ASTI Standing Committee expresses deep anger that teachers are being targeted again

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The ASTI Standing Committee met this afternoon to consider the Labour Relations Commission’s proposals. Standing Committee expressed its deep anger at proposals to further worsen the pay and working conditions of teachers …” (more)

[ASTI, 27 February]

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TUI to recommend rejection of new Croke Park proposals

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The Teachers Union of Ireland is to recommend to members that they reject the proposed new Croke Park agreement in a forthcoming ballot. The union has about 15,500 members in second and third level education …” (more)

[Martin Wall and Mark Hilliard, Irish Times, 27 February]

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It Pays For Scientists to Travel, Former Researcher Argues at US House Hearing

Posted in Life on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“It helps to have a scientist in the House. Especially in the US House of Representatives. Rush Holt, the physicist-turned-Democratic congressman from New Jersey, proved that this afternoon at a hearing where he vigorously defended the need for scientists to travel to conferences …” (more)

[Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, ScienceInsider, 27 February]

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The homeless man in the library

Posted in Life on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“I’m intrigued by the story of a homeless man slipping into St John’s College Library at Cambridge for several weeks. Good on him, is the only thing I can say. There are certainly worse places to while away a cold winter’s day …” (more)

[The History Woman’s Blog, 27 February]

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Disrupting Higher Education – III

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“In the photo montage on the left (by Catherine Cronin on flickr), pictured speaking at last week’s symposium in Trinity College Dublin on Disrupting Higher Education were, (from the left) Audrey Watters, Sian Bayne and Diana Laurillard …” (more)

[Eoin O’Dell, Cearta, 27 February]

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New Science Body to Advise European Commission President

Posted in Research on February 27th, 2013 by steve

EU“The European Commission has set up a science advisory body that will report directly to its president, José Manuel Barroso. The Science and Technology Advisory Council will identify areas where research and innovation can contribute to Europe’s growth …” (more)

[Tania Rabesandratana, with reporting by Kai Kupferschmidt, ScienceInsider, 27 February]

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Student Grant Scheme Design

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 27th, 2013 by steve

Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider changing the student grant scheme so that mortgage repayments are considered in the means test for grant eligibility due to there being an increasing number of families that have suffered drastic reductions in means under the burden of substantial home mortgage payments that have not reduced or that may have increased as a result of recent hikes in interest rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann Written Answers, 26 February]

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Croke Park Agreement

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the savings in payroll he is seeking in 2013 are contingent on a successful conclusion to talks to extend the Croke Park Agreement; the way he will ensure that public services including frontline public services are maintained following completion of the talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann, 27 February]

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Public servants union CPSU threatens industrial action

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The Civil Public and Services Union, which represents lower-ranked public servants has threatened industrial action if measures in the €1bn state pay deal are enforced …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 27 February]

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Sequester Threatens University Research Funding and Federal Student Aid

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The impending federal budget cuts known as the sequester, which will go into effect on Friday without action by Congress, are poised to have a significantly negative effect on both public and private universities nationwide …” (more)

[Tyler Kingkade, Huffington Post, 27 February]

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Statement from USI President John Logue on the result of the affiliation referendum in UCD

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“It is with great regret that I note the results of a referendum of UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) which will result in its disaffiliation from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) …” (more)

[USI, Facebook, 27 February]

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Willetts urges UK universities to put courses online

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“UK universities should invest in online courses if they are to take advantage of an ‘historic opportunity’, said Universities Minister David Willetts …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 27 February]

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UCD students vote to leave national students’ union

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“Students in UCD have voted to leave the national umbrella body of student unions, the Union of Students in Ireland …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 27 February]

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North West Regional College needs new leadership, says Ramsey

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The SDLP’s Pat Ramsey says he is not convinced that industrial relations at the North West Regional College will improve without new leadership. The MLA for Foyle was speaking at a committee meeting of the Department of Employment …” (more)

[BBC News, 27 February]

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Great idea, but for now ORCID doesn’t match how humanities publication works

Posted in Research on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“It has been very encouraging to see the launch and early success of ORCID, a service which on the face of it would seem to offer a solution to one of the key problems of decentralised scholarship and publication: how to connect, in a machine-readable way, all of your published output …” (more)

[Peter Webster, Impact of Social Sciences, 27 February]

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Month of birth affects chance of attending Oxbridge

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The likelihood of becoming a student at Oxford or Cambridge Universities can be strongly influenced by date of birth. Last year the chance of someone born in October becoming an Oxbridge undergraduate was more than 30% higher than for someone born in July …” (more)

[BBC News, 27 February]

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Lack of clarity on compulsory redundancy

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

IrelandSo very often in negotiated agreements, the parties have to choose between an agreement that is clear and an agreement that is, well, actually agreed. A case in point is the new draft Croke Part II provision on “exit mechanisms”, which has this to say on compulsory redundancy:

4.2 The Government reaffirms the commitment given under Paragraph 1.6 of the Public Service Agreement that compulsory redundancy will not apply within the public service. However, this commitment is subject to the following exceptions:

– Where existing exit mechanisms have applied, such arrangements will continue.

– The commitment on compulsory redundancy continues to be subject to the agreed flexibility on redeployment being delivered. Where redeployment is not an option and taking account of the business needs of the organisation there may be circumstances where voluntary departure would be appropriate. In such situations there will be discussions with the relevant unions on the terms of any arrangement (which will be in line with any centrally agreed arrangements) …”

Now obviously this makes no (semantic) sense. Any proposed redundancy is a case where the employer considers that “departure would be appropriate”, and either departure is voluntary or it isn’t. If it is really voluntary, then it shouldn’t be discussed under the heading of “compulsory redundancy”. If it isn’t, then it’s inaccurate to apply the word “voluntary” to it. I suppose the real question (on which the wording gives little clue) is, Who gets to decide whether “voluntary departure would be appropriate”. Guesses, anyone?

The Blogmeister

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Public sector unions to campaign for a rejection of Croke Park II

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“Unions representing staff at either end of the hierarchy in the civil service are to campaign for a rejection of Croke Park II …” (more)

[Stephen Rogers, Mary Regan and Shaun Connolly, Irish Examiner, 27 February]

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Union solidarity the first victim of Croke Park II

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The position faced by the leaders of the public service unions who renegotiated Croke Park is quite without precedent in Irish industrial relations …” (more)

[Bill Roche, Irish Times, 27 February]

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Pension cut for top State retirees likely to yield maximum of €20m

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2013 by steve

“The projected saving from cutting the pensions of the State’s highest-paid retirees has been estimated at a maximum of €20 million per year, a tiny sum compared with the projected yield of €1 billion from the new Croke Park agreement …” (more)

[Arthur Beesley, Irish Times, 27 February]

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