Disrupting institutional entitlement in higher education: the Teaching Excellence Framework

Posted in Teaching on June 27th, 2017 by steve

“Let me first of all declare an interest. This post is going to be about the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in the UK. My university, Robert Gordon University, entered, and was awarded a Gold rating. So you may conclude that this colours my judgement. But let me first go back some ten years to a meeting I attended on university rankings …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 26 June]

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The Great Exodus

Posted in Governance and administration on June 20th, 2017 by steve

“All of us in the United Kingdom, and universities specifically, are still struggling to discern what the practical implications of Brexit will be. We are not helped by the total confusion in the matter right now, with no clear consensus either in the UK government or the opposition as to what should be the desired outcome of the negotiations that began, sort of, in Brussels yesterday …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 19 June]

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Students first?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 23rd, 2017 by steve

“A survey in the United States of America has found that ‘nearly three out of five Americans believe that higher-education leaders put the long-term interests of their institutions first over the needs of students’. This is, I suppose, a variant of the view held by some in this part of the world that managerialist higher education leaders prioritise business projects over educational excellence …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 22 May]

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The literacy imperative

Posted in Teaching on May 16th, 2017 by steve

“The history of social progress, of public health, of prosperity has all been closely connected with the advance of literacy. Societies with high literacy rates are capable of social and technological progress that evades those with low literacy. The fact, for example, that the Central African Republic has a literacy rate of 37%, while in Germany it is 100%, gives you a very close idea of the difference in wellbeing between the two countries …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 15 May]

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Opening up the university

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on April 11th, 2017 by steve

“In 1979, when I was working on my PhD in Cambridge, I was invited to address a short course on employment law conducted by the university’s Department of Extra-Mural Studies, located a little outside the town in the amazing Madingley Hall …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 10 April]

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The articulation challenge

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 28th, 2017 by steve

“The aim of widening access to higher education has been a public policy priority in a number of countries for some time. The intention is to ensure that a university degree is not seen as a privilege to be claimed primarily by the wealthy, but as an entitlement based on intellectual attainment and ability …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 27 March]

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Fake universities

Posted in Governance and administration on March 21st, 2017 by steve

“We have all had to get accustomed to ‘fake news’, but we should also pay attention to the rise of fake universities. For those who think this is a minor issue, the global statistics do not support them. It is a feature both of developing and developed countries, and it is surprisingly difficult to police …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 March]

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The world today: it’s all about migration

Posted in Governance and administration on March 14th, 2017 by steve

“Whatever part of the world or country or region you may call your own, the population you share it with got there largely as a result of mass migration. Most of Europe is populated by those whose ancestors took part in the major movements of Völkerwanderung, and populations changed and shifted through major major migration or conquests …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 14 March]

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Spoiling the party (redux)

Posted in Governance and administration on March 7th, 2017 by steve

“Hot on the heels of my comments last week came the publication of a ‘briefing paper’ by the Adam Smith Institute, claiming to have found evidence that ‘individuals with left-wing and liberal views are overrepresented in British academia’. This conclusion is based on some at best very arguable analysis …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 March]

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Living with semesters

Posted in Teaching on February 7th, 2017 by steve

“Most universities in the English-speaking world (though as we shall note, not all) organise their academic sessions into semesters. A ‘semester’, just in case this needs to be explained, is according to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘a period or term of six months’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 February]

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Universities and citizenship

Posted in Teaching on January 31st, 2017 by steve

“For those of us whose understanding of political and social values may have taken something of a battering over the past week or so, here’s an interesting intervention from an American university president …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 31 January]

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Universities in the uncertain world of Brexit

Posted in Governance and administration on January 17th, 2017 by steve

“There was never any doubt where the higher education sector stood on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Right from the start, Universities UK took a strong position in favour of the EU, and sponsored a campaign group entitled Universities for Europe. This almost certainly aligned with a widespread view amongst academics, as reflected indeed in guest posts in this blog …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 16 January]

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Higher education: the value proposition

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on December 20th, 2016 by steve

“There are few people who would argue that higher education does not have value, both for the student or graduate and for society. But perceptions of what that value is, and who or what derives the most benefit from it, can vary greatly. In addition, some people have, over recent years, claimed that the growth of higher education has been accompanied or even prompted by a neoliberal perspective that has corrupted educational principles …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 19 December]

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Class action

Posted in Legal issues on December 6th, 2016 by steve

UK“Here’s a thing to gladden the hearts of my lawyer friends. Let’s say you’re a student and you’ve just got your exam results. You didn’t do as well as you were expecting. But you’re made of tough stuff and get on with your life. Some years later you think, hang on, if my result had been a little better I’d be a lot richer now. So why not sue the university and let them make up the difference in money …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 6 December]

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The global world of higher education. Or maybe not.

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 8th, 2016 by steve

UK“We are now nearly five months on from the ‘Brexit’ referendum in which a narrow majority of the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. It is generally assumed by commentators (although of course there is no actual statistical evidence) that the key driver of this decision was opposition to immigration …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 8 November]

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People talk about interdisciplinarity, but will we ever really do it?

Posted in Research on November 1st, 2016 by steve

Scotland“During my first year as a lecturer in 1981 I attended a workshop on ‘the protection of academic disciplines’. The event had been organised by a group of academics from various subject areas who wanted to draw attention to the risk, as they saw it, of scholarship and knowledge being put at risk by an obsession with interdisciplinary studies and research …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 31 October]

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Thumbs down for educational technology?

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2016 by steve

Scotland“It is exactly 30 years ago today that I took delivery of my first personal computer. It was an Apple Macintosh, and it had an incredible 1 megabyte of RAM and, er, no hard drive …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 October]

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Brexit outside Britain

Posted in Governance and administration on October 4th, 2016 by steve

UK“Those of us living in the United Kingdom may, in the light of recent excitements here, sometimes forget that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (‘Brexit’) does not just have repercussions in Britain …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 3 October]

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The academic career?

Posted in Life on August 30th, 2016 by steve

Scotland“Every so often someone asks me whether I would recommend academia as a career option, and to be honest I am never quite sure what to say. Of course the academy has been very good to me, but what can someone entering the profession today expect? …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 29 August]

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The right participation?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 23rd, 2016 by steve

Scotland“It is that time of year again, when (at least in this part of the world) school examination results are out and universities make their final student selection decisions. It is also the time of year when questions are asked, again, about how many people should ideally participate in higher education …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 22 August]

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