Labour Court awards compensation to redeployed IFUT Members

Posted in Legal issues on October 31st, 2008 by steve

“The Labour Court has recommended that the Department of Education should pay compensation of €3000 each to five IFUT members who were redeployed to various higher education institutions when the College closed in August 2007. The award follows complaints by IFUT that the Department mishandled the closure very badly. IFUT sought compensation for losses of earnings suffered by their members …” (more)

[IFUT blog, 30 October]

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Universities to develop nanoscience

Posted in Research on October 31st, 2008 by steve

“Ten third-level institutions are to pool their knowledge and resources in a new collaboration for the study of nanoscience, which was launched yesterday. Some €31.6 million has been allocated by the Higher Education Authority to Inspire (Integrated nanoscience platform for Ireland) in order to improve Ireland’s capability in this field. Ireland has been ranked world sixth in research of nanoscience …” (more)

[Genevieve Carbery, Irish Times, 31 October]

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While New Labour cuts grants and student numbers, Irish students show how to fight back!

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 31st, 2008 by steve

“On Wednesday 29 October, the Government confirmed to the Guardian that it plans to slash eligibility for student grants, and cut student numbers by up to 10,000. For the details, see the Guardian article here. Higher education minister Jim Denham denies that this has anything to do with the economic crisis, but it is a clear indication of how New Labour plans to cut back as things get tight …” (more)

[Education Not For Sale, 29 October]

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Stem-cell decision criticised

Posted in Research on October 30th, 2008 by steve

“SEANAD REPORT: The case made by University College Cork for authorising embryonic stem-cell research was akin to a defence by someone found in possession of child pornography, Jim Walsh (FF) said. The college governors’ decision was strongly attacked by some Government members and defended with equal vehemence …” (more)

[Jimmy Walsh, Irish Times, 30 October]

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Stem-cell research

Posted in Research on October 30th, 2008 by steve

“Members of University College Cork’s governing body are to be commended for their stance on the ethically fraught issue of embryonic stem-cell research. Their difficult decision on Tuesday to allow the college’s scientists to conduct research using stem cells derived from human embryos was passed by only a single vote. Divisions centred on the reality that such research is dependent on the destruction of human embryos from which these cells are harvested …” (more)

[Irish Times, October 30]

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British Government Cuts Student Grants

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 30th, 2008 by steve

“To help offset a shortfall in its higher-education budget, the British government announced today a reduction in the maximum family income at which university students would be eligible for financial-aid grants. The move, which applies to university students in England beginning their studies in 2009, is the result of a miscalculation of the number of students who would be eligible for the assistance …” (more)

[Chronicle News Blog, 29 October]

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Stem-cell vote by UCC governors paves way for campus research

Posted in Research on October 29th, 2008 by steve

“The governors of University College Cork yesterday paved the way for embryonic stem-cell research to be carried out at the university when they decided by one vote to endorse a code of practice on the issue, recommended by the university’s academic council. UCC became the first third-level institution in the Republic to effectively allow embryonic stem-cell research when members of the 40-strong governing body voted by 16 votes to 15 to note the council’s recommendation …” (more)

[Barry Roche, Irish Times, 29 October]

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Bishop criticises UCC decision

Posted in Research on October 29th, 2008 by steve

“The Archbishop of Cashel, Dr Dermot Clifford, a member of UCC’s governing body, has distanced himself from its decision on stem-cell research. In a brief statement last night, Dr Clifford said he had informed the governing body of Catholic Church teaching on stem-cell research ‘and reiterated that human life is sacred from the moment of conception until death’ …” (more)

[Patsy McGarry, Irish Times, 29 October]

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Academic’s challenge upheld by Supreme Court

Posted in Legal issues on October 29th, 2008 by steve

“The Supreme Court has upheld a challenge by Prof Connell Fanning, head of the economics department of University College Cork (UCC), to the conduct by the college authorities of an investigation into allegations he grabbed a female member of the college staff by the throat during an incident in the college car park. The three-judge court yesterday unanimously rejected UCC’s appeal against a High Court decision that the disciplinary procedures invoked by it towards Prof Fanning were beyond its powers. Where a proposed disciplinary action interferes with rights of tenure or conditions of service, Prof Fanning and anyone else appointed prior to the 1997 Universities Act may only be dealt with under pre-1997 statutes, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said …” (more)

[Mary Carolan, Irish Times, 29 October]

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Unloved universities?

