Archive for students

Universities must learn to cope with students as consumers, says expert

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 22 March 2011 by Steve

“From September 2012 universities in England and Wales will be able to charge up to £9,000 in tuition fees per year, and many universities have already signalled their intention to charge the full amount. This will change the way that students see their universities. As costs rise for so will expectations. Students will be more focused on making sure they get their money’s worth. How? One way will be by looking to enforce their contractual rights …” (more)

[Julian Sladdin, OUT-LAW News, 22 March]


Big babies: the university as a crèche

Posted in Life with tags on 8 December 2009 by Steve

“This is not an easy article to write, not because the argument is complicated or will come as a surprise to anyone but because it is exactly the kind of complaint that I myself would have rejected as nonsense just a few years ago. ‘Typical nostalgia-infused reactionary whinging,’ I would have said. Still, I have already crossed this particular bridge so, if you’re seated comfortably, we shall begin. Today’s university students are children. There, I’ve said it …” (more)

[Forth, 8 December]

Money worries are damaging the mental health of students

Posted in Life with tags , , on 11 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The mental health of one in three university students is showing cause for concern – and money worries may be part of the problem, groundbreaking new research has revealed. The psychological well-being of students is lower than the average person, or other 18 to 26-year-olds. Researchers say more work needs to be done to understand the reasons, but point to a possible link with high levels of financial strain …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 11 August]

Survey adds weight to those tales of university woe

Posted in Life with tags , , on 11 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Students are bound to say, ‘I told you so’. Parents will be familiar with cries such as ‘college is stressful’ and ‘I don’t have enough money’. But now the results of new research focusing on, among other things, their psychological well-being and finances, add weight to their complaints. The scale of the research and methodologies used provides robust information about aspects of life for university students in Ireland today …” (more)

[Independent, 11 August]

Research study conducted with policies in mind

Posted in Life with tags , on 11 August 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Irish Universities Study (IUS) is new web-based research aimed at gathering substantial information about undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers in the country’s seven universities: Trinity College Dublin; University of Limerick; Dublin City University; National University of Ireland Maynooth; University College Dublin; University College Cork and National University of Ireland Galway. The findings published in the Irish Independent today are from the first module, conducted in 2008 among almost 3,500 students …” (more)

[Independent, 11 August]

Do students read?

Posted in teaching with tags , on 14 July 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Recently I had an opportunity to chat with a group of law students from a number of different universities. I mentioned to them a book considered to a legal classic, and was astounded that not one of them had ever heard of it, much less read it. I then asked them about a number of other seminal books, about some famous cases – and when again none of them had read any of these, I turned it around and asked them to tell me what they had read or were reading. There was a good deal of hesitation, but when some of them started to tell me what they had read it became clear to me that they were mainly reading standard textbooks, but no monographs, no classics …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 14 July]

Study Finds Drinking by College Students on the Rise

Posted in Life with tags , on 16 June 2009 by Steve

USA“Despite university campaigns to discourage alcohol abuse, a new study shows that drinking-related activities among college students have increased over the last decade. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which used figures from government databases and national surveys, the number of alcohol-related deaths among 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005. Binge drinking, more formally titled ‘episodic drinking’, saw a 3-percent increase in the same time frame …” (more)

[Ashley C Killough, Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 June]

Students ‘working harder on their own’

Posted in teaching with tags , on 7 May 2009 by Steve

UK“University students study for two hours 12 minutes more a week now than they did two years ago, a report suggests today. But the time they spend in lectures and seminars is the same as it was three years ago. The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) quizzed 2,000 undergraduates on their degree workload, the size of their classes and their contact time with lecturers. The think-tank found that on average the students, who were first and second years at universities in England, spent 29 hours per week studying for their degrees, compared to its survey two years ago when a similar cohort of 15,000 students told HEPI they spent 26.8 hours studying per week …” (more)

[Jessica Shepherd, Guardian, 7 May]

Are we really that lazy?

