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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The philosopher’s stone

Posted in Teaching on October 10th, 2017 by steve

“Outside of the world of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, little attention is probably paid these days to the philosopher’s stone, or indeed the study of alchemy from which it derived. Even if we don’t now want to focus on the ostensible chemical transformation suggested by the concept (of base metals into gold or silver), alchemy provided an interesting framework for the study of life, enlightenment and perfection …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 9 October]

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Avoiding excessive student debt

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on October 3rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Last year in Ireland the Cassells Report (Investing in National Ambition: A Strategy for Funding Higher Education) offered three options for funding higher education. The third of these (deferred payment of fees through income-contingent loans) was clearly seen as the best option …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 2 October]

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Higher education leadership – for sharing?

Posted in Governance and administration on September 26th, 2017 by steve

“Shared leadership has become a popular (if not always well understood) concept in recent times, and has been a topic of analysis within higher education. The academy was traditionally seen as a collegiate body in which a ceremonial primacy was granted to one of its own in return for collegiality in decision-making and governance …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 25 September]

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The mysteries of academic recruitment

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

“I have no idea on how many occasions I have set on university selection panels to fill academic or other vacancies, both in the various universities in which I have worked and in other institutions. Nor, to be honest, am I sure how often I personally got the decision right or wrong. And yet, these decisions change people’s lives and the destiny of institutions …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 11 September]

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The technology problem

Posted in Teaching on August 29th, 2017 by steve

“As has been noted previously in this blog, there are differing opinions on the extent to which universities should develop education strategies to provide skills needed in the economy. Some of those who might be sceptical about such strategies argue that universities should not be vocational training institutions …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 28 August]

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Making the grade too easily?

Posted in Teaching on August 22nd, 2017 by steve

“It’s mid-summer, and so of course it’s the time of year for breathless comments about grade inflation in universities, and particularly about the number of students being awarded a top grade in their final examinations and assessments …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 August]

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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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