Posted in Governance and administration on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“An interesting – if, for some of us, depressing – feature of recent discussions on the funding of higher education has been the fact that there appear to be many people out there who, frankly, don’t think much of the universities. The Minister for Education and Science may be one of these people; he has launched, or rather he says he will launch, his ‘forensic audit’ of the sector, which in itself is a rather loaded term, suggesting that he suspects we do not make good use of our resources. But if he holds that view, he is certainly not alone …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 28 October]

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UCC to allow stem cell research

Posted in Research on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“University College Cork has agreed to allow embryonic stem cell research take place on campus, under strict ethical guidelines. The decision comes after a long consultative process which has been ongoing at the university for over a year. UCC now becomes the first third level institution in Ireland to carry out such research …” (more)

[RTĖ, 28 October]

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Supreme Court rules in favour of UCC professor

Posted in Legal issues on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a UCC professor who has been trying to stop the university from conducting a disciplinary hearing into alleged misconduct by him. It arises out of claims that Professor Connell Fanning grabbed a female member of the college staff by the throat during a heated exchange in the car park. He had claimed that UCC had put pressure on the employee to pursue the claim …” (more)

[Independent, 28 October]

(The Supreme Court judgment is available from the Courts Service website.)

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UCC governors to consider embryonic stem-cell research

Posted in Research on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“The governing body of University College Cork will today consider whether or not to allow the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes on its campus. If it gives the go-ahead to the proposal, which has been recommended by the college’s research ethics board and its academic council, it would be the first academic institution in the country do so. The use of human embryonic stem cells for research purposes has always been controversial …” (more)

[Eithne Donnellan, Patsy McGarry and Olivia Kelleher, Irish Times, 28 October]

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UCC debate to fuel calls for national stem cell policy

Posted in Research on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“The debate today among members of the governing body of University College Cork about whether or not to allow the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes in the college is likely to again fuel calls for a national policy on the issue. Ireland has no legislation prohibiting the use of embryos for research but the Medical Council’s ethical guidelines specifically prevent doctors from destroying human embryos for research …” (more)

[Eithne Donnellan and Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 28 October]

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NUIG allocated first UNESCO-sponsored post

Posted in Research on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“Any government keen to save money will ensure that continued support is given to preventative and early intervention services for children in potential difficulty and there is an “overwhelming economic argument” for such an approach, according to Prof Pat Dolan, who has been appointed to the new UNESCO chair at NUI Galway (NUIG). The chair in children, youth and civic engagement is the first UNESCO-sponsored post of its type in a university in the State …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 28 October]

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College chiefs face hot debate over use of stem cells

Posted in Research on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“University College Cork (UCC) could become the first academic institution in the country to introduce a policy that would allow the use of embryonic stem cells for research purposes. The governing body of UCC will today debate a recommendation from the academic council that human embryonic stem cell research be allowed take place at the campus. UCC President Dr Michael Murphy believes the advantages offered by the findings from embryonic cell stem research outweigh any anxiety people have about the process …” (more)

[Olivia Kelleher, Independent, 28 October]

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DCU to mirror Gateway expansion

Posted in Governance and administration on October 28th, 2008 by steve

“Dublin City University is drawing up plans for a major expansion of the college campus which will mirror the Gateway scheme planned for University College Dublin on the southside. Dublin City councillors were told by city manager John Tierney recently that the college is planning to develop office, hotel, retail and leisure space on part of its lands in Glasnevin as well as educational buildings …” (more)

[An Irish Town Planner’s Blog, 27 October]

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Nursing courses to be slashed by 300 places

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 26th, 2008 by steve

“The number of nursing degree places throughout the country is to be reduced by more than 300 next year, according to internal correspondence seen by the Irish Examiner. The cuts will see the number of places in pre-registration nursing degree programmes reduced to 1,570 next year, a 16% drop nationwide. In total, 310 places will be cut from October 2009 …” (more)

[Hopeless Shambolic Entity, 25 October]

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Tax-reform savings ‘could pay college bill’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 26th, 2008 by steve

“Reform of the tax covenanting system introduced in the mid 1990s to coincide with the abolition of undergraduate fees at third level has brought about tens of millions of euro in savings for the government in the intervening years, new figures have revealed. However, while the savings achieved by reform of the system would “help” with the introduction of free third-level fees, a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance has confirmed that they were not ‘ringfenced’ for this purpose. …” (more)

[John Downes, Sunday Tribune, 26 October]

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Your starter for 10: could a game show format work at university?

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2008 by steve

“Educators, are you ready? Hands on your buzzers. Here we go with our first starter for 10: Do television quiz-show formats offer a useful tool for teaching? Anyone? Well, OK, it was a bit of a tricky one. But the correct answer is yes, or so says at least one international institution of higher education. Some British universities, already under fire for dumbing down, may be wary of the idea. Others may be susceptible to the showbiz appeal of a bit of classroom University Challenge …” (more)

[David Cohen, Guardian, 24 October]

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