking, quietly stepped down this week from the most prestigious post in British physics. Hawking’s successor as Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University will be decided by committee this month, but as he moves on, leading physicists warn that Britain risks losing the next generation of great minds. Government pressure on universities is diverting researchers away from purely intellectual problems and on to sure-fire money-making projects, physicists say …” (more)

[Ian Sample, Guardian, 2 October]

NY universities fail to harness research for jobs

Posted in research with tags , , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

USA“New York’s universities and hospitals excel at winning federal grants but flunk at turning their research into job-creating start-ups, a new report found on Monday. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson have launched initiatives to match the high-tech research corridors developed by other states and cities, from Boston to California’s Silicon Valley. But New York’s institutions have focused on working with companies located elsewhere, the study said …” (more)

[Joan Gralla, Reuters, 28 September]

Merkel government faces tough HE decisions

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 4 October 2009 by Steve

Germany“Following elections on 27 September, Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats (CDU) remains Chancellor of Germany. She can now form a new coalition with the Free Democrats (FDP). Whether Annette Schavan will remain Education Minister or junior partners FDP will provide a new education head is uncertain. But with both parties eager to cut taxes, any minister will struggle to find money to fund an expansion of higher education …” (more)

[Michael Gardner, University World News, 4 October]

In defence of university teachers

Posted in teaching with tags , on 4 October 2009 by Steve

Canada“In autumn, a professor’s fancies turn to thoughts of teaching. Well into my fourth decade of teaching, I still never sleep the night before my first class. To hear some critics tell it, professors don’t do much, and what they do accomplish is short on what matters (teaching) and long on what doesn’t (research). I’ll ignore their suggestions that professors are lazy. That’s, like, so 1973 (the year I started teaching). Today, the indolent are an endangered species. A great deal of my work is teaching. Universities take teaching not less but more seriously than they did a generation ago …” (more)

[Clifford Orwin, University World News, 4 October]