School subjects strongly influence whether girls study Stem at college

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 18th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Fewer girls than boys are choosing to study Stem subjects in college due to the choices they make at Leaving Cert level, new research has shown. The Understanding Gender Differences in STEM study, published by the UCD centre for economic research, reveals that the subjects female students choose to study during the Leaving Cert cycle strongly influence whether or not they will go on to study courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) at third level …” (more)

[Sorcha Pollak, Irish Times, 18 March]

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Why tech success rates have turned around

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 13th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Recent headlines about high dropout rates in technology courses probably caused a wobble among some students currently considering their CAO choices. There are graduate jobs aplenty out there right across the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) spectrum, and they are very well paid. But are they only for a select band of maths geniuses? …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 13 March]

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Apprenticeships and snobbery

Posted in Governance and administration on February 23rd, 2019 by steve

Ireland“In their opinion piece (Irish Times, 19th Feb), sparked it would seem by recent reports of ‘high’ dropout rates from Irish third level institutions, Ellen Hazelkorn and Tom Boland make the inevitable plea for a ‘systems approach’ to higher education and the creation of a new agency …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 23 February]

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Hundreds of Chinese students to graduate through Maynooth University venture

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 17th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Maynooth University has announced a partnership with a major Chinese university which will see 1,200 Chinese science and engineering students graduate with its qualifications over the coming years. The alliance, designed to grow Maynooth’s number of postgraduate students by 60% over the next five years, will see it establish a joint international college of engineering with Fuzhou University in Fujian province …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 17 October]

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Female STEM students unaware of their job options

Posted in Governance and administration on October 5th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Recent research conducted among undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) at the University of Limerick has revealed that almost one third are not aware of the types of jobs they could apply for once they graduate …” (more)

[Olivia Kelleher, Irish Examiner, 4 October]

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EMS: Engineering, maths and sexism

Posted in Governance and administration on October 4th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Usually, when one thinks of sexism in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM), one might think of Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell being overlooked for the Nobel Prize, or the joke about Francis Bacon’s sister being behind his work, or Hedy Lamarr being remembered as a beautiful actress but not as a talented inventor …” (more)

[Molly McCrory, Trinity News, 3 October]

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We Need More Men in the Humanities

Posted in Research on October 2nd, 2018 by steve

“Around the turn of the millennium, American society realized a looming crisis: the lack of female representation in STEM fields. But today we are witnessing a crisis of male leadership in a variety of workplaces. From the president to CEOs of major companies to actors and power players in Hollywood, the past several months have exposed the toxic work environments they preside over or worsen in scandal after scandal …” (more)

[Christine Henseler, Inside Higher Ed, 2 October]

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DIT Receives Athena Swan Award for Gender Equality

Posted in Governance and administration on October 1st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and for bringing about organisational and cultural change within the Institute …” (more)

[THEA, 28 September]

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Some thoughts on constructivism in a STEM context

Posted in Teaching on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Constructivism is now the dominant ideology within the Irish educational establishment. For a long time I’ve struggled to understand what constructivism actually is because most definitions seem pretty vague to me. But while perusing the UCD Teaching and Learning pages I came across this list of the characteristics of a constructivist learning environment and I’ve added a few comments on each point …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 31 August]


Queen’s University Belfast receives £500k to improve gender equality within STEM

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

“Queen’s University Belfast has received over £500,000 funding for research that aims to improve gender equality within STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Despite numerous gender equality initiatives, fewer than 10% of the UK’s engineers are women – the lowest percentage in Europe – and the proportion of women studying engineering and physics has remained virtually static since 2012 …” (more)

[QUB, 22 August]

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Bruton plays down high failure rate in ordinary level maths

Posted in Teaching on August 16th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Richard Bruton has said officials will examine whether there are ‘lessons to be learned’ from the volume of students who failed ordinary level maths in this year’s Leaving Cert exam. However, he played down concerns over the issue and said the proportion of failures at ordinary level was linked to greater numbers taking on the higher level paper …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 15 August]

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Engineering body concerned at number of students sitting Leaving Cert STEM subjects

Posted in Teaching on August 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The representative body for engineers in Ireland has raised concerns over the number of students sitting STEM subjects in this year’s Leaving Cert, saying 2018 has not seen a marked increase for the first time in several years. Results obtained from the State Examinations Commission has shown that almost one-third of Leaving Certificate students sat the higher-level mathematics paper in 2018, a figure that has more than doubled when compared to 2011 …” (more)

[, 15 August]

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Dr Tara Shine: ‘The scientific world is simply not designed for women’

Posted in Research on July 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“‘The scientific world is simply not designed for women’, declares Dr Tara Shine. The environment and development consultant is travelling to Antarctica in January 2019 as part of a global leadership programme for women scientists called Homeward Bound, which has the evocative tag line ‘Mother Nature needs her daughters’ …” (more)

[Sylvia Thompson, Irish Times, 12 July]

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Latest University Rankings Exhibit More Than One Disparity

Posted in Governance and administration on March 5th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Trinity was in a celebratory mood this week, as the latest QS World University Subject Rankings placed four Trinity subjects in the world’s top 50. The four subjects are perhaps unsurprising – English, classics, nursing and politics – but it’s a reminder once again that, despite the preponderance of funding and focus on STEM, arts subjects remain dominant …” (more)

[University Times, 4 March]

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‘A gender equality paradox’: Countries with more gender equality have less female STEM grads

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Research on February 18th, 2018 by steve

International“Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study has found …” (more)

[, 18 February]

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Women in stem and my 2018 list

Posted in Life on January 19th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A previous post was obviously meant to be provocative – in a good way – but it seemed to provoke an angry response in some quarters. Anger is a big thing on social media as is taking offense (often on behalf of others) as is, most annoyingly, virtue signalling …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 19 January]

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Comments on the new STEM policy document of the DES

Posted in Teaching on December 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The STEM Policy Document produced by the Department of Education and Skills was recently launched. It follows on from the report produced by an advisory group chaired by DCU President, Brian McCraith. That report was generally sensible and made some good suggestions about how science and technology education could be improved in schools …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 18 December]

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Bonus points for everything?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on December 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The new foreign language strategy is to explore the potential of bonus points for languages for school-leavers planning to study languages (‘Plan for more school pupils to study foreign languages’, News, November 4th) …” (more)

[Seán McDonagh, Irish Times, 5 December]

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It’s official: STEM is a thing and it’s all about real world problems and stuff

Posted in Teaching on November 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“From the recently launched STEM Education Policy Statement (emphasis mine): ‘STEM is about igniting learners’ curiosity so they participate in solving real world problems and make informed career choices [sic]. STEM is interdisciplinary, enabling learners to build and apply knowledge …'” (more)

[educationandstuff, 28 November]


Only six graduates in training to be physics teachers

Posted in Teaching on November 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“As few as six graduates are in training to be physics teachers in secondary schools, new figures indicate. The shortage of qualified teachers threatens to undermine Government plans to make Ireland the best in Europe in so-called Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – within a decade …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 28 November]

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