Government vows crackdown on universities giving out too many firsts

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 17th, 2017 by steve

“The Government is preparing a crackdown on the rapidly increasing proportion of top degrees being awarded by universities, amid fears that the value of higher education is being eroded. Ministers are drawing up plans to stop the growth in students receiving first-class degrees so that university education continues to carry ‘prestige’, raising the prospect that quotas could be introduced to limit the numbers of top awards …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Independent, 17 August]

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Rethink of EU research membership rules may offer UK ‘solution’

Posted in Research on August 16th, 2017 by steve

“The redrawing of the criteria for associate membership of the European Commission’s next research framework programme could offer the UK a ‘solution’ for accessing continental grants and collaborations post-Brexit, a sector leader has said …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 16 August]

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Post-Brexit free movement for students ‘risks class conflict’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 15th, 2017 by steve

“The UK and European Union may look to preserve free movement specifically for students after Brexit, but such a deal could ‘exacerbate existing class conflicts’ given inequalities in access to higher education, according to a researcher …” (more)

[John Morgan, Times Higher Education, 14 August]

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Which subjects at UK universities rely most on EU academics?

Posted in Research on August 14th, 2017 by steve

“Universities in the UK have stepped up their lobbying of the government over Brexit as crucial negotiations take place about the future status of European Union citizens working in the country …” (more)

[Simon Baker, Times Higher Education, 14 August]

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With Third-Level Awaiting News of Teaching Review, UK Students’ Union Caution Wariness

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Students’ unions in the UK claimed success in recent days after they were able to exclude 12 universities from a national student survey in an attempt to damage the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework. The radical action, they say, was successful. Now, if the Irish government does indeed introduce a similar framework, Irish students’ unions will need to decide what their stance will be on a policy that has divided UK higher education …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 12 AUgust]

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Theresa May under pressure to cut cost of university as public rejects high fees and huge debts

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 14th, 2017 by steve

“Theresa May is being urged today to cut the soaring cost of going to university and stop students from being punished with debts of more than £50,000, a poll for The Independent reveals. Almost two-thirds of people want annual tuition fees – which could reach up to £9,250 this autumn at some institutions – to be slashed or scrapped …” (more)

[Rob Merrick, Independent, 13 August]

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Universities should be about learning, not satisfaction

Posted in Teaching on August 11th, 2017 by steve

“Another year, another National Student Survey (NSS) has been published. The NSS asks students about different aspects of their university experience, and then ranks universities for overall ‘student satisfaction’ levels. The NSS has been widely criticised …” (more)

[Ieuan Joy, spiked, 11 August]

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Everything must be measured: how mimicking business taints universities

Posted in Governance and administration on August 9th, 2017 by steve

“Often, what begins as a pet-hate fades into the background irritation of life. But sometimes it gnaws away, gets under your skin and into your bones, then flares up, causing toxic shock. The term ‘neoliberalism’ has this effect on me. It is a lazy gobbet of pent-up, inarticulate hostility …” (more)

[Jonathan Wolff, Guardian, 8 August]

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Contracts, complaints and unintended consequences

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on August 7th, 2017 by steve

“Whenever a minister announces a potential extension to the rights of students, I’ve started to notice a familiar pattern, and Jo Johnson’s announcement of an OfS consultation on the content of student contracts (his own little regulatory dead cat on the fees and debt table) is a case in point …” (more)

[Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe, 7 August]

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UK universities need urgent Brexit ‘clarity’ from ministers

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

“UK universities could lose talented EU staff unless they receive ‘greater clarity’ from the government on the post-Brexit rights of EU nationals, according to the Russell Group. The group of top research universities says Brexit is causing EU staff ‘uncertainty and anxiety’ and making the recruitment of others harder …” (more)

[BBC News, 3 August]

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Ulster University: Fees discount for GB students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 1st, 2017 by steve

“Ulster University (UU) is to offer discounts on tuition fees to students from England, Scotland and Wales. Students beginning in 2017/18 will be offered a £2,000 discount on fees or a £1,000 discount plus money towards travel and accommodation costs …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 1 August]

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A TEF for Ireland?

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“With the news that the minister is considering the introduction of a UK-style TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) it is worth considering some of the quality process that currently exist in the third level sector, specifically my university, DCU …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 31 July]

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Ireland Does Not Need a Teaching Framework that has Divided UK Higher Education

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The presidents of Irish universities have spent the last few years preoccupied with the higher education funding crisis. Meanwhile, their UK counterparts have spent the last two years brooding over a similarly prickly development: that of the Teaching Excellence Framework …” (more)

[University Times, 30 July]

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Brexit: what is at stake for UK universities?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on July 29th, 2017 by steve

“UK higher education is about to experience a period of turbulence, as the consequences of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) become clearer. Higher education institutions are bracing themselves for what will no doubt be a period of substantial change, uncertainty and challenge, but also opportunity. This briefing outlines some of the consequences of Brexit for UK higher education institutions …” (more)

[Ludovic Highman, IOE London Blog, 27 July]

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Open access monograph dash could lead us off a cliff

Posted in Research on July 27th, 2017 by steve

“While open access is all about setting research ‘free’, the transition towards it can feel to academics like just another facet of the ever-stricter assessment regimes to which they are becoming subject. A recent example in the UK is the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s announcement that all articles and conference papers submitted to the next research excellence framework exercise will have to be available on an open-access institutional or subject repository …” (more)

[Marilyn Deegan, Times Higher Education, 27 July]

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There’s a gulf between academics and university management – and it’s growing

Posted in Governance and administration on July 27th, 2017 by steve

“It may be hard to believe, but there was once a gentler era when universities were administered rather than managed. How times have changed. As higher education has grown in size and complexity so institutions have felt the need to strengthen their management arrangements …” (more)

[Sue Shepherd, Guardian, 27 July]

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Two-year university degrees: trimming the fat or a bad deal for students?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on July 26th, 2017 by steve

“In his robust defence of the current fee regime on 20 July, universities minister Jo Johnson returned to the accelerated degrees which he last mentioned in February. But universities have already warned him that his proposed model might not be workable – and nothing has changed since then …” (more)

[Lucy Hodson, Guardian, 26 July]

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Brexit sees non-EU students apply to Ireland

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on July 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“More college students are choosing Ireland as a study destination because of Brexit. Evidence of the trend can be found at Trinity College Dublin, according to Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast. ‘We have seen some evidence of increased numbers of non-EU students applying to Trinity courses and I think other Irish universities are seeing something of an uplift’, he said …” (more)

[Joyce Fegan and Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 21 July]

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Roll up, roll up for subject level TEF

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

“The Department for Education is seeking volunteers for the pilot of its TEF subject-level rating. On Thursday, the government published the specification for the trial, which provides our first glimpse at how a subject-level TEF could work if rolled out in future years in line with the plan for the exercise …” (more)

[Catherine Boyd, Wonkhe, 20 July]

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Sharp increase in first-class degrees triggers standards debate

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

“About a third of UK universities now award a first-class degree to at least a quarter of their undergraduates compared with just 8% of institutions five years ago, a new analysis has shown. Figures on degree scores from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, analysed by the Press Association, show that 40 higher education institutions saw the proportion of firsts rise by more than 10 percentage points between 2010-11 and 2015-16 …” (more)

[Simon Baker, Times Higher Education, 20 July]

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