A 2011 debate for the universities

“From time to time I have suggested in this blog that we need a clear vision of what we want universities to be, and to what extent we want them to connect with wider national goals and aspirations …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 2 January]

One Response to “A 2011 debate for the universities”

  1. From Paddy Healy, Former President TUI, Lecturer in Physics, Former member of Governing Body and Academic Council of DIT
    Will Irish Third Level Education be irretrievably damaged like the banks before anybody blows the whistle?
    Following conversations with colleagues in various universities, I now have a reasonable idea of the demands on unions being made by the University authorities under the Croke Park Deal. These demands confirm the predictions in my e-mail message to IoT colleagues but go even further. I include these demands below.. Though the discussions are taking place on a university by university basis the management strategy is being orchestrated by the Irish Universities Association. READ Full Discussion http://wp.me/pKzXa-fw
    Demands being Made by University Authorities Under Croke Park Deal
    1. That tenure be brought into Line with corporate industrial relations law. (This means that tenure until pensionable age with the individual university is being abolished and university academic staff can be made compulsorily redundant and/or redeployed to other parts of public service. This will require legislation PH)
    2. Renegotiation of all existing contracts for implementation from September 2011
    3. Contractual restrictions will be placed on Academic Freedom ( The restrictions are not yet clear but if the worst precedents abroad are followed they could include prevention of public criticism of government or the university authorities: they could also include forcing academics to carry out particular research projects or particular research outcomes could be suppressed due to commercial research agreements with private companies eg infamous heliobacter pylori case abroad- PH)

    4. Staff must engage with workload monitoring and measurement.
    5. Academic staff required to be in attendance at the university each day for twelve consecutive calendar months
    6. Holidays to be at the discretion of the University. Staff member must apply and receive approval in advance for holiday leave (The effect of points 5 and 6 taken together is that holiday entitlements are to be set by The Holidays(Employees) ACT which sets minimum holidays for employees to protect them from predatory employers. If this were accepted it would reduce the holiday entitlements of academic staff below those of comparable public service employees and below those of trade unionised employees in the private sector—PH)

    7. The current position under which the staff member automatically gets an increment unless management objects will be changed. Staff will only receive an increment following a satisfactory Performance Appraisal outcome. Failure to engage with Performance Appraisal System (PAS) will lead to a freezing of the incremental position and denial of access to promotion, sabbatical leave etc. The PAS system will include student evaluation of lecturers. (Performance appraisal will apply to all grades of academic staff including professors-PH)
    8. Extra hour per week of teaching or administration to be implemented immediately
    9. Staff may be redeployed to other Departments/duties within the University
    10. Staff may be redeployed to other posts outside the university but within the wider public service (as set out in Croke Park Deal) with particular regard to HEA Proposals (eg Mergers to be recommended under Hunt Report PH)
    11. Co-operation with Outsourcing (including teaching and research PH) in accordance with Croke Park Deal
    12. New arrangements will apply to rewards for additional internal work and external consultancy work
    My Email Message to TUI Colleagues in IOTs
    Reliable information is circulating in HR Departments of the Institutes in relation to the demands being put to TUI in current talks on Croke Park Deal
    1 extra hour per week teaching or other duties to be in addition to completion of 560 annual hrs teaching.
    Summer Break to be reduced to 6 weeks
    Full Maximum 560(L), 630(AL) hrs to be delivered annually
    All night weighting(1.5) of teaching hours to be abolished
    All hours credit on teaching time-table for course co-ordination to be abolished
    Credit to be allowed for post-graduate supervision as part of annual 560 hrs at a rate to be negotiated
    Post grad supervision to be continuously delivered on a 12month basis
    I believe that all third Level Area reps(executive members) should be present at these talks (this is not the case)
    I believe that attempts to make lecturers redundant and the above demands should be resisted in common
    Any “trade off” would be disastrous for union
    Talks with IFUT in relation to University Staff are being dragged out until Institute Staff have been bludgeoned into submission by the threat of redundancy. Then the assault on conditions of service of university staff including tenure and redeployment will begin.(This will require changes to the Universities Act. The acceptance of the principle of redundancy across the public service in the Croke Park Deal by ICTU led by SIPTU, IMPACT, INTO, PSEU lends support to the elimination of tenure and the required legislative changes. TUI, IFUT and ASTI remain opposed to Croke Park Deal)
    It would be suicide to do a deal with a dying government

    Paddy Healy 086-4183732

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