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 6 April 2009 by Steve

Canada“I just read an article from The Star, a popular Toronto newspaper, about the declining work ethics of the current generation of students. ‘University professors feel their first-year students are less mature, rely too much on Wikipedia and “expect success without the requisite effort,” says a province-wide survey to be released today.’ After almost 5 years of university in a fairly rigorous engineering program in Ontario, what can I say? Yes, our generation (as a generalization) truly is that lazy. I completely understand the frustration of the university professors. Quite honestly, I feel the same disappointment and disdain. Despite our engineering class shrinking to less than half our original size in first year due to students failing out or switching to different programs, the average competency level of the students in our graduating class is still very sketchy (to put it mildly). It may be because I have high standards, but these students are going to be part of the engineering profession for crying out loud. Anyone less than competent should not even get an iron ring. 3 things that universities can do to raise the bar: 1. Enforce university rules to the fullest …” (more)

[Lynque Ltd, 6 April]

Students deserve more respect

Posted in Life with tags on 26 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“In response to Maurice Fitzgerald (Letters, March 20), about rich, spoilt brats at university, I would like to defend myself and indeed all my fellow students from what is an obviously misinformed and indeed ridiculous position. The Irish student body is made up of a diverse, enthusiastic and driven bunch of people drawn from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. Third level students raise hundreds of thousands of euro every year for charity; devote themselves tirelessly to community groups such as Suas, St Vincent de Paul and education in the community initiatives; and undertake the organising of some of the most amazing events, on a voluntary basis. All of this work is done while often spending 39 hours in the classroom as well as having to work upwards of 25 hours a week in part-time jobs to keep food on the table and books in the bag …” (more)

[Niall McClave, Independent, 26 March]

We are not all rich spoilt brats

Posted in Life with tags on 23 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“In response to Maurice Fitzgerald who labelled third-level students as ‘rich spoilt brats’ who are ‘not interested in studying’ (Letters, March 20), I would advise him to try looking for a seat in UCC’s Boole library. Due to a demand from us ‘wild and reckless’ youths, there has been a room allocated for night-time studying and there are future plans to introduce a 24-hour library. As a science student, I start my day early in the morning with lectures and compulsory labs that can stretch out into the late evening …” (more)

[Kevin Reale, Independent, 23 March]

Time for bed

Posted in Life with tags , on 5 February 2009 by Steve

“Some professors would have been offended, but not Pamela Thacher. As she noticed a trio of students dozing off during her psychology class at St Lawrence University in New York State, she spied a research opportunity. ‘If you’ve ever stood in front of a class of 20-year-olds and had three of them fall asleep sitting up, you start to think, is it me? So I was trying to strategise: do I wake the students up? I asked one of them (about it), and he said he had stayed up all night. He told me that was how he kept his grades up.’ The study Thacher was inspired to undertake as a result of the trio’s snores found that the opposite was true. By comparing the sleep patterns and academic records of 111 undergraduates, she found that those who fuelled themselves with caffeine and studied late into the night, or even ‘pulled all-nighters’ (in American campus jargon), had lower grade-point averages than those who got enough sleep. ‘Once you start getting less sleep, you are less able to cognitively cope with the demands of college,’ Thacher says …” (more)

[Jon Marcus, THE, 5 February]

Students have been sold a lie

Posted in teaching with tags , on 31 January 2009 by Steve

“When a friend enrolled as a mature student last year, I was curious to hear what university life was like these days. It was quite a surprise when he reported back that students were taking personal calls on their mobile phones during lectures. Apparently it comes as a shock to the students when lecturers ask them to hang up. In a recent seminar a girl sat with her iPod headphones on, and was astonished when the tutor asked her to remove them. There were no more than a dozen or so other students in the class, and one of them was trying to give a presentation. ‘But I like listening to music!’ the girl objected, genuinely affronted by the intrusion, as though she were on a bus …” (more

[Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian, 31 January]

Protest meeting to support setting up of pro-choice group at UCC

Posted in Life with tags , , on 28 January 2009 by Steve

“On Monday evening this week the Societies Guild at UCC rejected an application, backed by over 100 student signatures, to set up a pro-choice student society. The ‘reason’ the Societies Guild gave for their disgraceful decision was: ‘Your society application was brought before the Guild last evening. Unfortunately status was not approved. It is a decision that was ultimately made by a previous Guild and is being upheld. A society already exists which caters for debate in the area of abortion and choice …’” (more)

[Alan Davis, Indymedia Ireland, 28 January]

Ban sex between lecturers and students?

