University strike: Pension plan could be reversed, say bosses

Posted in Governance and administration on February 24th, 2018 by steve

“University bosses say they could reverse changes to lecturers’ pensions if economic conditions improve. As strike action continues for a second day at 57 universities, the employers’ group, Universities UK, has written to pension scheme members offering to explore alternative ideas …” (more)

[Judith Burns, BBC News, 23 February]

Tags: , ,

Brexit: German universities among those poised to benefit if researchers and funding shift

Posted in Research on February 23rd, 2018 by steve

“The UK is currently the second-largest recipient of competitive research funding from the EU: 6% of students and 17% of staff in UK universities are from other EU countries. Nearly half of academic papers produced by the UK are written in collaboration with at least one international partner – and among the top 20 countries UK academics cooperate the most with, 13 are in the EU …” (more)

[IOE London Blog, 23 February]

Tags: , , ,

A Revolt Over Journal Archives

Posted in Research on February 22nd, 2018 by steve

“Publisher Taylor & Francis has dropped plans to charge extra for access to older research papers online, after more than 110 universities signed a letter of protest. The latest renewal of British universities’ deal with Taylor & Francis, which was agreed in principle at the end of January but is yet to be signed, for the first time covered papers published only in the past 20 years …” (more)

[Holly Else, Inside Higher Ed, 22 February]

Tags: ,

University strike: What’s it all about?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 22nd, 2018 by steve

“University lecturers at 64 universities are striking over pensions. More than one million students are expected to be affected, with lecturers not teaching, marking or carrying out research. There are no plans to reschedule cancelled lectures …” (more)

[Judith Burns, BBC News, 21 February]

Tags: , ,

70,000 students call for compensation over UCU lecturer strike

Posted in Governance and administration on February 21st, 2018 by steve

“Almost 70,000 students have signed petitions demanding compensation from their universities in the run-up to planned strike action by lecturers, starting this Thursday, which threatens to bring disruption to campuses for weeks …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Guardian, 20 February]


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]

Tags: ,

Few UK universities have adopted rules against impact-factor abuse

Posted in Research on February 18th, 2018 by steve

“A survey of British institutions reveals that few have taken concrete steps to stop the much-criticized misuse of research metrics in the evaluation of academics’ work. The results offer an early insight into global efforts to clamp down on such practices …” (more)

[Nisha Gaind, Nature, 12 February]

Tags: , ,

Why fears of censorious campus culture are more than ‘free speech hysteria’

Posted in Governance and administration on February 15th, 2018 by steve

“Recently, I’ve read a number of articles arguing that there are currently few (if any) freedom of speech issues arising from students’ unions and university campus culture …” (more)

[Jim Butcher, Wonkhe, 15 February]

Tags: ,

The RAE/REF have engendered evaluation selectivity and strategic behaviour, reinforced scientific norms, and further stratified UK higher education

Posted in Research on February 13th, 2018 by steve

“The UK’s periodic research assessment exercise has grown larger and more formalised since its first iteration in 1986. Marcelo Marques, Justin JW Powell, Mike Zapp and Gert Biesta have examined what effects it has had on the submitting behaviour of institutions, considering the intended and unintended consequences in the field of education research …” (more)

[LSE Impact Blog, 13 February]

Tags: , ,

Irish undergraduate applications to UK universities fall for fifth consecutive year

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The number of Irish undergraduate applicants to UK universities has continued to drop for the fifth year in a row, according to new data from the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS). In total, 31% fewer people from Ireland applied to UK universities this year than in 2012 …” (more)

[Lexi Demetroulakos, Trinity News, 11 February]

Tags: , , ,

Research-intensive universities ‘offer best maternity pay’

Posted in Governance and administration on February 8th, 2018 by steve

“The UK’s research-intensive universities offer more generous maternity leave packages than their teaching-oriented contemporaries, according to a study that highlights evidence of a clear divide in academics’ parental rights …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times High Education, 8 February]


Graduate loses bid to sue Oxford over 2:1 degree

Posted in Legal issues on February 7th, 2018 by steve

“A graduate who sued Oxford University over his failure to get a top degree has had his claim dismissed by the High Court. Faiz Siddiqui claimed ‘inadequate teaching’ contributed to his low mark in a final year history paper in 2000. He alleged it cost him entry to a top US law college and sought £1m from the university …” (more)

[BBC News, 7 February]


Number of EU students applying to UK universities surges despite Brexit fears

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 5th, 2018 by steve

“More EU students have applied to study at UK universities this year despite industry-wide fears that the Brexit vote would make it less appealing, new Ucas figures show. The number of EU and international students applying for university places in the UK has increased to more than 100,000 for the first time – a rise of nearly 8% on last year, data reveals …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Independent, 6 February]

Tags: , ,

Scotland confirms free tuition for EU students in 2019-20

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 2nd, 2018 by steve

“The Scottish government has extended its pledge of free university tuition for European Union students to the cohort arriving in 2019-20, covering the period immediately after the UK’s exit from the bloc. The move, announced on 1 February, increases the pressure on the UK government to extend the offer of student loan funding to EU students enrolling in English higher education institutions in 2019-20 …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

Tags: , , ,

Lecturers face investigation if average mark below 2:1

Posted in Teaching on February 1st, 2018 by steve

“Staff at a Russell Group university have been told that they will face investigation over their grading if they award average marks lower than a 2:1. In an email seen by Times Higher Education, lecturers at Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management are told that they must remember what is called the ’60:60:60 principle’ when assessing students’ work …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

Tags: , ,

Academics under pressure: the invisible frontline in student mental health

Posted in Life on January 29th, 2018 by steve

“Interactions between students and academics can really shape a student’s experience – and for many students going through mental health difficulties, academics are often the first point of contact. Students turn to academics for advice because they may be seen as more approachable, accessible and they have a pre-existing relationship …” (more)

[Rachel Piper, Wonkhe, 29 January]

Tags: ,

Are today’s degrees really first class?

Posted in Teaching on January 29th, 2018 by steve

“The annual data release published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency can usually be relied upon to show an uptick in the proportion of firsts awarded. This is accompanied by newspaper inches decrying the decline of academic standards in the UK and a reaction that points to the improvements in teaching and the motivation of contemporary students …” (more)

[William Hammonds, Wonkhe, 29 January]

Tags: ,

Grade inflation could be the next battleground for higher education

Posted in Teaching on January 26th, 2018 by steve

“Data published by HESA in January 2018 shows that more than a quarter of UK undergraduates completing their studies in 2017 were awarded first-class honours. In 2012, the corresponding figure was only 18% …” (more)

[Allan Howells, Wonkhe, 25 January]

Tags: , ,

UCL to launch open-access megajournal

Posted in Research on January 18th, 2018 by steve

“UCL is to launch an open-access megajournal to contend with the likes of Plos One and Scientific Reports as the landscape of scholarly publishing moves increasingly online. The as-yet-unnamed journal platform from UCL Press will be a first for a UK university: Plos One is run by the Public Library of Science, while Scientific Reports is produced by the publisher of Nature …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education, 17 January]

Tags: , ,

Brexit prompts tumble in number of Irish students going to UK

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on January 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A few short years ago, thousands of Irish school-leavers were applying for UK-based courses. These numbers have tumbled in more recent times. Higher college fees, the removal of NHS funding of nursing and paramedical, and uncertainty over Brexit have contributed to a big drop in applications to UK universities from Irish students …” (more)

[Brian Mooney, Irish Times, 15 January]

Tags: , ,