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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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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