‘Missed chance for campus’ as Slaney Manor set for sale

Posted in Governance and administration on August 31st, 2019 by steve

Ireland“As a prime Wexford property is expected to come on the market this week, Wexford’s Mayor says it’s a missed opportunity for Wexford Campus. Slaney Manor in Barntown is due to be listed for sale in coming days …” (more)

[Pádraig Byrne, Wexford People, 31 August]

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Nominations open for Chancellorship of Trinity

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Nominations for the next Chancellor of the University of Dublin (Trinity College), have officially opened as of today. The College Registrar, Professor Paula Murphy, sent out an email this morning to all members of the university senate, requesting nominations for the role …” (more)

[Finn Purdy, Trinity News, 30 August]

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Leading Muslim figure claims he was fired from Trinity College over female circumcision comments

Posted in Legal issues on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A leading figure in Ireland’s Muslim community has claimed he was fired from his teaching post in Trinity College Dublin as a result of controversial comments he made during an appearance on RTÉ in early 2018. The Labour Court heard an appeal today by Ali Selim, a lecturer in Arabic, against an award of €4,000 made by the Workplace Relations Commission that he had been unfairly dismissed by the university last September …” (more)

[Seán McCárthaigh, BreakingNews.ie, 30 August]

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IT Tralee and CIT confident the state will cover remaining integration costs associated with merger

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“IT Tralee and CIT are confident the state will cover the remaining integration costs associated with their merger. The Munster Technological University is the planned result of the merger between the Institute of Technology Tralee and Cork Institute of Technology, a process which was first mooted in 2009 …” (more)

[Radio Kerry News, 30 August]

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Almost €100 million investment under Project Ireland 2040 for five major building projects in higher education institutions

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD and the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today announced almost €100 million is to be invested by the Government in major building projects at five higher education institutions …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 30 August]

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State approves €100m for higher education building projects

Posted in Governance and administration on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The State has approved €100m for five large higher education building projects. The funding is part of ongoing investment in the sector through Project Ireland 2040 and a fund known as the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund (HESIF) …” (more)

[Emma O Kelly, RTÉ News, 30 August]

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Surge in Leaving Cert students appealing grades

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 30th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The number of Leaving Cert students seeking rechecks of their marks has surged by 75%, prompting the State Examinations Commission to reassure those appealing that it plans to issue their results on time. More than 9,000 students – or 16% of all candidates – appealed some 17,000 Leaving Cert grades this year, the highest number on record …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 30 August]

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Students allegedly given sponge sheets for beds and told they can only cook instant noodles while renting Dublin city centre ‘apartment’ hidden in tiny industrial unit

Posted in Life on August 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Four Malaysian students are locked in a bitter deposit dispute after leaving what might be Dublin’s most shocking rented accommodation. Unbelievable photos show what appears to be a small industrial lot that has now been converted into an ‘apartment’ in the capital’s city centre …” (more)

[Gavin O’Callaghan, DublinLive, 29 August]

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Minister Mitchell O’Connor opens the inaugural REACT [Responding to Excessive Consumption of Alcohol in Third Level] awards in DCU

Posted in Governance and administration on August 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today, 28 August, visited DCU and presented the students and staff in 10 of Ireland’s 3rd level institutions with awards in recognition of their efforts to reduce harm experienced by students from excess use of alcohol. The Minister said: …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 28 August]

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Major drop in points for top courses on CAO second round

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The second round of college offers brought good news for 2,513 CAO applicants, with many receiving a place on their top-choice course. No new offers were made for the majority of courses, but there was plenty to celebrate with significant points drops on some hotly contested programmes. Among the Level 8 (honours degree) disciplines with the most new offers were arts (219), health (239), social and behavioural sciences (169), business (159), engineering (145) and nursing (132) …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 29 August]

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Maynooth seminary is facing the future

Posted in Governance and administration on August 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In an article in The Irish Times, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin posed a question for St Patrick’s College, Maynooth: ‘What role does it play in the overall intellectual ethos of the country?’ (Patsy McGarry, ‘Maynooth seminary “trapped in an old vision”, says Archbishop of Dublin’, News, August 27th). We are happy to have this opportunity to respond …” (more)

[Declan Marmion, Irish Times, 29 August]

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Student accommodation development soars but new investments set to slow

Posted in Governance and administration on August 29th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The purpose-built student accommodation market has seen continued growth in both development and investment activity over the 12 months to the end of June. According to a report by Cushman & Wakefield, a total of 2,133 PBSA bed spaces have completed construction during the period bringing total standing stock in Dublin to 13,476 bed spaces …” (more)

[Donal Buckley, Independent, 29 August]

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Poaching of university staff – a brief note

Posted in Legal issues on August 29th, 2019 by steve

IrelandMaynooth University have sued University College Dublin, saying that one of their professors was persuaded by UCD to move to that institution. MU are not trying to prevent the move, but they insist that UCD have acted illegally, and want the High Court to issue a declaration to that effect. Certainly persuading academic staff to change their employer is not as such illegal, but legally speaking there is more to this.

