Arts for arts sake? Writers on the value of an arts degree

Posted in Governance and administration on September 29th, 2016 by steve

IrelandJoseph O’Connor: I did an arts degree, English and history, at UCD, and it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I was very lucky in that my teachers included such great people as Declan Kiberd, Seamus Deane, Hugh Gough, Ronan Fanning, Mary Daly and Michael Laffan …” (more)

[Martin Doyle, Irish Times, 28 September]

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UCC has spent almost €1.5m on legal costs since 2010

Posted in Legal issues on September 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“University College Cork (UCC) has spent almost €1.5 million in the last five years on legal cases involving staff, new figures reveal. The university spent €619,400 on court actions in 2014/2015, the last academic year for which figures are available …” (more)

[Ronan McGreevy, Irish Times, 28 September]

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More focus needed on maths in primary school, study finds

Posted in Teaching on September 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A greater focus on maths teaching at primary school may be needed to improve children’s performance at maths, a major study has found. While there has been a significant improvement in maths performance in recent years, the ability of children to tackle problem-solving has emerged as a real concern …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 29 September]

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New IT Sligo president starts in the job

Posted in Governance and administration on September 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“IT Sligo has a huge part to play in the development of the Sligo economy according to the college’s new president. Dr Brendan McCormack began his tenure as president of the IT yesterday and immediately set about outlining his vision for the future of the college …” (more)

[Ocean FM, 28 September]

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Universities spend over €3m in staff cases

Posted in Legal issues on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Universities here spent more than €3.3 million on legal fees in cases involving staff over the last five years. The figures were released to Fine Gael TD Jim Daly after he put down a Dáil question on the issue …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 28 September]

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USI to hold a national demonstration to call on government to increase third level funding

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The Union of Student in Ireland (USI) has announced they intend to hold a national demonstration on Wednesday, October 19th. The demonstration will call on the government to invest in publicly-funded third level education. The USI expects 5,000 students from across Ireland to attend …” (more)

[Eithne Dodd, University Observer, 28 September]

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24 Statements of Learning

Posted in Teaching on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“‘The Student: 1. communicates effectively using a variety of means in a range of contexts in L1 (Irish or English); 2. listens, speaks, reads and writes in L2 (Irish or English) and one other language at a level of proficiency that is appropriate to her or his ability …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 28 September]

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Taoiseach concedes returning graduate tax ‘unfair’

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Enda Kenny said he wanted Budget 2017 to be as fair as possible. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said plans for a special 30% tax rate for returning graduates ‘beggared belief’, given its discriminating nature …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 28 September]

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Third-level funding is major budget issue, says Martin

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Cabinet discussions are under way about short-term funding of third-level education, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said. He said Minister for Education Richard Bruton and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe were discussing the issue …” (more)

[Michael O’Regan, Irish Times, 27 September]

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Leaders’ Questions

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

IrelandMicheál Martin: I welcome everybody back and I am delighted to see that it is all systems go for this Dáil session. It is less than two weeks to budget day and there are many issues that need to be addressed. I put it to the Taoiseach that it is essential that there be a realistic response to the Peter Cassells report on the chronic underfunding of third level education …” (more)

[Video is here]
[Dáil debates, 27 September]

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NUI Galway fears over burnout among researchers

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Burn-out among researchers has been identified as an issue by management at NUI Galway. Údarás na hOllscoile, the university’s governing authority, which is responsible for managing and controlling all affairs of NUIG, has been briefed on the problem …” (more)

[Dara Bradley, Connacht Tribune, 27 September]

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TUI members at WIT protest at lack of academic calender

Posted in Governance and administration on September 28th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Lecturers at Waterford Institute of Technology are to begin public protests at the Cork Road Campus from today. The members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland are making the move …” (more)

[WLR FM, 27 Sepember]

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Some Institutes of Technology are ‘close to insolvency’ – Dáil warned

Posted in Governance and administration on September 27th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Some Institutes of Technology are ‘close to trading insolvently’ while our universities continue to slide in international rankings. That was the strong message from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin as the Dáil returned from the summer break …” (more)

[John Downing, Independent, 27 September]

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Dramatic Cutbacks for UCD Library Service See Staff Numbers Drop by 36%

Posted in Governance and administration on September 27th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The UCD Library has witnessed dramatic cutbacks in resources in recent years, with both staff numbers and the amount spent on books and journals being sharply cut by the university. The Tribune can reveal the amount of staff in the UCD Library has declined year on year for more than five years …” (more)

[College Tribune, 27 September]

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Legislation Programme, Autumn Session 2016: Third Level

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 27th, 2016 by steve

IrelandThe new programme is now out. Nothing directly relevant to 3rd level appears under ‘Priority Legislation for Publication This session’ or ‘Bills that are expected to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny This Session’. Under ‘Other’ appear:

  • Higher Education (Reform) Bill – To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities – Heads are currently being drafted
  • Qualifications and Quality Assurance Amendment) Bill – To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications – Heads expected end 2016
  • Universities (Amendment) Bill – To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector – Heads approved in October 2012 – Drafting underway

The last of these seems to be taking a suspiciously long time to draft, especially for such a short bill! Far be it from me to suggest that the government has absolutely no intention of progressing it (preferring to leave it as a sort of scarecrow to frighten university presidents), but other explanations seem thin on the ground.

Finally, ‘Bills on Dáil Order Paper’ notes that the Technological Universities Bill 2015 is ‘Awaiting Committee’. It is also perhaps awaiting some sort of unexpected political consensus, as there is concerted opposition to some of the mergers it contemplates, opposition which the government does not have the majority to simply override.

The Blogmeister

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Opinion Poll: ‘Study now – pay later’ model backed by 37% of families

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 27th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“More than a third of families back a proposal for the funding of third- level education that would mean students pay back loans when they start working. The ‘study now – pay later’ model received backing from 37% of respondents in the Irish Examiner ICMSA poll, although 42% said they disagreed with the plan …” (more)

[Noel Baker, Irish Examiner, 27 September]

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New CAO points system: what students and parents need to know

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 27th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Are you hoping that your child will get an A or B in next year’s Leaving Cert? Well, forget about it: they haven’t a hope. From 2017, the old familiar grading system – As, Bs, Cs and so on – is gone. In its place is a new grading system, with higher-level grades from H1 to H8 and ordinary grades from O1 to O8 …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 27 September]

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Buoyant jobs market for graduates

Posted in Life on September 27th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Graduates can breathe a sigh of relief: employers are hiring. Last year careers experts said the jobs market was the strongest it had been for a decade. This year they say it’s even stronger …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 27 September]

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College to Facilitate Students Attending USI National Demonstration in October

Posted in Governance and administration on September 26th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Students will be able to miss lectures and classes to attend the national demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), after the College Board agreed to facilitate students who wish to attend the march …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 26 September]

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Unconscious bias in education

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“No, this is not about gender; it’s about something else entirely. It’s lunchtime and after two lectures in a row, I’m tired. I don’t always lecture in the conventional sense. Very often my ‘lectures’ are problem-solving sessions in which the students do the work and I float around helping them out …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 26 September]

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