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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Shortage of science and maths teachers threatens Stem strategy

Posted in Teaching on November 27th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“An acute shortage of teachers in key subject areas such as maths and science threatens to undermine ambitious Government plans to boost uptake of Stem subjects such as science, technology and maths. Minister for Education Richard Bruton is due to launch a policy strategy on Monday aimed at making Ireland a ‘European leader’ in Stem education by 2026 …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 27 November]

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How do we sell careers in STEM to young girls?

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

Ireland“Girls can do anything boys can do, right? Not according to the 29% of parents and teachers who still perceive STEM subjects as fitting more closely with boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 3 October]

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STEM: from harmless acronym to dangerous idea?

Posted in Research, Teaching on September 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Before I start I want to mention something about the School of Biotechnology because it has had an impact on a lot of my thinking around STEM. The signature programme of our school is the BSc in Biotechnology …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 21 September]


One third of parents and teachers think tech is ‘for boys’, study finds

Posted in Life on September 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The gender stereotypes of parents and teachers play a large role in putting young girls off careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) careers, a study has found. The study found 53% of girls in secondary school drop Stem subjects due to pressure from parents …” (more)

[Jack Power, Irish Times, 6 September]

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Why Men Don’t Believe the Data on Gender Bias in Science

Posted in Research on August 29th, 2017 by steve

“Earlier this summer Google engineer James Damore posted a treatise about gender differences on an internal company message board and was subsequently fired. The memo ignited a firestorm of debate about sex discrimination in Silicon Valley …” (more)

[Alison Coil, Wired, 25 August]

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Women in STEM: a better way

Posted in Governance and administration on August 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“One of our summer duties in DCU is to visit our students who are out on work placement – what we call our INTRA programme. I generally find it to be an interesting experience especially when I visit the big multinational pharma companies …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 2 August]

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Women in STEM

Posted in Governance and administration on June 29th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“2015 data – enrollments in Irish Universities (Mater Dei and St Pat’s included as they are now incorporated into DCU). Note: gender balance in science reflects male dominance in physics and maths and female dominance in biology. Interestingly, there is parity (more or less) in chemistry …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 28 June]

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With a Rethinking of the Arts/Science Distinction, Trinity has the Opportunity to be Pioneering

Posted in Teaching on June 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“With some exceptions, Trinity’s degree structure is divided on clear lines. Much like the campus itself, with its hubs of the Arts Block and Hamilton Building, most students take a course that’s neatly labelled under ‘Arts’ or ‘STEM’, with courses that bridge the divide often finding themselves lost in a confusing and bureaucratic maze …” (more)

[University Times, 25 June]

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Why we need to get rid of STEM

Posted in Research, Teaching on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“On the surface, ‘STEM’ is a harmless acronym, a handy and catchy way of promoting disciplines that, let’s face it, are pretty important in this technological age. But, to an engineer like me who has worked in a science faculty for my whole career, the idea of lumping science and engineering together, along with maths and ‘technology’, seems a bit … simplistic …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 23 June]

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Careers in science and technology

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I have to say that the recent blitz of ‘Stem’ (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) articles in your newspaper (June 20th) gave me pause for thought. Amidst all the hype about successful scientists and high-tech companies, I found myself returning to one of the Higher Education Authority’s reports on what graduates actually do when they leave college …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 21 June]

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Stem courses key to Ireland making gains post-Brexit

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

Ireland“The British general election result has done little to assuage Irish fears for industry here post-Brexit but with a booming Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector, Ireland is well placed to make gains. According to leading economist Prof Alan Ahearne of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, the Brexit ‘divorce’ negotiations will likely last for at least two years, with trade deals possibly taking considerably longer to complete …” (more)

[Aine McMahon, Irish Times, 20 June]

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Placing gender equity in Stem on the radar

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

Ireland“The skills shortage in science, technology, engineering and maths is deepening. There are plenty of jobs in the industry, but there are not enough people to fill the roles. The problem is, to a significant extent, caused by the failure of Stem to attract women. Fewer than 25% of people working in Stem are female …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 20 June]

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Figuring out the challenges of being a scientist and a mum

Posted in Life on April 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation to give a talk at an event about the challenges of being a woman working in the field of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem). However, not only am I a woman working in Stem, I’m also a parent working in Stem, and this event started at 6pm, clashing with a meeting at my child’s school …” (more)

[Jane Stout, Irish Times, 24 April]

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