Former DCU president steps down from Scottish university role amid controversy

Posted in Governance and administration on August 14th, 2018 by steve

“The former president of Dublin City University (DCU), Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, is stepping down from his position as principal of Scotland’s Robert Gordon University (RGU) after a conflict of interest controversy …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 14 August]

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Inquiry call in Robert Gordon University ‘cronyism’ row

Posted in Governance and administration on August 11th, 2018 by steve

“A union has called on the Scottish Funding Council to investigate the appointment of Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) new principal. Prof John Harper was chosen to lead the Aberdeen university after the departure of Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski …” (more)

[BBC News, 11 August]

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Former DCU president at centre of conflict-of-interest row in Scottish university

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on July 25th, 2018 by steve

“The former president of Dublin City University is at the centre of conflict-of-interest row at a Scottish university after his business partner was appointed to a top role at the institution. Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, who is the principal of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, is director of a company involved in the ownership of a €13-million castle in Ireland which was put up for sale at the end of last year …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 24 July]

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A presidential view: university metrics and the rise of mediocrity?

Posted in Governance and administration on July 10th, 2018 by steve

“The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, has not been reluctant to enter contentious debate during the course of his term of office to date. Most recently, at the launch of the Cambridge University Press History of Ireland, the President offered the following view on universities as comfortable hosts for academic studies …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 9 July]

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Call the doctor

Posted in Governance and administration on June 19th, 2018 by steve

“In the circles in which I once moved when I was still an active law lecturer, one of the regular questions colleagues from the United States of America would ask is whether, with a JD degree (‘Juris Doctor’), they were entitled to style themselves ‘Dr’. This often led to long discussions about how academic qualifications should be used by their holders to declare their status. I was awarded my own PhD in 1982 …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 18 June]

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Brexit and higher education – the Irish question resolved?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on June 12th, 2018 by steve

“Intractable discussions about how to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland may be continuing, but one element of the relationship between Ireland and the UK post-Brexit appears to be capable of a positive resolution …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 11 June]

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What do you want from your university? Skills, knowledge? Or just a degree?

Posted in Teaching on May 15th, 2018 by steve

“There is no shortage of studies suggesting that university graduates benefit significantly from their qualification as they progress through their careers. In 2015 it was suggested that the value of a university degree could be as much as £500,000 over a lifetime. If this is true, it is still not really clear what exactly confers this additional cash benefit: the knowledge acquired during studies? The skills, vocation-specific or transferable? Or is it maybe just the actual degree certificate, as an entry qualification into higher-paying jobs? …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 14 May]

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Do academic disciplines engage society?

Posted in Research on May 1st, 2018 by steve

“At a reception I once attended a senior public servant offered the following comment to me: ‘You guys [and I think he meant academics] are so caught up in your abstract studies and disciplines that you can’t really say anything useful to the rest of us.’ Well, of course I didn’t agree with him, but whether his comment had any merit isn’t my point here …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 1 May]

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What exactly is teaching?

Posted in Teaching on March 13th, 2018 by steve

“My generation of academic has learned to expect a constant re-assessment of what it is we actually do once we are in the classroom, or indeed during any moment of our professional activities. We used to say pretty confidently that we were ‘teaching’. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s it became absolutely necessary to describe classroom engagement as ‘teaching and learning’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 12 March]

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Away from home

Posted in Life on March 6th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Some 44 years ago I became an undergraduate student at Trinity College Dublin. On my first day as a student, I took a guided tour of the institution organised by the Student Representative Council (as it was then called). I started chatting with two other students …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 5 March]

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Where would you find the higher education elite?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 27th, 2018 by steve

“Last year the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) identified excellence in teaching and learning in United Kingdom universities. When the results were published, a frequent observation in the media, as in this case, was that many ‘elite UK universities’ had been found to be less than excellent …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 27 February]

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Finding value in higher education

Posted in Governance and administration on February 20th, 2018 by steve

“Today the British government launched a new review of English higher education, the aim being ‘to ensure a joined-up system that works for everyone’. This review has been heavily trailed for some time, and appears to be based on a sense of uneasiness with the existing framework …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 19 February]

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A learning society?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 6th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Since about the late 1980s, one of the key assumptions of all higher education planning has been that university education would not in future be mainly focused on the learner progression of school leavers but would be available to people at various stages of their lives and for different reasons. The concept of ‘lifelong learning’ was born, and it informed a good bit of education policy over the ensuing decades …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 5 February]

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The hard slog for university gender equality

Posted in Governance and administration on January 23rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“In the late 1980s I addressed a session of the annual meeting of the Conference of University Personnel Administrators – as it was then called: it is now Universities Human Resources (UHR). At the time I was a Lecturer in Industrial Relations in Trinity College Dublin, and one of my specialisms was equality and discrimination in employment. I was asked to reflect on the state of gender equality in universities …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 22 January]

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Public funding of autonomous universities: living with the complexities

Posted in Governance and administration on January 16th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Some years ago, when I was still President of Dublin City University, I attended a meeting between Irish government officials and university heads to discuss national higher education strategy. At one point the conversation focused on university autonomy. Everyone agree that such autonomy is vital for an internationally successful higher education system; but what exactly did ‘autonomy’ mean? It quickly became clear that each of the the two groups had a very different understanding of the term …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 15 January]

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Universities: the senior salary spotlight

Posted in Governance and administration on December 12th, 2017 by steve

“Over recent weeks, the salaries of some university leaders have been in the spotlight, and in a manner not calculated to help universities in their necessary drive for wider public support as they pursue their mission …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Diary, 12 December]

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Screen them out?

Posted in Teaching on November 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“One morning in 1986 I walked into a classroom in Trinity College Dublin to deliver one of my scintillating lectures. Just as I was about to start, the lecture theatre door opened and a student walked in carrying – no, I’ll say lugging – what turned out to be a so-called a ‘portable computer’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Universty Blog, 28 November]

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Former DCU president’s castle on sale for €13.5m

Posted in Life on November 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Westmeath family home of former DCU president Ferdinand von Prondzynski has been placed for sale on the international market seeking €13.5 million. The 19th-century Gothic Revival property on more than 1,000 acres near Mullingar has been owned by the academic’s family since his parents left their home in Germany …” (more)

[Madeleine Lyons, Irish Times, 16 November]

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Re-discovering confidence in higher education

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

“I recently had a drink with a man who works for a think tank. I have known him for some time, as I gave him his first job, some years ago, in the university where I then worked. He enjoyed a promising academic career, and was promoted twice. But then he left university life …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 6 November]

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Brexit perspectives in the academy

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2017 by steve

“Apparently like all university heads in the United Kingdom, I received a letter this week from Mr Chris Heaton-Harris MP, a Conservative Whip in the House of Commons and, as his own website states, a ‘fierce Eurosceptic’. In his letter, Mr Heaton-Harris asks me to supply him with the names of professors ‘who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 25 October]

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