Universities: Is free speech under threat?

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

“Free speech is being threatened at British universities by a culture of offence among certain students, according to critics. A Parliamentary inquiry has reported that the regulator, the Office for Students, has threatened to fine universities that fail to uphold free speech …” (more)

[Rachel Schraer and Ben Butcher, BBC News, 23 October]

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Tough on essay mills, Tough on the causes of essay mills

Posted in Teaching on October 17th, 2018 by steve

“A campaign to outlaw essay mills in the UK has been running for a few months and 17 October marks the international day of action against contract cheating …” (more)

[Fanni Zombor, Wonkhe, 16 October]

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University ‘dual nationality’ plan for Brexit

Posted in Governance and administration on October 10th, 2018 by steve

“A top UK university is planning a ‘unique’ post-Brexit arrangement with a German university in which staff will be appointed jointly by both institutions, with the aim of keeping access to EU research funding for UK academics. Imperial College London, ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the world, has signed a partnership with the Technical University of Munich …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 10 October]

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UK universities hiring ‘superstar’ professors to boost research rankings

Posted in Research on October 5th, 2018 by steve

“British universities are imitating Premier League football clubs by poaching ‘superstar’ talent, rewarding an elite group of professors with higher pay in order to boost their research rankings, according to a study …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 5 October]

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Report: universities called on to do more to support students reporting sexual harassment complaints

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

“UK universities need to do more to avoid ‘failing sexual harassment victims’, according to a new report, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Catalyst fund …” (more)

[Out-Law.com, 5 October]

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Internal vs external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

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

“In the second and final part of a series considering the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out why seeking advancement internally might be a more attractive option, again highlighting seven specific reasons. The series concludes with some more general tips for promotion applications, including how to harness your experience submitting to academic journals …” (more)

[LSE Impact Blog, 5 October]

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Graduate salaries are no measure of a university’s worth

Posted in Governance and administration on October 3rd, 2018 by steve

“The government’s teaching excellence framework may have been controversial, but it has enabled the higher education sector to articulate what students, parents and industry are genuinely interested in: teaching, employability, student support, real-world skills and co-curricular activities …” (more)

[Dominic Shellard, Guardian, 3 October]

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Should universities tell students how to take drugs safely?

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 2nd, 2018 by steve

“Sheffield Students’ Union has hit the headlines for publishing advice on how to take illegal drugs safely. But should universities focus on stopping students taking drugs in the first place? …” (more)

[Becky Morton, BBC News, 2 October]

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Hundreds of academics at top UK universities accused of bullying

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on September 28th, 2018 by steve

“Hundreds of academics have been accused of bullying students and colleagues in the past five years, prompting concerns that a culture of harassment and intimidation is thriving in Britain’s leading universities. A Guardian investigation found nearly 300 academics, including senior professors and laboratory directors, were accused of bullying students and colleagues …” (more)

[Hannah Devlin and Sarah Marsh, Guardian, 28 September]

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There is no community at university

Posted in Life on September 28th, 2018 by steve

“I was recently engaged in a discussion on whether the university community might play a positive role in mental health when a contribution from a UK postgraduate startled me. ‘There is no community at university. We are individuals. We all compete for the same rewards and we can’t all share. I don’t care about my neighbour, the system doesn’t want me to …'” (more)

[Andy Pitchford, Wonkhe, 27 September]


University chiefs ‘urge education secretary to ban essay mills’

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on September 27th, 2018 by steve

“More than 40 university chiefs are reported to have written to the education secretary calling for a ban on so-called ‘essay mills’. The vice-chancellors have called for companies who offer essay-writing services to be made illegal amid fears they are undermining the integrity of degree courses …” (more)

[Guardian, 27 September]

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Forget university rankings, open days are the biggest factor in student choice

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on September 26th, 2018 by steve

“The latest Times Higher University Rankings have been published. And the 2019 results reveal that the University of Oxford is the top ranking university – both in the UK and the world. According to the rankings, which position more than 1,200 institutions worldwide, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London (UCL) are the only UK universities in the top 25 …” (more)

[Emma Winter, The Conversation, 26 September]

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Minister Mitchell O’Connor travels to UK to meet higher education counterpart Minister Gyimah

Posted in Governance and administration on September 25th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O Connor, TD today (Tuesday, 25 September) met with Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Gyimah to discuss current developments in higher education in Ireland and the UK …” (more)

[Department of Education of Skills, 25 September]

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Representatives of a long-past era?

Posted in Governance and administration on September 25th, 2018 by steve

“For those readers not already familiar with him, let me introduce Professor Trevor McMillan. Professor McMillan is the Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, which he has led since 2015. But my interest in him here is prompted by his role as ‘framework champion’ of the soon-to-be introduced Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and as chair of the Framework Steering Group …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 September]

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State and UK unite to keep the door open for students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The Irish and British governments are working hard to protect existing arrangements between the two countries in the areas of higher education and research, but much depends on the final Brexit deal. Earlier this month, UK Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds visited Dublin to reinforce the close relationship between the two countries …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 24 September]

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Universities make ‘misleading’ marketing claims to students, report suggests

Posted in Legal issues on September 21st, 2018 by steve

“A number of universities have made potentially misleading marketing claims about their international status, an investigation has found. At least six universities have made unverifiable claims about their rankings on their websites – making it harder for students to make informed choices, consumer group Which? University has said …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Independent, 21 September]

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‘I have a sense that it’s probably quite bad … but because I don’t see it, I don’t know’: Lad culture in higher education

Posted in Research on September 14th, 2018 by steve

“Lad culture in English universities is often perceived by university staff as involving ‘extreme’ behaviour and as being carried out by only a handful of ‘bad apples’ rather than as a widespread culture that fosters gender-based harassment and violence. But new research, led by Lancaster University, says this perception stems from various factors, including many staff having limited understandings of lad culture which reflect the way it is portrayed in the media …” (more)

[AlphaGalileo, 13 September]


Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free

Posted in Legal issues, Research on September 13th, 2018 by steve

“Never underestimate the power of one determined person. What Carole Cadwalladr has done to Facebook and big data, and Edward Snowden has done to the state security complex, Alexandra Elbakyan has done to the multibillion-dollar industry that traps knowledge behind paywalls. Sci-Hub, her pirate web scraper service, has done more than any government to tackle one of the biggest rip-offs of the modern era …” (more)

[George Monbiot, Guardian, 13 September]

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On the Poverty of the Student Experience

Posted in Life on September 7th, 2018 by steve

“Fifty years ago, we were warned of the spectacle. We were warned of how the commodity’s tendrils were seeping into every corner of social being, suffocating all potential for authentic human life. Now the commodity’s colonisation of society is complete. Under neoliberalism, ‘we are everywhere homo oeconomicus and only homo oeconomicus’ …” (more)

[Dan Davison, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, 6 September]


Hard Brexit – The risk to postgraduate research

Posted in Research on September 1st, 2018 by steve

“… We offer a more fine-grained analysis, focusing on one dimension of higher education and research with many ramifications, that is, the role of non-UK postgraduate research students in UK research. These students substantially enhance UK research capacity and teaching excellence and UK higher education institutions are highly dependent on them …” (more)

[Ludovic Highman and Simon Marginson, University World News, 31 August]

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