General Election 2020 – Five Steps to Revive Higher Education

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on January 21st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“IFUT calls on all parties forming the next government to adopt the following as part of the Programme for Government: 1. Phase out student fees and revise the grant system to address the excessive costs for so many in, or contemplating entering, Higher Education …” (more)

[IFUT, 20 January]

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Academic freedom is under threat around the world – here’s how to defend it

Posted in Governance and administration on October 11th, 2019 by steve

International“Academic freedom is at the heart of successful universities. UNESCO defines it as the right ‘to freedom of teaching and discussion, freedom in carrying out research and disseminating and publishing results’. Academics have pointed out that it also means self-governance and security of academic jobs to ensure independence …” (more)

[Eva Pils and Marina Svensson, Academic Matters, 10 October]


Third level reforms will have ‘no implications’ for academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on July 25th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The Department of Education has insisted that plans for sweeping reforms to the regulation of third level institution will not undermine the autonomy of universities. Minister of State for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has published detailed legislative proposals for the reform of the 50-year-old Higher Education Authority Act …” (more)

[Irish Times, 25 July]

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Academic Freedom at Risk in Italy

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on May 30th, 2019 by steve

“Calls by Italy’s far-right governing party for a book about it to be removed from a university reading list have been met with limited resistance, Italian academics have warned, opening the door for further attacks on academic freedom in the future. Last month, a regional branch of the League, part of Italy’s governing coalition and currently the country’s most popular party, demanded the removal of La Lega di Salvini from the reading list of a course taught by a political science professor at the University of Bologna …” (more)

[David Matthews, Inside Higher Ed, 30 May]

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Academic Freedom Goes to Court

Posted in Governance and administration on December 15th, 2017 by steve

“The repression of academics in Turkey is worsening, writes Scott McLemee, who describes the growing international protest on behalf of such scholars and how one might join it …” (more)

[Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed, 15 December]

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Israel and academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration on June 29th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The Irish Federation of University Teachers wishes to draw attention to a ‘code of ethics’ being considered by the government in Israel for its academic institutions. It represents a threat not only to academic freedom but to Israel’s standing as a democracy …” (more)

[Mike Jennings, Irish Times, 29 June]

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How should universities respond when academic freedom is under threat?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 13th, 2017 by steve

“When European university leaders met last month for the annual European University Association conference in Bergen, Norway, top of the agenda was university independence and academic freedom. The focus on autonomy was timely …” (more)

[Paul Boyle, Times Higher Education, 13 May]

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President warns of threat to academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration on November 30th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“President Michael D Higgins has warned of the growing global threat to academic freedom and democracy, just days after he controversially paid tribute to Fidel Castro …” (more)

[Allison Bray, Independent, 30 November]

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Academic Freedom Under Threat Everywhere

Posted in Governance and administration on November 8th, 2016 by steve

International“In the current political climate, academic freedom is perhaps the most contested aspect of higher education. As noted often in Inside Higher Education, University World News and other media outlets, the situation seems to be getting worse all over the world …” (more)

[Hans de Wit and Kathryn Hanson, Inside Higher Ed, 7 November]


If you blog, will you lose your job? via @THESISWHISPERER

Posted in Life on June 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“One of the joys of working as an educator at third level is the academic freedom that we enjoy. This isn’t a licence to do whatever we like, but in my case it allows me to run a YouTube channel (which I would not have been able to do in my previous job because it would have been in competition with the company’s business), and to blog …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 7 June]

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Martyn Hammersley, ‘Can Academic Freedom be Justified? Reflections on the Arguments of Robert Post and Stanley Fish’

Posted in Legal issues, Research on February 1st, 2016 by steve

UKAbstract: It is widely recognised that academic freedom is currently under threat. But there is also considerable dispute about the meaning of the term. In this paper I examine two recent and important accounts of the nature of academic freedom that seek to distinguish it clearly from free speech. Such a distinction is, in my view, essential. The aim of the paper is to clarify and resolve differences between these two accounts, and thereby to develop further the conceptualisation of academic freedom.

Martyn Hammersley, Can Academic Freedom be Justified? Reflections on the Arguments of Robert Post and Stanley Fish. Higher Education Quarterly, article first published online: 1 February


Managerialism risks destroying our universities, warns IFUT General Secretary

Posted in Governance and administration on May 9th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Huge damage is being done to independence and freedom of decision-making in the University Sector due to the new ‘managerialist’ approach increasingly asserting itself in our universities Mike Jennings, General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said at the organisations Annual Conference in Dublin …” (more)

[Irish Federation of University Teachers, 9 May]

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‘On free speech and academic freedom: responsibilities and complicities’: Thomas Docherty, 25 March, 4pm, Maynooth University

Posted in Governance and administration on March 10th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“… Andrew Gibson has hailed Docherty as, along with Stefan Collini, ‘a major contemporary heir to Newman, a defender of a sober, principled, honourable, sophisticated, demanding and by no means idealized concept of the university’ …” (more)

Department of English Seminar Series. Wednesday, March 25, 2015 – 16:00, JHL6, 2nd Floor, Hume Building, Maynooth University.

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Stanley Fish on Academic Freedom

Posted in Legal issues on February 18th, 2015 by steve

USA“Interested in academic freedom? If so, you should read Stanley Fish’s new book, Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution. I hasten to add that you should disagree with much of it, and you probably will. But Fish is often right, in my view, and always interesting, even when he’s wrong …” (more)

[David Moshman, Huffington Post, 17 February]


IFUT rejects UCC attempts to impose new staff contracts

Posted in Governance and administration on February 12th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has demanded an urgent meeting to discuss proposed new staff contracts in University College Cork. The contracts seek to undermine or circumvent key aspects of labour practice, including areas such as unfair dismissal legislation, work location and academic freedom …” (more)

[Irish Federation of University Teachers, 11 February]

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Launch of Scholars at Risk Ireland Section’s Coordinating Committee – Wednesday, 10 December 2014 from 18:30 to 20:00, Trinity College Dublin

Posted in Governance and administration on December 3rd, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions dedicated to protecting threatened scholars, preventing attacks on higher education communities and promoting academic freedom worldwide. Universities Ireland is the Irish Section of Scholars at Risk …” (more, registration)

[Eventbrite, December]

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How the Adams arrest threatens academic freedom

Posted in Legal issues, Research on May 6th, 2014 by steve

“He might have been kept away from his family for four nights, and he might have found the prison food impossible to digest, but Gerry Adams isn’t actually the main victim of the British authorities’ latest raking-over of certain historical events of the Troubles. No, academic freedom is …” (more)

[Brendan O’Neill, spiked, 6 May]

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The right to offend?

Posted in Legal issues on February 25th, 2014 by steve

“Every so often in this blog – indeed about once a year – I am driven to write about freedom of speech. Free speech is one of the building blocks of real intellectual endeavour; without it scholarship has no integrity …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 25 February]

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Academic freedom ‘doesn’t really exist’

Posted in Governance and administration on November 12th, 2013 by steve

“‘Quietude’, self-censorship and ‘right-on’ lecturers were among the threats to ‘academic freedom in illiberal times’ identified in a debate organised by online magazine spiked (in association with Academics for Academic Freedom and Times Higher Education) at the House of Commons on 11 November …” (more)

[Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 12 November]


Third-level education is a ‘confidence trick and scam’, forum told

Posted in Governance and administration on October 24th, 2013 by steve

“University education has become ‘a confidence trick and a scam’, a gathering of students and academics at Dublin City University (DCU) heard yesterday at the start of a campaign against financial reforms at third level …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 24 October]

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