Archive for 7 February 2010

Researchers at UCC have successfully developed DNA vaccines

Posted in research with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“’We are excited about the promise of this treatment strategy as the DNA vaccination strategy has the potential to be applied in clinical settings in combination with other available therapeutic options’, says Dr Mark Tangney, principal investigator of the research …” (more)

[Education Ireland, 7 February]

The High Cost of Low Educational Performance

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“A new OECD report examines the relationship between education and economic growth. While governments frequently commit to improving the quality of education, it often slips down the policy agenda. Because investing in education only pays off in the future, it is possible to underestimate the value and the importance of improvements …” (more)

[Geary Behavioural Economics Blog, 7 February]

Public sector unions move to reduce membership fees

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“Most public sector unions are set to reduce membership fees or have already done so following the pay cuts imposed in December’s budget. The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), which charges a set annual fee of €386, will discuss a motion at its conference in Galway at Easter to decrease fees by around 6% …” (more)

[Martin Frawley, Sunday Tribune, 7 February]

NCI president says focus must be on education

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The new president of the National College of Ireland (NCI) has said it is vital that the education sector remains large enough to provide the skills to cope with an economic recovery. Dr Philip Matthews, who is a former Ireland rugby captain, said Ireland must try to maintain its position and reputation as a producer of a well educated workforce …” (more)

[Martha Kearns, Sunday Business Post, 7 February]

Unions won’t lie down yet

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“As the public sector trade unions enter the third week of low-grade disruption tomorrow, the government has signalled it wants to reopen talks on a programme of reform for the public service. The government and the unions are acutely aware of the risk of an escalation with every week that passes …” (more)

[Niamh Connolly, Sunday Business Post, 7 February]

Innovation is key to pharma sector future

Posted in research with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The collapse of the property market has left the economy with a huge hole that will be difficult to fill. One of the few sectors that offers hope of growth is the pharmaceutical industry, with senior executives convinced that genuine opportunities remain for Ireland Inc. But, while opportunities are presented by the changing international pharmaceutical environment, there are also great risks …” (more)

[Samantha McCaughren, Sunday Business Post, 7 February]

Freedom of the University Press

Posted in research with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The November issue of The Writer carried an interesting article titled ‘Is a University Press Right For You?’ in which Paola Corso ticked off the positives of publishing through a university press rather than a big-house publisher. Though the article is geared for writers, I thought it a good opportunity to tweak it toward the reader considering the wealth of authorship under its care …” (more)

[Megan Shaffer, Night Light Revue, 7 February]

Academic retrenchments

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“I’ve just seen the reports from the Times Higher Education about compulsory academic redundancies at King’s College London, Imperial College, and possibly also University College London. Although I think some redundancies may have happened in the past, this is still somewhat unprecedented. Until sometime in the 1990s most UK academics had tenure, meaning that it was virtually impossible for them to be fired or made redundant. This has now changed …” (more)

[To the left of centre, 7 February]

Girls’ schools dominate performance league

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“Gonzaga College, Coláiste Iosagáin and Glenstal Abbey are the highest-ranking schools in the country in terms of the number of pupils that progress to university. The Sunday Times 2010 Parent Power Guide published today shows that eight out of the 10 top schools in the country are fee-paying …” (more)

[Breaking News, 7 February]

UL granted €17m for ‘vanity projects’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The cash-strapped University of Limerick (UL) has spent in excess of €1.1m for a mosaic and €16m on a pedestrian bridge over the Shannon. Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe is to receive a report into spending at the college in the coming days and is said to be deeply concerned about spending after revelations in the Sunday Independent about the €5m spending on two lavish new homes for the college president …” (more)

[Daniel McConnell, Independent, 7 February]

Some steps towards another Europe of knowledge

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“Europe of knowledge is burning. Italy, Finland, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, etc: for more than two years, a huge wave of protests has raised in higher education and research. All of them reclaim freedom of education and fight against their enslavement by political and economical powers …” (more)

[Nelson Fraga, Parar Bolonha, 7 February]

EUA president promises rankings review

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“University rankings can sometimes be confusing and should not be the basis for devising policy because universities are confronted with rankings every day, said Jean-Marc Rapp, President of the European University Association. Speaking at the association’s spring meeting in Brussels at the end of January, Rapp said rankings were volatile and he promised an annual review as a service for the EUA’s 850 institutional members …” (more)

[David Haworth, University World News, 7 February]

Private schools plan to set up university

Posted in teaching with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“A group of leading independent schools are studying plans to set up an elite private university for families frustrated by the quality of education at mainstream institutions. The university would be modelled on American liberal arts colleges, which concentrate on providing high-quality teaching for undergraduates rather than research. Fees would be at least £10,000 a year …” (more)

[Sian Griffiths and Jack Grimston, Sunday Times, 7 February]

Double jobbing lecturer to pick a pension

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The enterprising lecturer who was double jobbing in colleges in Galway and Athlone will not, after all, qualify for two pensions. The discovery that Fergal O’Malley was lecturing in Athlone IT and NUI Galway sparked a furore over lax governance standards in the third-level system …” (more)

[John Drennan, Independent, 7 February]

Casual approach to the academic workforce

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The response of Australian academics to the Changing Academic Profession survey indicates that they are among the least satisfied academics in the world. This dissatisfaction has been expressed after two decades of rapid growth in the student body and structural changes in the academic workforce, particularly an expansion in the amount of teaching provided by casual staff …” (more)

[Hamish Coates and others, University World News, 7 February]

University chiefs attack innovation fund

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“Lecturers’ leaders and university principals last week attacked the handling of a controversial £110 million (US$172 million) fund to boost innovation in Scottish higher education. Critics said a new committee set up by the Scottish Funding Council to administer the so-called Horizon Fund lacked independent scrutiny and allowed officials to pursue ‘pet projects’ …” (more)

[Andrew Denholm, University World News, 7 February]

Test of English but not Chinese ‘traitorous’

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“Four Shanghai universities that included an English test in their independent admission examinations but chose to leave out Chinese have come under flak for giving ‘more importance to a foreign language’. Internet users flooded the Qiangguo Forum to voice their disapproval, calling the exams ‘traitorous’ and ‘discriminatory’ and accusing the universities of ‘blindly worshipping foreign languages’ …” (more)

[Wu Yiyao, University World News, 7 February]

How does higher education change people?

Posted in Life with tags , on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“I think it must have been in 1976. It was certainly around about that time. A well-known debating society in the university where I was then a student organised a debate on apartheid, the political system (or aberration) that was at that time still governing South Africa. Various people were there to speak for the motion: I don’t really remember what it was, but it must have been some variant on the theme that apartheid was a Bad Thing (which of course it was) …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 February]

‘Independent’ Oxford application exposes system’s weaknesses

Posted in Legal issues on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“The system for verifying university applications has come under scrutiny after a student was suspended for allegedly lying about his qualifications. The first-year student applied to the University of Oxford as an ‘independent’ applicant who was not affiliated to a school or other educational establishment …” (more)

[Melanie Newman, Times Higher Education, 7 February]

CESI 2010 Success

Posted in teaching with tags on 7 February 2010 by Steve

“More than 250 educators spent Saturday in Portlaoise College (site of the statue at right) during the second day of the annual Computer Education Society of Ireland. I spent more time in the hallways and among conference exhibitors than in the classrooms because several familiar faces let me chat with them …” (more)

[Bernie Goldbach, Inside View, 6 February]