First, MU point to an agreement of 2006, between the chief officers of the seven universities, designed to cool down any developing transfer market. Each undertook to ensure that recruitment would be ‘open and transparent and on the basis of international best practice’, to be mindful of each other’s areas of strategic importance, and to look for possibilities for collaboration.

Second, Irish legislation requires that university appointments procedures be set out ‘in a statute or regulation’ (Universities Act 1997, s 25(1)); and UCD’s statutes and regulations, at least as published online, don’t seem to allow for simply approaching some likely lad/lass and offering a professorship – appointments must usually either be by internal promotion or by open competition (see here, here and here). Having said that, the circumstances aren’t entirely clear – if this case falls into some exception in the current regulations, then no doubt UCD will point this out in short order.

Both arguments are serious, though neither seems absolutely watertight. The 2006 wording is in many respects vague, which makes it hard to demonstrate breach of the agreement, and may even suggest that it doesn’t constitute a legal contract. Its duration is vague too – and it certainly doesn’t say it binds in perpetuity. Non-compliance with the 1997 Act may be easier to demonstrate, though some may wonder about MU’s standing to complain of this – Why should they have a legal interest in UCD’s employment strategy? And if the problem is the lack of a regulation to cover this situation, UCD could resolve that for the future very easily, by writing one. So as a matter of strict law, UCD may have relatively little to worry about.

But winning the legal battle may lose them the war. If UCD are under no legal restraint in poaching staff from other Irish institutions, and can shrug off any obligation to respect ‘international best practice’ as non-binding, then yet another front opens up in the struggles each Irish university must engage in. It is hard to see how the DES will be happy with that. Quite unlike policy in a certain neighbouring jurisdiction, Irish national policy tends to stress the need for third level institutions to complement and support one another; Ireland competes with the world, but not so much with itself.

The DES have already signaled that they do not want this matter before the courts. With the ministers openly calling for ideas to include in revised university legislation, and ostentatiously planning to beef up the powers of the regulator, this is not the time to be trumpeting a current freedom to act in a way that might be considered uncollegial. So universities must settle their quarrels between themselves, or have them settled by others – peace has to break out.

But on what terms?

The Blogmeister

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Teachers’ union to ballot for industrial action over two-tier pay

Posted in Governance and administration on August 28th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A teachers’ union is to ballot members next month to renew its mandate for industrial action as tensions rise over controversial two-tier pay scales. The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has announced it will ballot its 18,000 members for a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike action, as part of its campaign to end pay discrimination …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 28 August]

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The average graduate starting salary is now over €30,000

Posted in Life on August 28th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The averge graduate starting salary has now exceeded €30,000, according to a new report. The average starting salary is now €30,409, up from €29,060 last year, figures in the latest GradIreland salary and recruitment trends survey show …” (more)

[Órla Ryan, TheJournal.ie, 28 August]

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Minister ‘offering vague solutions’ to mental health crisis among students

Posted in Governance and administration on August 28th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor has been accused of ‘offering sympathy’ but ‘only vague solutions’ to what has been described as a mental health crisis among college students. The claim, from Fianna Fáil mental health spokesman James Browne, came after the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) published a report showing 38% of students experience extreme levels of anxiety …” (more)

[Cormac McQuinn, Independent, 28 August]

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10 third-level students have their say about mental health

Posted in Life on August 27th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“On Tuesday, a report published by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) – and funded by the HSE – claimed that one third of students are experiencing ‘extremely severe levels of anxiety’. The National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level Education surveyed students on their experiences with mental health and mental health services …” (more)

[Damian Cullen, Irish Times, 27 August]

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Universities set for High Court battle over alleged ‘poaching’ of staff member

Posted in Legal issues on August 27th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“One of Ireland’s universities is suing another third-level institution over the alleged ‘poaching’ of one of its academic staff. The National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) has brought High Court proceedings against University College Dublin (UCD) …” (more)

[Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh, BreakingNews.ie, 27 August]

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Almost a third of students in Ireland depressed

Posted in Life on August 27th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A third of students are experiencing ‘extremely severe levels of anxiety’ and have had a formal diagnosis of a mental health difficulty at some point in their lives, according to a report by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). The National Report on Student Mental Health in Third Level Education surveyed 3,340 students on aspects of their experiences with mental health and mental health services in third level education. It was funded by the Health Service Executive …” (more)

[Colin Gleeson, Irish Times, 27 August]

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Maynooth seminary ‘trapped in an old vision’, says Archbishop of Dublin

Posted in Governance and administration on August 27th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Catholic Church’s national seminary at Maynooth is ‘still trapped in an old vision’, according to the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. Along with the other three Catholic archbishops in Ireland, and 13 diocesan bishops, Dr Martin is a trustee of St Patrick’s College and its associated university. He said St Patrick’s is ‘far too weak’ and needs radical reform …” (more)

[Patsy McGarry, Irish Times, 27 August]

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