Visions of the Irish university

Ireland“Papers on this topic usually nod to JH Newman and then comment on how much we’ve advanced with our modern research universities. The original idea of a community of scholars and students is, at best, treated in a patronising fashion. I am going to argue here that the best chance of survival of the university sector in Ireland is going back to this model. The other models include the hybrid system that the examinations board introduced into Ireland in the 1880’s after the failure of Newman’s initiative. It took the scholar/student model, funded it with taxpayers’ money, and gave a sense of professional advancement to the students involved. It worked well -and is in fact the only real accreditation of the Irish universities – until the incoherent 1997 universities act attempted, in self-contradictory fashion, simultaneously to enshrine academic freedom, tenure, and a dictator. A truly creative act would have anticipated John Seely Brown’s framework, in which the admin, academic, and accrediting parts of the university are separated, and tenders accepted for use of the physical infrastructure …” (more)

[Seán O Nualláin, University Blog on Academic Tenure, 26 April]

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