Archive for 13 October 2009

Plan to weed out weaker science students sparks outrage

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A proposal to restrict the number of university science places because some students aren’t good enough for the subject has been roundly condemned. The idea, put forward by the prestigious Royal Irish Academy (RIA), suggests too many poorly prepared students are driving down university standards. The RIA also blames the situation on the abolition of tuition fees, which it says encourages too many students to apply to universities instead of institutes of technology …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 13 October]

Top 100 – at what cost?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“News of UCD’s entry into the top 100 of the Times Higher Education/QS World University Rankings is undoubtedly a cause for celebration in UCD’s upper echelons. Higher places in league tables equals greater recognition for the university and thus will attract more students and funding. But at what cost has this come? While no one can say that the rankings are bad press for UCD, one must question the evaluation criteria used by Times Higher Education and QS in compiling these results. UCD has been consistently in debt for at least the last five years, and the current economic climate has not done us any favours. How is it that we are moving up the list? …” (more)

[Bridget Fitzsimons, University Observer, 13 October]

Facebook ‘cuts student drop-outs’

Posted in Life with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

UK“Social networking websites such as Facebook are helping to reduce college drop-out rates, it is claimed. Gloucestershire College says social networking is used to keep students informed and in touch with staff. ‘There has been a significant improvement in retention’, says media curriculum manager, Perry Perrott …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 13 October]

Confusion on college funding

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The commitment to retain ‘free fees’ in the third level education sector is one of the most eye-catching elements of the renewed programme for government; it is also the aspect which the Green Party has been most anxious to trumpet. The decision plays well with the party’s mostly middle-class core constituency which was concerned about the prospect of expensive tuition fees next September. But is it a good deal for the wider higher education sector and is the issue truly resolved? …” (more)

[Editorial, Irish Times, 13 October]

Registration for third level costs more than most EU tuition fees

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Registration fees charged by Irish colleges are higher than third-level tuition fees charged in most other EU countries. The charges, which jumped from €900 to €1,500 this year, are set to increase even more next year. Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe last night would not say by how much they would increase, but admitted a hike was under consideration …” (more)

[John Walshe and Ralph Riegel, Independent, 13 October]

‘We are going to focus our declining funds on helping the wealthy’

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… Although I have a lot of sympathy with those who don’t like the idea of tuition fees, we have to be realistic and accept that unless we reintroduce fees we are doomed to have a second- rate higher education system, which will soon be offering second-rate degrees. The money needed to secure real excellence and quality is well beyond the capacity (or at any rate the willingness) of the taxpayer to deliver. Even during the Celtic Tiger’s good years we were seriously underfunded, and now we are about to have our resources decimated. And why are we refusing to adopt the obvious solution? Because we have decided that the principle of offering money to wealthy people to educate their children is more important than the quality of the education that all the students get …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Irish Times, 13 October]

Head diplomat for the universities

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Tom Boland, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, has a fine line to straddle between universities and the State – and with the agency’s fate yet to be decided, his stance is more in question than ever before …” (more)

[Louise Holden, Irish Times, 13 October]

O’Keeffe remains in favour of third-level college fees

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said yesterday he remained in favour of third-level college fees and they could be introduced in the future. A decision not to proceed with the fees was taken in the talks between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party last week on a renewed Programme for Government …” (more)

[Sean Flynn and Olivia Kelleher, Irish Times, 13 October]

Being a good neighbour

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Well, here’s a university league table with a difference. It ranks US universities, and for once there is no sign of Harvard or Yale or Princeton, or even Berkeley or Stanford or Cornell. No, number 1 is the University of Pennsylvania. In fact there must be something very special about Pennsylvania, because the Keystone State’s universities make three appearances in the top 10 alone. So what does this league table measure? Neighbourliness …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 13 October]

Third-level institutions may have to find more savings

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The country’s third-level institutions may have to find further savings within their spending rather than raising registration fees for students next year, Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe indicated yesterday. He is also planning increased efforts to attract donations from international philanthropists and to bring more fee-paying international students to our colleges …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 13 October]

Humanities research threatened by demands for ‘economic impact’

Posted in research with tags , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

UK“‘I’m now some kind of civil servant charged with “delivering” the government’s priorities’, wrote one academic in an online discussion about the future of research funding, last month. ‘Both parties now see universities as just another public agency the state can use as a tool for economic stimulus and social engineering …'” (more)

[Jessica Shepherd, Guardian, 13 October]

Are we witnessing a key moment in the reworking of the global higher education & research landscape?

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

USA“Over the last several weeks more questions about the changing nature of the relative position of national higher education and research systems have emerged. These questions have often been framed around the notion that the US higher education system (assuming there is one system) might be in relative decline …” (more)

[GlobalHigherEd, 13 October]

How on earth do students survive Freshers’ Week?

Posted in Life with tags , on 13 October 2009 by Steve

UK“Do you remember Freshers’ Week? The tuna fish, the angst, the smell of horror film? My Freshers’ Week was prom night in Carrie. I arrived on Halloween, said ‘Hi!’ to The Exorcist and woke up on Friday 13th. This month, 475,914 students have been accepted into British universities. How are they doing? These ones look ill. I am on the University of Sussex campus. Fifteen hundred of them went on a pub crawl in Brighton last night …” (more)

[Tanya Gold, Guardian, 13 October]