World-Class Universities: what are they, and why are they relevant?

Posted in Research on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“In this article, published in Ireland’s Yearbook of Education 2017-2018, Professor Deeks discusses the characteristics of world-class universities, how these are measured, the challenges facing universities, their core role and their contribution to the economy and society …” (more)

[Education Matters, 31 August]

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Some thoughts on constructivism in a STEM context

Posted in Teaching on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Constructivism is now the dominant ideology within the Irish educational establishment. For a long time I’ve struggled to understand what constructivism actually is because most definitions seem pretty vague to me. But while perusing the UCD Teaching and Learning pages I came across this list of the characteristics of a constructivist learning environment and I’ve added a few comments on each point …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 31 August]

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University in fresh talks on Limerick city centre site

Posted in Governance and administration on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The University of Limerick and the Limerick Twenty Thirty company have held fresh talks with a view to the college having a ‘significant’ presence in the city centre. The Limerick Leader can this week reveal high-level discussions have taken place between representatives of the college and the company, which is charged with regenerating huge swathes of the city centre …” (more)

[Nick Rabbitts, Limerick Leader, 31 August]

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More than aspiration needed to tackle gender discrimination

Posted in Governance and administration on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The 10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education was held in Trinity College Dublin, on the 20th-22nd August 2018. This is the first occasion that this major biennial conference was held in Ireland …” (more)

[Irish Federation of University Teachers, 30 August]

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‘Serious data protection flaw’ in Student Leap Card system

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“There is a ‘serious flaw’ in the Student Leap Card system which allows college agents access to the personal details of a large number of students across the country, without their knowledge …” (more)

[Jack Power, Irish Times, 30 August]

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Only a third of graduates return to NI

Posted in Life on August 31st, 2018 by steve

“Only a third of students from Northern Ireland who graduated in England, Scotland or Wales in 2017 returned home to work. By contrast, almost nine in 10 of those graduating in NI got a job and stayed in Northern Ireland …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 31 August]

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Private sector workers earn €14k less than those in public sector

Posted in Governance and administration on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Private sector workers’ earnings rose faster than public servants’ in the last year – but they still make more than €14,000 a year less. New figures reveal the average private sector worker’s weekly wage increased 84c more than a public sector worker’s over 12 months …” (more)

[Anne Marie Walsh and Laura Larkin, Independent, 30 August]

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Housing crisis may have lead to drop in CAO points

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“It is believed a drop in points for college courses in round two of the CAO offers may be down to the housing crisis. Points have fallen for almost 50 courses in Trinity, DIT, UCC and UCD, with both Trinity and UCD seeing points go down in more than 20 courses, while UCC offered 16 courses on lower points and DIT offered 12 …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 30 August]

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Trinity College plans to spend €170,000 on wine

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Trinity College Dublin’s catering unit is planning to spend more than €1,600 a week on wine solely for private events, with the average bottle set to cost just over €20. The university is advertising for a distributor to supply it with at least 8,466 bottles at a total estimated cost of €170,000 excluding value added tax (VAT) over a two-year period …” (more)

[Peter Hamilton, Irish Times, 30 August]

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If we don’t support students, how can we expect our society to flourish?

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“This month more than 50,000 students received CAO offers for places in third-level colleges amid a national accommodation crisis, with many wondering how they will find accommodation in the face of rising rents and a housing shortage …” (more)

[Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh
and Megan Reilly, Irish Times, 30 August]

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What we’ve learned from the CAO round two offers

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“As was the case last year, colleges were able to fill the majority of their programmes in round one and did not need to offer additional places in round two. However, there are some trends that are clear from the 2,226 places that were offered on Wednesday …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 30 August]

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UCC cuts the jargon in new Instagram campaign

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“University College Cork has successfully launched a social media campaign aimed at presenting complex ideas and research in a straightforward way to a general audience. It featured attention-grabbing portraits of researchers taken by Cork-based photographer Clare Keogh, accompanied by accessible explanations of their work …” (more)

[Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 30 August]

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Barnacle, Schmidt and Cuthbert, ‘Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place’

Posted in Teaching on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Abstract: Expertise is under sustained interrogation. We see it in so‐called edu‐scepticism and pessimism about graduates’ apparently diminishing employment prospects, challenges to the role of Higher Education institutions as arbiters of knowledge and post‐truth rhetoric more broadly. This paper examines how the PhD is being discursively positioned in this context. We ask what these changing conceptions of expertise, education and work mean for how PhD‐level expertise is understood. Drawing on a range of sources, from the scholarly to the wider media, we draw together five exemplar models of expertise to expose the transforming ratio between generalist, transferable skills and specialist knowledge. The evident diminution of specialisation raises numerous issues for the PhD as it is increasingly called upon to serve multiple and potentially contradictory needs: an innovation society on the one hand and the discipline on the other. Reconciling the tension between depth and breadth is an important issue for a degree whose hallmark is – or at least has been – depth.

Robyn Barnacle, Christine Schmidt and Denise Cuthbert, Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place, Higher Education Quarterly. First published: 29 August 2018. https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12181.

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College places for 2,226 in second round of CAO offers

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“More than 2,000 students are celebrating a college offer after the CAO issued its second round. About two-thirds of the 2,226 who received offers yesterday now have the choice of a course higher up their CAO preference list, while 771 have their first offer of the season …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 30 August]

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Published … the alienated academic: the struggle for autonomy inside the University

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2018 by steve

“I have a new monograph out with Palgrave Macmillan, entitled ‘The Alienated Academic: The Struggle for Autonomy Inside the University’. The book’s abstract is as follows: Higher education is increasingly unable to engage usefully with global emergencies, as its functions are repurposed for value. Discourses of entrepreneurship, impact and excellence, realised through competition and the market, mean that academics and students are increasingly alienated from themselves and their work …” (more)

[Richard Hall’s Space, 29 August]

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CAO 2018: Points may have dropped due to housing crisis

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 29th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The difficulties facing students trying to source accommodation in Dublin may be behind a significant drop in points for courses at some of the country’s biggest third-level institutions in the second round of CAO offers. Overall, more than 2,300 students have been offered courses in the second round following a reduction in points requirements …” (more, detail of round 2 offers)

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

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Higher Education Authority raised department role before CEO resigned

Posted in Governance and administration on August 29th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Higher Education Authority board members raised the role of the Department of Education in their work with a senior official less than three months before the authority’s chief executive stepped down. Graham Love’s resignation, announced on the HEA website a week ago, is strongly linked to the perceived micro-management of the statutory body’s work by the department …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 29 August]

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Brian Cox, exams and what Level 8 means

Posted in Teaching on August 28th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“In a recent interview, Brian Cox, physicist and science communicator, said this: ‘I think it is the wrong message that their job as students is to pass an exam. It really is not; it is to understand their subject’. I think we’ve all encountered the student who seems to be a good exam performer but when you chat to them in a lab or work with them on a project, you are puzzled as to how they are doing so well. But, in my experience, this sort of student is rare …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 28 August]

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The academic life – student emails

Posted in Life on August 28th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“It seems to me that these days students aren’t as keen on using email as they used to be (especially from their official university account) which may mean that they’re using it reluctantly and are unsure of the right tone to use. I have had a small number of emails from students over the years that I found rather rude (I mean blunt rather than abusive) …” (more)

[In the Dark, 28 August]

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University Challenge to introduce ‘gender neutral’ questions to encourage more female contestants

Posted in Life on August 28th, 2018 by steve

“The producers of University Challenge are looking to introduce ‘gender neutral’ questions to the series. Executive producer Peter Gwyn has said that the questions told on the British quiz show – which has previously come under fire for featuring questions that reflect the achievements of men more than women – will strive for gender balance …” (more)

[Jack Shepherd, Independent, 28 August]

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