Posted in Life with tags , , , on 25 January 2009 by Steve

“When Professor Istvan Pogany, 57, began a consensual relationship with one of his students at Britain’s University of Warwick, he did what many would consider ‘good practice’ and informed his line manager. But the student, who is in her 30s, then fell pregnant and her subsequent anguished decision to have an abortion led to lurid headlines that raised the question again whether intimate relationships between academics and students should be more strongly discouraged, or even prohibited. Warwick, like many other universities, has struggled with this highly complex issue for years and is continually seeking to improve its response …” (more)

[Paul Rigg, University World News, 25 January]

Cut-throat jobs market forcing graduates to stay in college

Posted in teaching with tags , on 17 January 2009 by Steve

“Record numbers of graduates are planning to stay in college to gain further qualifications because the jobs market has become so cut-throat. This year’s graduating classes of teachers, lawyers and architects will face an especially tough jobs market as the recession deepens. Many firms are recruiting only a quarter of the numbers of previous years. And in some cases, graduates who have been offered positions are being asked to postpone their starting date for a year. Graduate confidence has evaporated in the space of 12 months, a new survey has revealed. Last year, 60pc of graduates were confident and optimistic, but in a complete reverse now 60pc are nervous and pessimistic, according to the GradIreland survey. But it is not all bad news …” (more)

[Fergus Black, John Walshe and
Gemma O’Doherty, Independent, 17 January]

10,000 students take to streets

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 25 October 2008 by Steve

“Student protesters brought traffic to a standstill in Dublin city centre yesterday afternoon as an estimated 15,000 young people took to the streets to voice concern about the potential reintroduction of third-level fees. Students gathered in Parnell Square at lunchtime ahead of the march, which culminated with a rally outside Leinster House where the protesters were addressed by student leaders and opposition politicians …” (more)

[Steven Carroll, Irish Times, 23 October]

10,000 students at Dublin fees protest

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 22 October 2008 by Steve

“An estimated 10,000 students from colleges and universities all over Dublin have gathered outside Leinster House to protest at the threatened reintroduction of tuition fees. The Garda dog unit and gardaí on horseback are patrolling the area. Almost 80 gardaí are guarding the main gates of Leinster House on Kildare Street …” (more)

[RTÉ. 22 October]

Three arrested in UCD as students protest about fees

Posted in Fees and access, Legal issues with tags , , on 22 October 2008 by Steve

“‘No cutbacks, no fees, no Fianna Fáil TDs’ was the rallying cry of students who gathered in University College Dublin (UCD) last night to protest against the possible reintroduction of third-level fees. About 100 students took part in the protest, many bearing banners, ahead of the arrival of Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, who was chairing a function at the Clinton Institute on the Belfield campus. A strong Garda and campus security presence were on hand to monitor the protest and three people were arrested for breaches of the peace. The arrests came following two minor scuffles when protesters attempted to break through a metal fence surrounding the entrance to the building …” (more)

[Steven Carroll, Irish Times, 21 October]

Students as customers?

Posted in teaching with tags , on 22 September 2008 by Steve

“From the 1980s it became common to talk about students as the university’s ‘customers’. The thinking behind this was based largely on the desire to describe a relationship between autonomous and more or less equal parties, with the students entitled to demand support and performance from lecturers and professors. Academics on the whole have been uncomfortable with this label, in part because it suggests that higher education is a market activity in which a commodity is being bought by (or on behalf of) the students. But if they are not customers, what are they? They are certainly not just pupils under instruction and subject to the lecturer’s control …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 September]